Happy Team Members!

You’ve hired the best. Now, how do you keep them?

According to Wikipedia, “employee retention refers to the ability of an organization to retain its employees.”  That’s a pretty simple statement for a one of the top concerns of companies in today’s tight labor market.  Once you’ve worked hard to hire and onboard a new employee, you don’t want to turn around and lose them.  So, what’s the secret to keeping them engaged and happy?

In many of the whitepapers and surveys I have read, there seems to be an overall consensus that happier, engaged employees are those who feel they have meaningful jobs and a sense of belonging, among other things.  This “happy at work” syndrome is also attributed to a sense of achievement and purpose for the employee.   Easy enough, right?  Give everyone meaningful work, recognition for a job well done and only hire people that like each other. 

Back to the real world.  How do we do this?  Let’s start with the “meaningful work” piece.  In order for it to be meaningful, employees are performing work that is clearly aligned with the company’s core values and are able to fully utilize and showcase their talents and skills.  To make sure this is happening, review job descriptions and requirements.  Talk to managers to determine if talent is properly matched with assignments.  Recognize those skills that are not being used and plan for job growth.   Use your talent fully.

In turn, company recognition of an employee’s accomplishments and commitment reinforce “happy.”  Recognition is not your father’s “employee of the month club.”  Obviously, it is making sure that you are rewarding employees at review and bonus events.  Even more important, though, it’s a pat on the back in front of others for a job well done.  It’s offering opportunity for growth and professional development. 

These two pieces of the puzzle are fairly easy to solve if you have leaders and managers that are in tune with your goals, but how do you hire people that like each other?  Well, sometimes you can’t.  You want to hire the best talent for the job.  One way to check the “chemistry” and see how those within a department react to a prospective employee is to allow them to spend time with them during the interview process.  However, if your staff is already hired, and you just want them to get along and support each other, there are a few things you can do to accomplish your goals.

  1. Group personality assessment exercises
  2. Team building activities
  3. Getting employees involved in volunteerism

These are all ways to begin building relationships of support and trust within a group.  Extracurricular activities tend to make memories and foster friendships.  Of course, there are many other things that go into the making of a “happy” employee.

Flexibility, positive leadership, empowerment, organizational trust and work-life balance are other very important issues for those in today’s changing workforce.

Now that you know you need “happy” employees to create engagement and keep your turnover to a minimum, what will you do to make sure it happens?