5 Tips for Supporting Employee Health and Managing Turnover
The pandemic era brought profound challenges to organizations of all industries and sizes. While the tech industry has generally been resilient to many of these challenges, they also strived to bolster "business as usual" and "keeping the lights on" initiatives as the COVID-19 crisis grew rampant. Many organizations had to pivot their agendas and strategies to motivate and retain their employees. Organizations that experienced stability and success during this challenging time quickly evolved and adapted to the changes, while others desperately sought to understand how they could support employee health while coping with turnover.
The COVID-19 pandemic forced business transformation in more ways than we can imagine. For example, restaurants entered the grocery market, self-driving cars began making food deliveries, retailers offered curbside pickups, stores expanded digital offerings, and fitness companies offered online workouts. Every industry was impacted by the need to change quickly. The tech industry was also dealing with several challenges amid this economic disruption, and they diligently worked to identify business continuity plans. Technology leaders created crisis teams, contingency plans for critical roles, flexible work arrangements, and robust communication plans.
Leaders focused and prioritized heavily on supporting employee health while also managing turnover. With "The Great Resignation," "Quiet Quitting," and other similar topics at the forefront of management's agenda, it has become critical to have a plan for focusing on supporting employee mental and physical health. By having a plan for addressing employee health and turnover, leaders can increase employee productivity and job satisfaction while reducing turnover. Employers have begun implementing various strategies to support employees' mental health by encouraging a work-life balance.
Support Remote and Flexible Work Arrangements
Working closely with employees personally will help them understand their situation to determine where they could benefit most from support related to remote and flexible work arrangements. While not all jobs can benefit from remote work, there has been a growing trend in the tech industry, from start-ups to established century-old organizations. Technological advancements in remote work, communication, and security capabilities have led to an increase in home-based jobs. This has also resulted in many tech employees preferring to work remotely as a condition to stay in their current roles. Tech employees also carefully study other organizations offering these flexible remote work arrangements to prevent a rise in "The Great Resignation" and "Quiet Quitting."
Remote work and flexible work arrangements have become necessary for many tech employees, even in post-COVID-19 situations where employees are being asked to return to the workplace. Employees with lower tolerance levels quit when asked to return to the workplace, even when the return may be a hybrid split. The point is that there has been immense resistance and sensitivity to change; therefore, employers must be understanding and flexible to retain these loyal and talented employees by supporting remote work. If these remote and flexible work arrangements worked well during the pandemic, then it can work as well, if not better, post-pandemic. Tech leaders who continue trusting their employees by eliminating micromanagement tactics and demanding a return to the office are seeing increased employee productivity and job satisfaction. A Global Workplace Analytics and FlexJobs study found that remote work can save U.S. companies over $11,000 per year per employee because remote workers tend to take fewer sick days, have lower turnover rates, use limited company resources such as offices and supplies, and are more productive.
In addition to gaining support and approval for fully remote work, employees also explore flexible work arrangements such as a 4-day work week. Newsweek published the article "Every U.S. Company With a 4-Day Workweek", providing a complete list of over 30 companies that have successfully adopted a 4-day workweek by cutting a 40-hour workweek to 32. The results were stunning in that employee productivity increased due to their focus levels and ability to balance their personal life, leading to happier, healthier, and more productive employees. In fact, the tech-forward state of California is proposing a bill called AB-2932 Workweek, which aims to formally change the work week from 40 hours to 32 hours and will impact 3.6 million people. We have commonly seen trends where certain states propose a positive change, which over time gets adopted by other states as the benefits of this change become increasingly prevalent. Additionally, with the rise of automation and AI initiatives, a four-day workweek seems even more possible as we continue technologically evolving into the digital age.
It is also important to mention that more information related to "The 4-day Work Week" is available via a book by entrepreneur and productivity expert Timothy Ferriss. It introduces ideas for implementing a four-day workweek, setting boundaries, managing expectations, and maximizing productivity during the shorter workweek. It also discusses the cultural and planning aspects that need to be considered when implementing a four-day workweek, along with strategies for maintaining productivity and making the transition smooth.
Value Time on the Job
It has frequently been said that our employees are our greatest asset, and there are numerous ways to value our employees' time on the job. This includes performance evaluations, recognitions and awards, engagement surveys, training and development, and through open communication. In addition to valuing our employees' time by promoting remote and flexible work arrangements, which enhance work-life balance, there are a few other ways tech leaders can support employee health by valuing their time on the job.
Valuing employee time is an ongoing process that requires commitment and continuous effort from leadership. Reducing the amount of non-value-added meetings from an employee's calendar can significantly increase productivity and reduce stress while increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of communication since they can focus on the most critical topics. It could be beneficial to have a quick check-in with an employee before sending them a meeting or a series of recurring invitations. During a quick check-in, you may learn that this lengthy meeting could be replaced by other forms of communication such as e-mail, chat, or other efficient and cost-effective approaches.
There are various other approaches for valuing employee time on the job. Prioritizing key tasks and projects ensures employees work on the most impactful tasks. Increasing autonomy and decision-making power over their work is a way to show employees that their time and expertise are valued. Setting clear expectations for what is expected of employees and providing regular feedback on their performance can empower and signify that they are valued. Learning new skills, taking on new responsibilities, and advancing their careers will support increased productivity and satisfaction. Supporting employees to take breaks, disconnect, and focus on their personal lives is a way to value their time outside of work, ultimately improving their work performance and job satisfaction. Finally, providing fair compensation, including salaries and benefits, would help employees feel fairly compensated for their contributions and the value they bring.
Ensure Work Responsibilities Stay within the Job and Role Expectations
Leaders must ensure that employees' work responsibilities stay within the job and role expectations to maintain productivity, job satisfaction, and employee engagement. Employees that frequently take on responsibilities outside of their job and role expectations tend to burn out, have decreased productivity, and increased turnover rates. Job clarity is a key factor in determining employee engagement and satisfaction with their work. Studies show that taking on additional responsibilities outside their job descriptions results in lower job satisfaction.
So how can companies ensure that employee work responsibilities stay within the job and role expectations? They can begin by having clearly defined job descriptions for all positions, which would help to ensure that employees understand their roles and responsibilities and stay within the expectations for their position. Regularly evaluating employee performance to address concerns or issues regarding employee responsibilities is equally important. Also, training and development opportunities can help with acquiring the necessary skills to perform the job and role expectations. By having regular check-ins with employees, tech leaders can ensure that their employees are aligned with the expectations for their role and consistently meet them.
Regular communication is also important to ensure employee work responsibilities stay within the job and role expectations. Encouraging open communication between employees and managers can help identify when employees may be taking on responsibilities outside their job and role expectations. Rewarding and recognizing employees for their performance and sticking to their roles and responsibilities is also important and motivates them to keep doing their job effectively. Productivity and employee engagement will surely thrive when employees' work responsibilities remain within the position and expectations for the role.
Foster a Positive Work Culture and Create a Sense of Community
A positive work culture can attract and retain top talent, increase employee engagement, and improve overall company performance. By proactively supporting employee well-being, leaders create a positive work culture and reduce the risk of burnout.
Practicing open communication and transparent culture encourages employees to share their ideas willingly. Recognizing and rewarding employees for their contributions allows them to collaborate and build relationships with their colleagues. Many remote-based methods exist for creating a positive work culture and community, such as virtual team meetings and social events.
Leaders can support their employees by limiting micro-management and trusting them to do their job effectively. They can also set aside budgets for training and certifications to enhance professional and personal upskilling opportunities and to evangelize the growth mindset. Budgeting for programs and resources that can be made available for employees to turn to when they are struggling, such as an employee assistance program and access to mental health professionals and training, can be beneficial. In addition to trusting more, infusing humor into tense situations to lighten the mood and reduce stress, supporting mental health initiatives, and empowering the growth philosophy, leaders must lead by example to ensure that the leadership team models the behavior and culture they want to see within the organization.
Address the Root Causes of Turnover and Find Ways to Retain Valuable Employees
Employee turnover can negatively impact a company and result in decreased productivity, increased recruitment and training costs, and a loss of institutional knowledge. Organizations can maintain a stable and productive workforce by understanding the root causes of turnover and finding ways to retain valuable employees. By regularly evaluating employee performance and conducting exit interviews, leaders can identify employees at risk of leaving the company. Frequent communication can also uncover any concerns or issues, which could help reduce the risk of turnover.
There are several other methods for addressing turnover within your organization. Training and development opportunities and career advancement can help keep employees engaged and motivated. A competitive compensation package and benefits can help to attract and retain top talent. This can include attractive health insurance, retirement plans, and opportunities for professional development. Employee retention programs, such as referral or retention bonuses, can help incentivize employees to stay with the company longer. Regularly conducting employee engagement surveys and using feedback to improve the work environment and company culture can help increase employee engagement and reduce turnover risk. Conducting retention interviews with key employees who may be at risk of leaving the company can help identify and address the underlying issues. Talented employees are constantly being pursued by organizations that are flexible, value their time, and have amazing cultures. By understanding the key reasons for employee turnover, organizations can address the root causes and find attractive ways to retain these valuable employees.
High turnover rates or periods of downsizing and layoffs, coupled with toxic work environments from poor leadership and work culture, lack of opportunities for growth, poor communication, lack of trust and appreciation, and unfair compensation, all contribute to employee disengagement and resignation. The key to supporting employee mental health and reducing turnover is to create a supportive and positive work environment that values and cares for its employees. Supporting employee mental health and reducing turnover is essential for the success of any business.
By implementing remote and flexible work arrangements, respecting employees' time and responsibilities on the job, building a positive and growth-oriented culture, and understanding turnover reasons, employers can create a positive work culture that benefits both their employees and the company. Leaders need to mirror the culture, change, and growth they want to see in employees. Several notable leaders have applied these strategies and reaped the benefits within their organizations. One prominent leader is Sam Walton, founder of Walmart, who brought immense passion and commitment to building outstanding leaders and teams. A testament to this was captured in his words of wisdom: "Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it's amazing what they can accomplish."
- Read more about Every U.S. Company With a 4-Day Workweek—Full List (newsweek.com)
- Read Working From Home Is the Trend of the Year—And Next Year Too | TIME
- Read Buffer | 2022 State Of Remote Work
- Read The Benefits of Working From Home | FlexJobs
- Read about how Shopify CEO Tobi Lutke Tells Employees To Just Say No to Meetings - Bloomberg
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Article Last Updated: 2023-07-06