This article originally appeared in ICMI, a partner publication.
As companies experience challenges attracting and retaining employees, leaders struggle to find new cutting-edge strategies that will help them make incremental gains in stopping and reversing this trend. For years, organizations have utilized outdated ideas that no longer work. We hear “build a better culture,” “pay an employee referral fee,” and “increase employee compensation,” but even with these practices, companies are still plagued by high attrition and struggling to attract new employees.
Without new ideas, leaders will not see this situation improve, which can affect their brand, top-line revenue, and bottom-line contribution. During this unprecedented time, what’s really needed is a different kind of leader, one who is courageous enough to be willing to try new strategies that once were considered “out there.”
Here are three strategies that will give organizations traction in turning around the increased attrition trend and ongoing struggles to attract the right candidates:
Observe how your people act in the field.
If you are struggling to attract and retain employees, observe and listen to what your current workforce is saying and demonstrating in the field. No one wants to work in an environment where people are constantly frantic, complaining, angry, or participating in negative gossip. When potential candidates observe workers in the field who are demonstrating that type of behavior, or when things look unorganized, processes don’t work, and it’s obvious that new strategies need to be in place, people will ask, “Who wants to work for that type of company?” Internal employees who listen to others verbally participate in negative gossip and backbiting will ask themselves, “Why do I want to be part of this?”
When this happens, it’s time for leadership to look inside themselves to see how they are contributing to the problem. It’s time to admit this is happening and make changes.
Help your people get ahead by taking big risks.
As companies reorganize, downsize, or scale, new internal positions open up. Why don’t more companies help these internal employees get ready for their internal job interview?
You may ask, what if companies hold interviewing workshops and resume-writing clinics, and then employees take that knowledge and assistance and utilize that for a job outside the company? Well, companies that truly care for their employees’ professional growth won’t lose their employees. People want to learn something new and showcase their skills so they can do something different in the company. Why not help them?
Companies that take this risk could lose a few employees, but the upside can be reaping huge rewards in employee satisfaction and attrition. Helping employees get ahead makes them feel that the company is taking a stake in their personal success. How many companies do that?
Let employees really be part of the solutiot.
Leaders usually say they have an open-door policy, take employee suggestions seriously, and have townhall meetings to hear what employees are saying, but those ideas are outdated in this market. What workers really want is a seat at the table. They want to participate and even lead gap analysis and strategy sessions. They want to lead a pilot program to try something new.
Frontline employees crave being a part of making things happen. When provided with opportunities to lead initiatives that can impact the organization, these employees will increase their professional maturity and leadership mindset. They will see firsthand how difficult leadership can be. They will understand that when a leader succeeds or fails, it can be a very public experience. It helps them increase their respect for the position. With respect, more employees will follow that leader.
Today’s leaders need to be courageous and try new and updated retention strategies. The upside is better retention and worker satisfaction that will create an environment in which your current workforce will be ambassadors for your company. Negative gossip will decrease, and employees will participate in initiatives that really make a difference in the success of the company.
Recognized as a subject-matter expert on virtual/work-at-home environments and leadership development, Vicki Brackett has written for and been interviewed by Forbes, Fast Company, Fortune Magazine, CFO Magazine, CEOWorld, HR News, Training Magazine, and a host of other publications, news outlets and podcasts on creative work-at-home and employee engagement strategies.