Employee Retention Tactics, Part 4: Creating a Healthy Work Environment
My series on employee retention strategies continues with this entry focusing on how managers can boost employee retention by creating a healthy work environment.
Have you ever worked in a hostile environment, caused by a boss or colleague whose behavior and actions were impossible to deal with, which in turn made your job and work environment unbearable? Such environments are toxic and have the potential to stifle creativity and collaboration within and across teams. Without a doubt, they can impact attrition rates, too.
Here are some simple steps that you as a manager can take to foster a warm and welcoming environment for your team and within the workplace.
Set and Enforce Policies on Workplace Harassment and Discrimination
From the onset, it’s important to let your employees know that discrimination or any form of harassment will not be tolerated in the organization. If you have not already done so, help create and implement policies around these issues and ensure that they are clearly communicated to all employees. It is also important to outline the actions that will be taken in the case that employee(s) violate these policies.
Foster Healthy Management & Team Relationships
In order for employees to be able to work effectively, they need to be able to understand the goals and targets that are set for them. This can be achieved by asking them to get involved in the goal setting process from the beginning, understanding their interests and ensuring to create a set of goals based on their abilities as well as incorporating new challenges. This process helps foster understanding between the two parties and can avoid leading to poor performance, low morale, and potential turnover/attrition which can be detrimental for the team and entire organization.
Don’t Play Favorites
Treating all employees equally — which includes being fair and avoiding any personal favorable or unfavorable biases — allows you as the manager to remain as a neutral figure in the eyes of your team. Thus, when any team, project or promotion/dismissal decisions are made, they are perceived to be what is best for the team overall and aligned to the standard practices and procedures of the company.
It’s also vital to remember that having a manager who mentors and empowers employees is just as important as having one who can lead or manage the team to get the job done effectively. In the case where employees ask you for advice relating to their career or personal goals, although it may at times be difficult to step out of your “manager” role and into a “mentor” role, offering guidance can help motivate them in their current positions. It come sometimes mean the difference between them achieving what they are looking for within the organization and looking for opportunities elsewhere. It is also often helpful to become aware of their interest areas and involve them in projects related to those within and outside of your team.
Build a Culture of Trust, Teamwork and Cohesion
Transparency and Accessibility
Having an “open door” or “no door” policy in your organization, helps make it a more welcoming and inviting place for your employees to address any issues they may be encountering. Some start-ups embrace the “no door” policy whereby all members of upper management sit alongside their employees, which signifies cohesion and equality in the workplace. Other smaller organizations organize weekly or bi-weekly town halls to provide updates, discuss pertinent issues and encourage open communication and transparency amongst all employees, regardless of their level.
Focus on Team Goals Over Individual Goals
In order to build a sense of cohesion amongst your team within the workplace, you could hold team-brainstorming sessions to encourage creativity and innovation in an open and comfortable environment. Additionally, asking team members to assist one another when in need on certain projects can also contribute to establishing closer bonds and help them realize that team goals should be encouraged and prioritized over individual goals.
Outside of the workplace, you could promote team building activities and events, which would give members a chance to engage and participate in activities that help foster relationship and team building.
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