To Retain Employees, Give Them a Sense of Purpose and Community
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During the pandemic, the top two reasons employees cited for leaving (or considering leaving) were that they didn’t feel their work was valued by the organization (54%) or that they lacked a sense of belonging at work (51%).
Create simple approaches that teach managers how to shape meaningful conversations, asking how their people are progressing with their professional or personal aspirations.
Taking interest in an employee’s whole life strengthens their sense of belonging and belief that they matter. Rather than worrying that such personal interests might distract from work efforts, smart managers realize that by taking an interest in the whole employee, you ensure that they bring that same creativity and energy to their day jobs.
The isolation of working from home has fractured our sense of community. Fostering belonging requires creative efforts to help people feel connected without adding to “zoom fatigue.”
One company paid for coffee gift cards for employees to reach out across team boundaries and make connections with new colleagues, broadening their networks and helping them maintain a wider organizational perspective.
To minimize it, tie whatever guidelines you put in place to how you serve customers and how you make or deliver products or services, and demonstrate how certain forms of collaboration are measurably enhanced by in-person work. Also, involve employees.
People feel greater ownership over policies they help create, which strengthens adherence across the organization. Further, when others don’t adhere, peers are more likely to graciously call it out.
Instead of making career and professional development a “separate” experience, build learning and advancement right into people’s roles.
An eg: One organization started a program they called “Walk in their shoes,” intended to strengthen connections between employees from different parts of the organization. It consisted of weekly peer-mentoring sessions between people in adjacent functions that regularly worked together.
It’s not always natural or comfortable for managers to express care, they may feel awkward or unclear on boundaries. But demonstrating care doesn’t have to be intrusive, and not every employee will want or need the same degree of care.
Also, model vulnerability to make it safe for others. When others see you asking for help or appropriately acknowledging difficulties, it shows them it’s okay for them to do so.
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