Retaining talent: 5 ways to build a culture of well-being
By: Trish McFarlane
Organizations continue to feel the impact of the Great Resignation, leaving leaders and managers wondering how to attract and retain top talent. This mass exodus of employees leaving their current employer is surging higher year-over-year. And although we’re finally starting to see some stabilization of the quits rates in the U.S., the issue remains that so many people have already left their employer and not accepted another job.
With so many employees choosing to leave their current organizations, we turn to research to explore the reasons people are leaving and what will help them stay. According to the latest Limeade Employee Care Report on the Great Resignation, 40% of employees cited burnout as a top reason for leaving their job. One way to prevent and reduce burnout to retain talent is to focus on alleviating stress and burnout of their employees with mindful ways to build resilience, even when it seems like those stressors are insurmountable.
In 2018, Gallup conducted a survey asking different generations what they valued most from their companies. While there were some differences in the order of the results, employees of every generation valued well-being and ranked it in the top three factors that are important:
Young millennials and Gen Z prioritize well-being in the number one position, followed by ethical leaders and an inclusive culture.
Older millennials also said that well-being was the number one factor for their decision to stay at an organization.
For Gen X and Baby Boomers, ethical leaders ranked in the primary position closely followed by well-being in the second position.
Meeting Employee Needs to Keep Key Talent
With so much focus in today’s job market on organizational culture and well-being, what should organizations do to meet the needs of employees? First, let’s explore what employees consider important in the well-being category. Things like flexibility in location and work times, mental health counseling, healthy food options, support for caring for loved ones and EAP (employee assistance programs) are some of the most important offerings, just to name a few.
During the pandemic, flexibility has become much more common. However, we’re still seeing a disconnect between the number of well-being initiatives and specific support options offered to what employees are asking for. The pandemic has created an entirely new group of stressors and this burnout has begun to wear on employees like never before. Organizational leaders need to make sure that they are providing more than lip service to employees including different approaches to retaining talent. To build trust, leaders need to ensure that what they say and do matches.
Streamline the flow of work: Before you can make flexibility in the workplace an option, think about the tools that employees are given. Technology can help them prioritize and streamline their work processes, set realistic goals and measure levels of achievement.
Link retention to well-being: Linkages between well-being and retention are measurable. When you implement well-being programs supported by technology in your organization, there are many benefits. For example, employees who participate in the Limeade program are 3x less likely to leave the company than those that don’t. When people feel cared about and their well-being needs are being met, they are also more likely to recommend their employer. This helps in recruiting efforts and throughout the employee lifecycle.
Communicate benefits: Organizations struggle with making candidates and employees aware of all the benefits they offer. For example, you might have an EAP or other employee support programs in place, but usage is low. This can result when employees are not aware of all the opportunities. Ensure your leaders are communicating benefit offerings openly and often to their teams. Make benefits available in ways to appeal to every employee and then encourage usage.
Infuse well-being into your culture: To weave well-being into the fabric of your company, include it throughout the entire employee lifecycle. Well-being initiatives and benefits should be mentioned in your interviews, meetings, town halls, employee communications and on your website. When incorporated into the way you hire, how you give feedback, and in the way you promote, it builds a trusting relationship with employees, which directly impacts retaining talent. As a result, employees will feel more connected to the organization.
Enable your well-being strategy with technology: Activate your organization’s results by partnering with providers that help you equip your managers, amplify leaders and scale culture. Limeade is a solution that will do those things and more. They link technology to the 8 drivers of organizational support, a complete approach to caring for employees that delivers results and can impact your culture. This technology-enabled approach helps free up your HR team and leaders to provide a more human approach to management.
Leaders in organizations of all sizes and from all industries are struggling to think of creative ways to retain their top talent and fill, or backfill, other jobs. By considering how to build well-being into your work culture, you can give employees of all generations what they are yearning for. This step will help employees experience less burnout, increased job satisfaction and belonging, and lead to reduced turnover. Retaining talent has been a focus of leaders for many years. Now is the time to take action to ensure your organizational culture supports this retention.
Winning the war for talent means understanding and acting on the connections between recruiting, retention, engagement and well-being, and how they all ladder up to the formation of employee experience.
Want to learn more? Check out the e-book: Employee Experience and the War for Talent
The challenge is great, but the evidence still shows how important it is to focus on the holistic well-being of your employees.
About the author
Trish McFarlane is the CEO and Principal Analyst for H3 HR Advisors, is co-host of The HR Happy Hour podcast network alongside Steve Boese, and is also the creator of the HR Happy Hour WORK BREAK! daily vlog.