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Three steps to better retention through improving workplace satisfaction

Photo Credit: Glenn G, Flickr

According to the recent Hays report on Fit and Retention, nearly half of Canada’s working population are unhappy in their current role which means employers have a retention risk on their hands.

The second part of Hays “Fit” Series takes a look at the impact that finding your ideal fit has on workplace satisfaction and what factors could contribute to someone’s dissatisfaction. It’s a challenging balance to have both the right fit as well as career progression and salary to keep your employees happy.

We’ve all hired someone we think is a good fit, but after the “honeymoon stage” they’re less engaged, and less productive – and they might be considering moving to another company in hopes of finding something fulfilling long-term.

What can you do to improve retention?

Before you hire:

1. Make the most of the interview process

Encourage hiring managers to see the interview process as a two-way street – make sure candidates get an accurate information about the work culture so they can also make better decisions. Include questions about management preferences, social behaviour, and preferred work environment. The Fit report also shows that only one in five employers are using behavioural or psychometric testing. These tests can be an excellent addition to your hiring toolbox.

2. Involve the team in the final decision

When considering a new hire you’ve considered how well they will fit with the existing team and their direct manager. Arrange an opportunity for them to interact informally with the team. The number one contributor to an employee feeling they fit in was their direct manager so encourage the manager to take them to coffee to have an informal introduction before making a final job offer to make sure you’re on the same page about the role and their career.

 For your current employees:

3. Ask the right questions

Instead of trying to brainstorm why someone may be unhappy in their current position there is a more straight forward approach to take: ask your employees directly. Identifying the problem and taking steps to address it can inhibit retention issues. Hays has an annual global employee survey with a more than 90% participation rate and our HR team actively looks for ways to improve any issues flagged.

 4. Be seen taking action

When you have the results, release an overview of the findings, and offer specific actions you will take to address the main concerns. The Hays HR team ensures they communicate with all employees to let them know that they’ve been heard, and that changes are in the works. It takes time to implement new programs, so being seen to listen and make changes based on suggestions can go a long way towards re-engaging your workforce.

Get more insight from the Hays “Fit” Series 2: Fit and Retention including a practical exercise for assessing workplace satisfaction.

Hays Canada division manager Rachel Finan has more than 14 years of experience working in HR recruitment, She excels in making the right match and brings expert insight into market trends, employer needs, and candidate requirements.

Interruptions

To say that I am busy right now at work would be an understatement.  I have a list of things to do that is extremely long.  Anyone in HR with a compensation element to their practice this time of year knows exactly what I am talking about.  I have a commitment to client service which means delivering on commitments on time but being in a small firm, sometimes we are short on manpower and I need to focus and crank.

For the last couple of years I have been working from home more frequently. This actually works out OK for the most part.  I have a comfortable place to work where I can focus on analysis, reports and recommendations, and conference calls.  I save the time of driving to my office; and interesting enough it is often a shorter distance from my house to a client than from my office; giving more productive time during the day.  Modern technology itself is helpful; I can screen share and participate in video conferences whenever I need to.  The office is there when I need it and sometimes I do.  For the most part, I’m happy with my circumstances.

Things go swimmingly until they don’t.

Case in point, this past Monday.

During the day, most of the time my dog Mars is asleep on the couch beside me.  If I am careful, I can avoid being on the phone during his barking times (like when the mail arrives) so as not to startle those on the other end.  I’m mostly successful.

So imagine me coming back from a meeting; task list in hand, starting to get down to work right away, and discover Mars is agitated.  Whining.  Pacing.  Jumping on the couch and off.  Barking.  Something is clearly wrong.

Then I hear it. That clicking sound.  It’s the smoke detector, telling me that the battery is dying.  Every two minutes, a click.  I try to pet him and tell him it will be alright.  I text my husband to tell him he needs to buy a battery on his way home.  I look to see if I can get up there on my own to take it down and can’t unscrew it.  I sit back down and the next thing I know Mars is in my lap.  Cue the video.

Human resources professionals have all sorts of interruptions.  What are yours?

The Optimist

I know where I was the first time I heard about the Optimist Club. I was in an assembly in the gymnasium at Clarence Olsen Junior High School in Woodstock, IL and some local members had come to speak to us about optimism.

I thought they were ridiculous.  The subject was too light for a bunch of kids in puberty. Too smiley.  Too positive. In my 12 year old ways, too much optimism was, in a word, stupid. I’m pretty sure I made fun of them.

But they did leave me with a gift, and that was to consider optimism in life. And in times of darkness, I have.

The Optmists have a Creed.    When I started writing this blog post, I decided to look it up.  It is the following:

Cool, eh?

 

Mind Mapping Optimism

Lately, I’ve been using mind mapping more often in meetings to be sure that the flow of ideas that are coming get captured in a more organic way.  With that in mind, I decided to take the idea of optimism and map it out to see where it goes and it turned out to look like this:

What do you see?

  • There is obviously a wheel, suggesting that optimism is a process.
  • There are also two sides, showing that there are at least two facets to optimism.
  • There are also many paths to optimism, showing activities, or the lack thereof. There is a suggestion that optimism takes practice.
  • Sleep is a consideration.

From a workplace perspective, there’s also benefit to optimism, from both the improved state of mind of the HR professional and the workforces impacted by HR.

Since I write to HR, for HR, I want you to think about that for a moment—being selfish for you for the benefit of others. Infectiousness.

Let me leave this right here.  What goes around, comes around.  If you want a more optimistic workforce, you have a responsibility to be more optimistic yourself. While it is still resolution season, give yourself this gift this year.

Looking for Inspiration?

For about two years, I’ve been a member of a LinkedIn group called HRPositive!  The members are a bit like an optimist club for HR.  In their words, “This is a place to feel good about your profession and the people in it!”  You can find the group at:  https://www.linkedin.com/groups/8355569.