I could give you a list of fifty things you could do to improve employee performance, engagement and retention. But the truth is, there are really just four things you must do. Employees may appreciate the other 46 things but don’t necessarily need them to stay with your organization and do their best work.
The Colorado Society of Human Resource Management hosts an annual Best Companies competition, and organizations of all sizes compete. Last year I led a workshop before the awards ceremony. The purpose of the workshop was to share the things that make an organization a great place to work. While researching the program, the things that separate the great companies from the less desirable places to work became very clear. I’ll share those few things here.
Employees ask themselves these questions at work:
- Do I trust the leaders of this organization?
- Does my opinion/voice matter in this organization?
- Do I have a good relationship with my manager?
- Is my manager invested in helping me advance my career?
Employees enjoy yoga, concierge service, espresso, and social events at work, but these perks don’t necessarily improve retention or performance. The only perk known to improve employee loyalty and commitment is a flexible schedule. Everything else is nice to have, but not essential.
This is what’s really important to your employees:
- I trust the leaders who run this organization.
- My opinion means something. I am listened to.
- I feel respected (by my manager) and have good relationships in the organization.
- My work is challenging and interesting.
So what should you do if you want to be a best place to work?
Four Actions Leaders Can Take to Create Relationships with Employees at All Levels:
2. Be visible. Talk to employees.
3. Give more information than you think you need to. Employees want to know how your organization is performing.
- Hold town hall meetings. Give financial updates.
- Use ‘Ask the CEO’ boxes to encourage questions and feedback.
- Encourage senior leaders to conduct small, roundtable discussions with employees at all levels.
4. Align leaders’ words and actions.
- Organizational guidelines are applied consistently among all employees.
- Don’t gossip or chuck other leaders under the bus.
- Be consistent. Don’t say, “The CEO says this, but we’re going to do this instead.”
1. Meet one-on-one with employees and have meaningful discussions about employees’ performance and career goals.
2. Ask employees for their opinion and demonstrate that you’ve heard them.
3. Provide opportunities for employees to do work they enjoy.
4. Ensure employees who want to advance in your organization are learning and growing.
about our Be a Great Place to Work leadership training program designed for Senior Leaders and HR Professionals. Read