The past couple of years has been hectic for the global workforce. Not only did the COVID pandemic disrupt operations across all industries, but it also led many people to reevaluate their lives, needs, and ultimately their jobs.
As a result, people have been resigning in droves. In the U.S. alone, over 4 million people quit their jobs this past September. This has left employers scrambling, and the foremost question on everyone's mind is: What makes people happy enough in their jobs to want to stay?
The answer to this question is of the utmost importance — especially when you consider the impact resignations can have on your team. What happens if you lose your senior members? Their work falls into the hands of their remaining colleagues, who may struggle with the additional workload. This can have a significant impact on morale, and it might even lead to more resignations.
But it isn't all doom and gloom. As you'll see below, there are several ways you can create an environment that will make your team members actually want to stick around. It's pretty simple, really. Treat people like people, and they're more likely to want to stay.
Educate and empower your team
The best way to entice your team to stick around is by setting them up for success — both in their present and future roles. That means educating them so they'll have the skills to tackle whatever issues arise and empowering them so they'll feel confident using those skills when the time comes.
This might involve revising your onboarding process to fill in any gaps in their training. You could also provide helpful resources, like documents that clearly outline their roles and responsibilities or any internal processes relevant to their positions. The key is creating standard practices and documentation so that these resources and protocols are the norm.
Investing in technical training is another great way to empower your team. There's a rising demand for technical training in the workforce — especially in the tech industry — and more and more companies are including it in their benefits packages.
Need help training your team? With Codecademy Teams (and Teams+), you can take charge of their technical training and keep their skills sharp. Check out our Codecademy for Business page for more info.
Understand the importance of company culture
Much of the conversation around employee retention centers around pay and benefits, but your organization's culture can be just as important. What are your company values? How dedicated is your organization to cultural values like diversity, inclusivity, and equity (DEI)?
If you haven't formally implemented values into your corporate culture, now's the time. Research shows that social awareness and support go a long way toward boosting retention — especially with younger generations.
On an individual level, how does your team feel about their work? Business goals are important, but people need more than KPIs and OKRs to thrive.
Take the time to connect each team member's work to the overall company mission, as well as their individual professional aspirations. Better yet, show them how their contributions, specifically, positively impact people's lives.
Along similar lines, you'll also want to show your appreciation for your team's hard work. You don't want to lose a valued team member because they feel unrecognized. If you're not sure when or how to do this, consider dedicating a little time during your recurring team meetings to shout out individual and team accomplishments.
And remember: People aren't machines. Foster a culture of autonomy and trust by giving your team a little wiggle room. Process and protocol will always have their place, but innovation and risk-taking are just as important when you're creating a company culture built on mutual trust and respect.
Make sure everyone has a voice
The best way to figure out how to keep your team happy is to listen to what people are saying.
How easy is it for your team to provide feedback? And, once it's given, are their ideas implemented, or do they sit unattended in a dusty "suggestions" box somewhere?
People need to feel heard, and they aren't likely to stick around if they think they aren't being taken seriously. (Can you blame them?)
Fortunately, there are several ways you can show your team that you value their perspectives.
Surveys are a great way to get a sense of how your team generally feels about the workplace, while regular one-on-ones with direct reports keep the lines of communication open on a regular basis. When people do leave, exit interviews also go a long way toward identifying pain points and potential solutions.
Really, the possibilities are endless — ranging from anonymous message boards to simply adding an extra 10 minutes or so to the end of meetings to allow time for questions and feedback. What really matters is transparency.
After you've collected enough information, share your results with your team and explain how any feedback will be implemented, if applicable. Not only will this help ensure everyone feels heard, but it'll also help foster a culture of open dialogue and trust — which can boost loyalty, engagement, and retention.