HERE WE ARE AT THE BEGINNING OF A NEW YEAR – IT’S HARD TO believe it is 2018. It seems the start of a new year always makes us think about new goals on both a personal and professional level. As HR professionals, we are reminded that our team members have and/ or need goals, too. Sometimes these goals are placed before them as challenges – not by themselves, but by their employer. This can keep team members engaged, as it makes them feel their work is valued, and help with an issue that remains top-of-mind for HR professionals no matter the year, such as employee retention.
Whether it’s 2010 or 2020, we find ourselves asking the same question: “What does top talent want in order to stay engaged with their employer?” It’s what we all want, right? To feel valued, to trust whom we work for and represent, and to be accountable to ourselves and to each other (at all levels within the organization). Notably, we cannot forget to provide an avenue for innovation, which allows team members to feel empowered and flexible to respond to the ever-changing landscape regardless of the industry in which we work.
While most employers think employees leave due to compensation-related reasons, there are numerous other factors that trump salary: few growth opportunities, loss of trust in senior management, lack of leadership within a team or department, deserving work that goes unrecognized and, well, the list could go on. So, how can we as HR professionals help combat these pertinent issues?
First and foremost, we should think of employee retention as a continuation of the recruiting process. What acquired an employee is not necessarily what will make them stay, and this goes beyond salary and accompanying benefits such as unlimited vacation (although this is a great perk). While today’s employees do want the things I just mentioned, they are looking for a larger package – one that includes training and growth opportunities, mentoring, company credibility, appreciation, and a positive work culture and environment. What do all these things have in common? HR professionals can help instill all. For instance, we can highlight the value and importance of training to senior management to encourage more opportunities for employees, hold weekly “office hours” as a time for mentoring, demonstrate appreciation through small initiatives such as a company-sponsored breakfast on National Employee Appreciation Day, and instill a positive work environment by reminding employees of the company’s values (e.g., honesty, excellence, teamwork).
Last, but certainly not least, we must remember that as HR professionals we are a resource, and in some cases, the only resource for team members. Not only are we resources, but we are also an example for all employees to follow. At the end of the day, we must show compassion, empathy and respect to all employees and encourage them to treat each other this way. If we want employees to act a certain way, the key is for us to lead by example – it’s almost as if this is part of our DNA as HR professionals.
The Dalai Lama said it best: “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion; if you want to be happy, practice compassion.”
Lynnette Holsinger, SHRM-SCP, SPHR, GPHR