This post was originally published as an article for the ICMI International Customer Management Institute.
Understanding why employees stay with your company begins with a very simple task. No, it doesn’t mean looking at their pay stubs to see who you pay the most.
It begins simply with asking your employees WHY they stay. It is a choice, after all.
Most of your employees are seated at their desks, click-clacking away on their keyboards for more than just a paycheck. Or, as my dear friend Amber says, “It isn’t just about the money. It’s about [a company] showing employees they are more than just another bottom to fill a chair.”
I took to the streets of Facebook and asked my dear, hard working friends WHY THEY STAY at their jobs.
And, while I have a rainbow of friends, covering a wide variety of ages, industries and positions, the results were surprisingly similar.
As a Director of Customer Care, keeping the team together matters. Perhaps this matters to you, too.
Top 5 Reasons Your Employees Stay Put
“If a company isn’t willing to be flexible with “life” then I wouldn’t stay long.” ~Leah M.
Being flexible with employees doesn’t just keep them happy, it’s a decision that could ultimately save a business thousands of dollars in turnover costs. Being flexible with your employees may not break the bank either, with inexpensive VoIP telecommuting technologies on the rise. And, by implementing a custom or flex schedule that works for your employees, you’re able to still have control of productivity while giving your team the freedom they need. Flexibility goes hand in hand with work/life balance and is seen as a perk to attract future talent.
Rockstar Tip: Start small with telecommuting and build up. Begin your program with one or two days per month to gauge your team’s progress. Encourage open communication via an online system, such as Slack or Google Chat, to be available during the work hours. Keep track of stats and completed projects then analyze after a set time period (3-6 months) to understand the impact on the bottom line. You’ll know at that point what you need to work on and if you’ll expand the program to more days per month.
“Although I would not turn down money, gifts, or promotions, it really comes down to acknowledgement. Even private acknowledgement is often enough.” ~Jeff D.
People want to know that they matter. They want recognition for their hard work, and not always in the form of money. While money can temporarily satiate, a manager or peers recognizing an employee for going above and beyond will last longer on their mind than the dollars put in their pocket. Remember when we were kids and we built a sandcastle then yelled out to our parents for attention, “Look! Look! Look! Isn’t it the best ever?” We are still like that on the inside sometimes, it’s just that our desire to obtain that recognition has shifted. Er, well for most of us.
Rockstar Tip: Revisit your informal and formal acknowledgement processes. How often do you follow up with an employee for successfully completing a project? Do you have a system in place to formally recognize employees through an award system? Does your culture need a formal process for this or is informal encouraging on it’s own, such as Thankful Thursday?
Health & Safety
“The fastest way to have me packing a box when an organization does not demonstrate integrity or places me in a situation where my own personal integrity is compromised.” ~Nate Brown
Egos, hostility, unethical decisions and law breaking situations – no, we’re not talking about a new reality show, we’re talking about a workplace near you. While it’s a sad truth that employers can stoop to a level of the unimagined, you may not be aware that it is happening in your office. The US Department of the Interior publishes a brochure on what qualifies as a “hostile work environment”. TheBalance.com offers insight on unsuspected behaviors that show up when you least expect them.
Rockstar Tip: Ultimately, if you’re working for a company and something doesn’t feel right in your gut, lean in and listen then try to communicate this to your Human Resources department or a manager as quickly as you can.
For a company to keep me, I had to have a manager that was encouraging of my continued desire to grow & learn, as well as one that communicated clearly and openly. ~Ali O.
Being a manager also means being a landscaper, creating paths for the individuals on your team to walk down as time ticks on. Building opportunity into a role gives your employees motivation that their hours worked are not wasted, but rather are bricks that build their future. Shift your perspective: you’re investing in your company’s future by investing time (and money) into your employees.
Rockstar Tip: Develop a program for each person on your team to discuss and set goals. Then, allow a budget (if necessary) for them to work toward these goals. Does this mean an online class 1 hour per week? A side project where they shadow someone in another department every month? An educational conference for them to fine tune their skills?
I also don’t enjoy negative cultures. I don’t mind a competitive culture or big expectations, but I can’t work at a place where people are always stabbing each other in the back and leaders allow it to happen because we’re all fighting for our own cause and not the bigger picture. ~Jeff Toister
“Culture is a big and somewhat vague term. Some define it as “what happens when nobody is looking.” In reality, it’s much more complex. Culture is the set of behaviors, values, artifacts, reward systems, and rituals that make up your organization. You can “feel” culture when you visit a company, because it is often evident in people’s behavior, enthusiasm, and the space itself.”
Culture is one reason why people go to a company and it’s an important reason why people stay with a company. The better you treat your employees, the better they’ll treat your customers. And, if all goes well, the happier the customers, the more money your company will make. Sure, this is a high level picture, but in the long run, hiring for a culture fit is going to benefit your employees and your company.
Rockstar Tip: While we can’t all incorporate nap pods into our culture, think outside the box about what you can do, on top of your generous pay and benefits. Offering snacks and coffee? Lunch and yoga? Mindfulness and mobile car washes? Monthly massages and foosball breaks?
In conclusion, my friend Lilia, an HR manager at her company and whom I have known since elementary school, sums up company longevity well in a statement below:
In 2017, we have a total of 77 anniversaries, of those 33 are 5 years of service, 26 are 10 years of service, 18 range from 15 years to 40 years of service. I would say benefits are a big reason why employees stay with us, we subsidize a large percentage of their health benefits. I find that any reward system encourages employees and they feel like their work is making a difference. Pay is important, but a lot of people will choose stability if the moral is good.
BIG NEWS: I’ll be speaking at the 2017 ICMI Contact Center Expo & Conference in Orlando this May in a session titled, “Keeping the Customer Service Rockstars On Your Team”. And, this post is a sneak peek to what we’ll be discussing during my session. I can’t wait to share more with you at the event! See you there 🙂