Guest post by Kevin Conner
Low rates of employee turnover are an indicator of a healthy business. Keeping your company from becoming a revolving door makes it easier for you to plan long term, saves you the expense of recruiting an onboarding new hires and it also helps you develop an internal company culture that can help push the business forward.
However for an employee retention strategy to be successful, you need to take a holistic approach. It starts with taking the time to understand who your employees are, and then you need to make sure you’re offering competitive salary and benefits packages. Furthermore, you also need to be sure you’re giving people enough room to grow, as a lack of professional development is one of the top reasons people decide to leave a company.
But another thing you need to do to keep employees from leaving is offer them flexibility. Part of the reason for this is that flexibility is one of the things people look for in a job, so if they feel they aren’t getting it from you, then you can expect them to start to seek out new opportunities. But there’s a lot more to it. Consider the following ways flexibility can dramatically impact your ability to retain employees.
Avoid Emergency Departures
As you are surely well aware, things happen in life that we simply cannot predict. People get sick, or they pass away, or a disaster or emergency can bring us far from home. And the last thing you want to do if you’re trying to retain employees is force people to choose between these pressing personal needs and their jobs, largely because when push comes to shove, they will almost always choose their personal lives.
Offering flexible working arrangements allows people to tend to these other things in their lives without fear of losing their jobs, or more importantly, without worrying that they have sacrificed their opportunities to advance.
In this sense, offering flexibility to your employees helps make your organization more flexible. You won’t suffer as a result of a shock, and this puts you in a better position to be more sensitive to people’s needs, something they will appreciate and that will encourage them to stick with the company for the long haul.
Create A Culture of Inclusion
It’s no secret that we live in a patriarchal world. Men have held a disproportionate amount of positions and power and influence for essentially all of time, and although things are changing slowly, there is still a lot of work to be done. And one of the things that often holds women back from being able to more passionately pursue their careers is the challenge that comes from trying being a mom and an employee at the same time.
Of course, many women manage to do this, but too often this means making sacrifices in their personal lives that men are typically not asked to make. Essentially, women are often forced to choose between their careers and their desire to be a parent, and this simply is not fair.
And this is why advocates for gender equality in the workplace are also often proponents of flexibility in the workplace, as these arrangements make it so that people do not need to make this difficult choice. People will recognize this and appreciate it, which will make them more loyal to you. And those who are not affected by this injustice will see you as an employer focused on inclusion and equality, meaning that offering flexibility is not only the right thing to do, but it’s also a great way to improve employee retention rates.
Allow for Better Work Life Balance
The concept of work-life balance is somewhat new, but it’s one that’s rapidly gaining in importance. As technology allows us to be more and more productive while working less, we have a lot more time to pursue hobbies and other interests.
But if you still use a rigid work arrangement, then it’s going to be tough for your employees to actively pursue their non-work-related interests, which will cause them to stagnate and look for other opportunities.
As a result, you’ll want to offer your employees flexibility so that they can be free to live their lives in whichever way the want, which they will recognize and appreciate as something special, making it easier for them to decide stay put instead of looking elsewhere for new opportunities.
What Does Flexibility Look Like?
It should be clear that flexibility is a great way to help you reduce your employee turnover rates, but what exactly do we mean by flexibility? In general, there are two ways you can incorporate flexibility in to the workplace:
- Allow people the chance to work remotely. Not having to commute to an office every day can free people up to be more effective in both their personal and professional lives.
- Allow for flexibly scheduling, meaning people still need to come into the office, but they can do so according to their own schedule, provided their output doesn’t suffer.
Most companies will opt for a combination of the two. They may offer people flexible schedules, and they can combine this with the opportunity to work from home one or several days out of the week. However, the best thing to do is take things on a case by case basis. This will demonstrate authentic sensitivity to people’s needs, something that will help build better employee-employer relations.
But no matter which route you take, it’s important to set your employees up for success. If they’re going to be working from home, help them get setup with the best possible internet service and also give them access to tools such as Slack, Zoom and Trello, or whatever other project management software you might use. This will help make sure they can still adequately perform their jobs while also enjoying the perks of a flexible work arrangement.
Make Your Workplace More Flexible
Now that you see just how valuable flexibility can be to the success of your company, it’s time to start implementing this policy into the way you do things. If you’re not sure which is the best route to take, then consider consulting with employees to see what would work best for them. This will help shine some light on the right strategy for your company, making it easier for you to enjoy all of the benefits of a flexible workplace.
About the Author: Kevin is the founder and CEO of Vast Bridges and has also recently launched an internet provider search tool. Kevin is passionate about learning how other businesses do things and what he can do to help make them be better, so when he’s not working with a client, he’s writing to be a resource for other entrepreneurs and business leaders.