Retaining and Engaging Your Workforce During These Trying Times

Back in February, when there was no pandemic yet and life wasn’t this hard, Forbes reported that as many as 64% of employees would quit their jobs this year. The biggest culprit behind this predicted exodus was a massive disengagement, with a mere 21% of employees admitting to being actively engaged in their jobs, and another 65% staying put only out of complacency. Tellingly, nearly 50% of employees don’t feel valued at work, and 26% of them consider this feeling of being under-appreciated as a barrier to engagement.

Again, that was prior to the pandemic, which is making life harder than it already is. In these trying times, it’s highly likely that employee engagement and morale are dipping even more, in turn leading to reduced productivity or, worse, higher employee turnover. This is costly, as high turnover is predicted to cost employers $280 billion this year alone. Nevertheless, there is still a silver lining: 77% of employee turnover is actually preventable. But that depends on you taking the necessary steps to engage your workforce and give your organization a better shot at retaining them. Some of these steps are as follows:

Be generous with perks and benefits.

Oftentimes, the biggest key to employee engagement and retention is generosity in the way of benefits and perks. In fact, companies that offer comprehensive benefit plans reduce employee turnover by as much as 138%, whereas companies that gave no benefits whatsoever had an average turnover rate of 157%. Having said that, consider how medical, dental, and life insurance are mostly standard fare in workplaces across America, which means you’ll need to get creative and offer more.

This is where perks come in, and you can find inspiration in companies like Google, which offer, among other things, free food, an onsite gym, free massages, and even death benefits. Snowboard company Burton, meanwhile, offers summer BBQs, in-house yoga, and free snowboarding passes. Giving these expansive perks and benefits will require an investment, but the trade-off of increased engagement and retention make it worth every penny.

Provide development opportunities.

As discussed by Judy McCutcheon and Lisa Jackson in a CompTeam podcast on employee retention and engagement, giving employees room for growth is vital in fostering better engagement. It is, in fact, akin to a benefit, with Inc detailing how it can build loyalty since providing opportunities for development are often viewed as manifestations of company appreciation. A company keen on developing their own is also more likely to attract talent who actually want to get better — exactly the kind that will stay the course and give their best. Small wonder companies like Hubspot and The Body Shop offer learning opportunities (tuition reimbursement for the former, and the ‘Learn it to earn it’ program of the latter).

Institutionalize a wellness program.

Now more than ever is the time to ensure the wellbeing of your workforce, and one way to do so is by implementing a wellness program. This program, though, must be carefully thought out for it to work as intended. A step in the right direction is offering what employees mostly want in a wellness program. According to a Pain Free Working blog on What Wellness Actually Means for Workers, these include offering perks that impact everyone, opportunities for personalization, and a holistic approach that takes into account not only physical health, but also emotional, environmental, and mental health. A great example is Campbell Soup Company’s 100% healthcare coverage, onsite daycare centers for

working parents, and healthy cooking lessons for everyone. This initiative likewise necessitates a big investment, but your net return, as noted in a CDC guide on Engaging Employees in Their Health and Wellness, is a healthy, more productive, and more engaged workforce.

Introduce revenue-sharing.

Finally, here’s something out of the left field: Tie part of your employees’ wages and bonuses to company performance. This seems counter-intuitive to your bottom line, but doing so will align your staff’s interests with the company’s financial goals. It will also serve as an innate incentive (not to mention challenge) for them to stay and work as best they can to help the company grow, knowing full well that they stand to benefit from it.

It will also make payroll more variable depending on the business climate, allowing your company to be more agile and resilient — all while letting you treat your employees well.

Article specially written for By Amelia Bentley

About the Author

Sam Reeve

Sam is the CEO and founder of CompTeam.

His core focus is leading companies through transformational change by optimizing talent initiatives with reward programs to achieve long-term strategic objectives.

Sam’s diverse experience includes the design and optimization of performance-driven variable compensation plans for executive, sales, and core employee populations of growing companies.

Prior to founding CompTeam, Sam has worked in compensation functions of notable firms such as BlackRock,  McKesson, and Automatic Data Processing (ADP).

Sam is a global certified compensation consultant (CCP, GRP) with over 20 years of experience in Total Reward Strategies.

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