It’s no surprise that today’s global workforce gets more mobile every year. Younger generations — “375 million strong and by 2025 will make up 75% of the workforce” — are restless and always on the hunt for new challenges.
Remote working and distributed teams create a situation where companies must compete even more to get and keep their best employees.
So, what can we do to make sure, our workforce doesn’t run away when they see the next challenging opportunity.
According to Emily He, CMO of talent management solution Saba,”For millennials, it is more a matter of career exploration than climbing the traditional ladder.” However, others think Gen Y employees will stick around if the culture is right.
Instant, Open and Limitless
For Gen Y, money is no longer the shiny new object for career fulfillment. As Fortune writer Adam Miller explains, “Millennials view the workplace through the same lens of new technology as any other aspect of their lives: instant, open and limitless. The era they have grown up in has shown them that nothing is a guarantee. Instability and rapid change are the norm. To millennials, time no longer equals money. It is a limited resource to be spent wisely and actively managed.”
More often than not, the prominent reason for employees to stay with a company is culture. So, instead, we must focus on perks, communication and other workplace aspects that make working enjoyable.
Cultivating Company Culture
Global companies are constantly coming up with new perks to make work more enjoyable. For example, free lunches and company cars are some of the most common rewards.
Google offers employees a chance to take unpaid leave with medical benefits. Genetech, a biotechnology company, has free counseling services and social media juggernaut, Facebook has a barber shop. All of these employee perks are meant to improve company culture, employee happiness and motivation to reduce turnover and raise productivity.
To keep the workplace relaxed, Netflix HQ doesn’t track work time or days off, they’re only interested in what gets done. There is also no abuse of this privilege, since employees know doing so will lead to a fast termination of contract.
Basic Employee Needs
The good news is that you can start thinking about creating a better workplace even if you’re not a multimillion company (yet).
Create an office space employees don’t want to leave. A great workplace doesn’t necessary mean a lot of fancy and expensive add-ons. Much like Maslow’s pyramid of needs, the basic needs of employees must come first.
Make sure they have every resource they need, that they feel welcomed, engaged and that their work matters. Humans are social animals and that means that a lot of those basic needs are satisfied by communications. That includes feedback, “water-cooler talk,” and sharing their work with others etc.
Yet with all of that communication, how can you help employees prioritize productivity and workplace enjoyment?
A modern company needs modern communication tools. Startups from all over the world have understood this and are offering a wide range of 21st century tools for internal communications. From instant messengers like Google Talk, weekly reporting systems like Weekdone and team chat apps like HipChat, Slack and others.
The aim of collaborative apps and programs is not only to give feedback, but to help employees understand they are an essential part of a bigger system; that their work matters and what they do, impacts everyone (i.e., customers, local and remote teams). That is a powerful motivation for engagement and a really good reason to stay fulfilled on the job.
Studies show that when employees understand their overall role, then 91% will work to succeed as opposed to 23% of those who don’t.
If we can’t win, we must adapt.
There is no way to go back to the time when most employees stayed in the same company for years. The cost-per-hire and HR administration costs will continue to rise. Yet, that doesn’t mean we should invest less in them. Instead, we should invest more, give employees a better experience and do everything in our power to make them stay a little longer. In the end, it will pay off: the employees that do stay will be more engaged, more effective and more loyal.
Disclaimer: The author is affiliated with Weekdone.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Alexander Maasik is a communication specialist and content creator at Weekdone, an app that offers a managers’ dashboard and team management service for companies including weekly employee progress reports. Alexander has a degree in journalism and public relations and a strong passion for internal communications and online collaboration. Connect with @weekdone on Twitter.
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