As you’re building up to Christmas, let’s help you dispel that sinking feeling that, come the New Year, you might be dealing with some unwanted resignations. New Year is often a time of change on the job front ‘new year, new me’ and while change is often good for the soul, it’s not so great for profits given the business disruption and cost of re-recruitment. There are some steps you can take to stem the flow out of the business.
People quit their jobs throughout the year for a whole variety of reasons: Better opportunities, work-life balance, more appreciation, better managers, career progression, more money, better benefits … the list goes on!
You cannot necessarily wave a wand to magically fix all gripes but there are things you can do this Christmas and Jaluch (that’s us!) as a several times award winner in 2019 of Employer of the Year and SME Culture Leader, has put together our best ideas for you.
C – H – R – I – S – T – M – A – S
People leave cultures they don’t like. What is your culture? Is it likeable? Attractive? Satisfying? We are operating in a sardine tight recruitment market so having a culture that attracts and retains is increasingly important.
Also, would your employees see the culture the same way as you see it? Perhaps your culture is all just words on paper? Or do your managers and leaders live and breathe your carefully cultivated culture?
It’s never too late to change the culture but the place you need to start if you want to improve retention is right at the top. So what is each and every member of your top team going to do over the coming weeks to make your workplace somewhere that staff want to stay? Actions, not words!
Fun fact … there is a village in Peru where people in December settle the previous year’s grudges by fist fighting. They can then start the new year with a clean slate. (Anyone in your business carrying grudges over to 2020?)
Don’t underestimate how important it is for people to feel happy at work. Perhaps contented is a word that some will prefer? We spend a lot of our time at work and the needs we have at work include basic (appropriate) pay, recognition and thanks, a sense of security (in so far as that can be given), social interaction with colleagues etc. Ignore any one of these needs and there is a high likelihood that your staff will not be happy and will eventually leave you.
Fun fact…. what do you know about Bhutan? The only country in the world that rates itself by its Gross Happiness Index rather than the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) index that all other countries use. ‘Since the foundation of Bhutan, spirituality and compassion have been integrated with governance’. What would our businesses in the UK look like if we followed Bhutan’s example?
Recognition, Respect, Reward
Ignore these at your peril. People are not automatons, they are not machines, they are not just ‘capital’ or ‘resources’ to do the jobs you need doing. And if someone tells you otherwise, then they are probably the ‘money men/women’ i.e. people who don’t ‘get’ people – a big mistake if you let them dictate how your workers should be treated, unless of course, you are one of the few businesses that have a ready and easy supply of qualified labour!
People have emotions, so you need to address those emotions – praise, recognise, talk about a job well done and say thank you! These things will go a long way to ensuring your staff stay with you.
Fun fact… what’s your secret Santa gift going to be? Don’t raise your hopes though, as you might be interested to know that we will be spending an eye-watering £700M on unwanted Christmas gifts this year.
Everyone has different skills, experience, personality, personal preferences, values, preferred way of working etc. Don’t just say you value differences and individuality, but show that you do…
- Take time to learn about the individuals in your team. Put aside pre-judgements and assumptions and ask them about themselves.
- Ask each person what is working for them and what is not working for them at work and see what you can do to increase the good stuff and decrease the stuff they don’t like.
- Take time to ensure that team members value the differences between them rather than seek to drive out the differences in some vague push towards uniformity and conformity.
As a great team-building opportunity, if you would like to know the personality types in your team, and how to harness their individuality, please speak to us about psychometric profiling and profile training days.
Fun fact … there is no need for scurvy or malnutrition this Christmas as many parts of the Christmas tree can actually be eaten! We hear that the needles are a good source of Vitamin C.
Never underestimate how important the social connections we make at work are. As an employer, what you can do to support the social network in the workplace is to provide plenty of opportunities for staff to get to know each other.
Events don’t need to be big, formal affairs, a low key get together or even a team meeting with plenty of time for good discussion can be just as effective. Bake offs, team meetings, lunch and learn, drinks after work, Christmas parties, cinema trips, a coffee/tea bar at work etc the opportunities are endless if you recognise how important social connectivity is.
Why not aim to double the social activities and social opportunities you facilitated in 2019 to see if 2020 can be the year the team really comes together.
Fun fact … the average Brit consumes around 7,000 calories on Christmas Day, reaching the recommended daily allowance at about 2 pm. Plus, 57 Olympic sized swimming pools could be filled with the quantity of beer that will be consumed in the UK over Christmas. Why not organise a dry January or weight loss January for workers to come together with a shared goal after Christmas?
Training, coaching and mentoring
Again, never underestimate the value employees place on the training they receive from you and the opportunities you provide for learning. Is there a chance people might leave you as you simply don’t prioritise this or budget for it?
If you have a training budget and a recruitment budget what is the link between the two? Could it be that you might save the £5K or £10K recruitment fee for just one person you have to replace if you spend £2K now providing training for ten people?
What false economies are you making in your business?
Fun fact … 230,000 tonnes of Christmas food is wasted and thrown away each year.
Poor management is often cited as a reason for leaving an organisation. We hear this day in day out and it can be such an easy win to ramp up management skill and attitudes.
To ensure managing incompetence or management ineptitude isn’t an issue in your company, why not audit the tools, knowledge, productivity, accountability and know-how of your managers and supervisors? Raising the competence and confidence of managers will go a long way to reducing unnecessary staff turnover.
For a December 2019/January 2020 discount on training, why not ask us about training for managers and first-line supervisors.
Fun fact … Japanese people often eat at KFC for Christmas dinner, thanks to a successful marketing campaign 40 years ago. KFC is so popular that customers usually have to place their Christmas orders 2 months in advance.
There is no point in creating a great culture, addressing management competence, delivering training, consider the importance of social networking and connectedness etc. if the one thing you don’t do is sack your idiots, trouble makers, nasty people, emotional vampires and all those who undermine all the positive work you do.
Encourage managers to bite the bullet and move these people out of the organisation, otherwise, all your good work to keep your great performers in the business will be lost when they walk out the door due to having no faith in your ability to manage the under-performers and those who leave a continual bad taste in the mouth!
Fun fact … £51M is the amount saved each year in the UK through the use of discount voucher codes – anything you can do to share knowledge of savings, get your employees some great deals on the things they buy outside of work?
CSR (corporate social responsibility) is much talked about but (in our opinion) little understood. In fact, it goes back to the meaning of life! Many people plough through life until suddenly one day they say to themselves ‘what it is all about?’. A saying we like very much at Jaluch is ‘you only have two lives and the second one starts once you realise you only have one!’.
Just make sure you, as the employer, don’t lose your best people the day after they realise they want something more or different, simply because you have nothing to offer them.
We can ‘feed the souls’ of our employees in several ways such as through the actual job they do (this might apply to some nurses, charity workers etc), provided the work is set up in such a way that they get genuine satisfaction from it, or by the opportunities available around giving back to the community. With this, you can be as inventive, creative and adventurous as you like. Our MD recently made a trip to Nepal during which time she bought from the money we had raised within the team, several goats that she handed directly to a select number of families who needed a sustainable way to increase their annual earnings. That type of activity is ‘soul food’ both for our MD and the team.
Be careful though not to fall into the CSR PR (media) trap of giving staff paid time off to do voluntary unpaid work that in reality is neither voluntary nor unpaid given that their employment contract requires them to work on the hours/days in question and you are maintaining their pay. They are therefore investing nothing of themselves – neither time nor money and in our view, this approach offers an additional (valuable) benefit to staff, something offered as a fun, satisfying addition to their job, but it is not genuinely a way to ‘feed people’s souls’.
Fun fact … it’s technically illegal to eat mince pies on Christmas Day in England. In the 17th century, Oliver Cromwell banned Christmas pudding, mince pies and anything to do with gluttony. The law has never been rescinded.
So that is our C H R I S T M A S in a (festive) nutshell. What actions will you start to take in your business to ensure you retain your great staff?
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Disclaimer: The information contained within this article is for general guidance only and represents our understanding of employment and associated law and employee relations issues as at the date of publication. Jaluch Limited, or any of its directors or employees, cannot be held responsible for any action or inaction taken in reliance upon the contents. Specific advice should be sought on all individual matters.