The start of a New Year—and decade!—is the perfect time to kick off or refresh HR-related programs. As company culture becomes more important than ever for employees, the payoff that comes from programs that meet their needs can be huge in terms of retention. Don’t forget that with the New Year comes resolutions—and for some employees that might include looking for a new job if they aren’t satisfied with their current situation. Here are five programs to consider offering to help keep employee loyalty high.
- Diversity and inclusion efforts
Why it’s important: Maintaining a diverse workforce remains a priority for companies, who find it leads to more innovation and better financial performance, as well as for employees; in one survey more than 80% of respondents said they preferred a diverse workplace.
What you can do: The first step is to examine your recruiting efforts to make sure that you’re building a diversity pipeline from the start. Then, take a look at your teams to see if they are integrated. Does your workplace foster inclusion by creating teams of different genders, cultures, abilities and ages? Are there policies you could implement, such as more flexibility, that would make it easier for all employees to be part of the team? Consider convening a task force to offer insight into what they think could contribute to a more inclusive environment.
Why it’s important: More than 90% of workers who have a mentor say they are satisfied with their jobs, which is crucial for retention. In addition, mentors can help newer employees build their skills, which benefits the entire organization.
What you can do: Whether you choose a formal or informal mentor program, creating ways for employees to work together and learn from each other is positive for everyone. If you have a wide variety of ages, encourage a “reverse mentoring” dynamic, where older employees learn from younger employees, as well, as one more way to support your inclusion efforts.
- Professional development
Why it’s important: It’s no secret that today’s workers need to be focused on upskilling to stay competitive. According to MetLife’s 2019 U.S. Employee Benefit Trends Study, more than 90% of respondents find career development and training to be key considerations when deciding whether to accept a job or stay at the one they have. And helping workers develop new skills doesn’t just benefit them—their new talents will help your organization as a whole.
What you can do: Find out what skills your employees need that will also make them more effective to the company and then help them get the appropriate training, whether it’s attending an industry conference or completing an online program. You can also encourage more informal educational opportunities, such as inviting the team to read a pertinent book and then have a discussion group around it.
- Employee appreciation
Why it’s important: Do your employees know how important they are to the success of the company and how much you value them? It’s vital to create a program that acknowledges everything from day-to-day hard work to someone who goes above and beyond on a specific project.
What you can do: The easiest way to foster a dynamic of appreciation is by encouraging team leaders to just say “thank you;” a Deloitte survey found that 85% of workers valued a simple acknowledgment of their hard work. Written notes are a nice touch as a tangible reminder that employees can look back on. And there are many low-cost ways to acknowledge efforts, from a small gift card to a special parking space for a month. A more involved recognition program might include an awards program where team members submit nominations and an executive team chooses the winners.
- New benefits offerings
Why it’s important: Offering competitive compensation is vital to attract and retain top talent, but don’t overlook your benefits program as another way to convey your commitment to your employees. Believe it or not, one survey even found that many employees would prefer more benefits over more pay.
What you can do: Offering solid healthcare and retirement plans are important places to start. But then look beyond those to additional ways you can offer your employees peace of mind, such as with life insurance and disability insurance. Other popular choices include programs that promote financial wellness, improved health and flexible work options. Talk to your team about what’s important to them and then do what you can to bolster your menu of benefit choices to include those that are most important and therefore most inclined to spur loyalty.
According to Glassdoor’s Chief Economist, Dr. Andrew Chamberlain, company culture will come first in 2020, he says in a list of HR predictions. Now is the time to review the programs you already offer and see where you can strengthen existing efforts or introduce new ones to help create the workplace environment that your employees demand.