One of the first steps on your path to creating a successful company is to hire the right people. However, no matter how carefully you approach hiring your first employees, turnover will threaten your established budget and long-term revenues. That said, the best strategy for avoiding costly turnover is to create a culture of appreciation.
Employees are, first and foremost, human beings. We all want to feel seen, respected, and appreciated. If we don’t, we’ll find a different employer. This is especially true now that we are in the “Great Resignation” era.
Employees are abandoning non-supportive employers in droves, leading to a record number of open positions. Facing such an economy, little is more important than a culture of appreciation in employee retention. Explore what this means, the benefits of such a culture, and how to create an appreciative workplace that energizes and inspires workers.
The benefits of an appreciative work culture
First, let’s break down what we mean by a culture of appreciation in the workplace.
The employer/employee relationship is, of course, a business one. However, this does not mean that employees will stand for being treated as little more than a cog in a machine. Most of us work jobs because they fulfill our financial needs first and our desire to contribute to something larger second. If the work we do goes unappreciated, it’s all too tempting to seek out other roles in which we feel more needed and fulfilled.
A culture of appreciation, then, is one that highlights the essential humanity of all workers. This means that employees are recognized for their achievements, supported in an inclusive environment, and given the tools they need for success and emotional safety.
By creating a culture of appreciation, businesses reap a host of essential benefits that all play into employee retention. These are some of the statistical benefits of such a culture that can create for your company:
- 77% of employers say they will work harder if better recognized, increasing workforce productivity.
- Companies in the top 20% for “recognition-rich cultures” reported 31% lower turnover rates, boosting employee retention and cutting turnover costs.
- Praise and appreciation motivate 67% of workers more than even some financial incentives, saving companies money and increasing customer satisfaction.
In addition, as many as 79% of workers who quit their job cite lack of appreciation as a major reason for leaving. This, in combination with the retention success of recognition-rich work cultures, demonstrates the power of appreciative work culture.
However, you may be wondering how to go about cultivating such a culture in your own workplace. While every business model will employ different tools, certain best practices and approaches can elevate any company’s ability to retain employees.
Avoiding turnover with a culture of appreciation
You too can avoid turnover through a culture of appreciation. However, you’ll have to put in the work. An appreciative culture is inclusive and mutually beneficial, and forming it requires education and resources.
The following are tips for avoiding turnover by creating an authentic sense of gratitude and respect among employees:
1. Make inclusivity and empathy a #1 priority
Just as you need self-compassion and belief to become a successful business owner, your employees need the same to do their best work. Inclusivity and empathy are the most important tools for achieving a compassionate and appreciative working environment, helping your entire team to recognize each other’s unique perspectives and roles within a business.
Make these values your #1 priority when framing discussions, meetings, incentives, and all things business. Cultural sensitivity training and diversity and inclusion programs are great tools to help you get there.
#2. Engage employees in business decisions
Similarly, the level of engagement employees have in business decisions makes a huge difference in how much they feel seen and respected. This includes workflows, benefits, and even the location where work is completed.
Creating a culture of appreciation requires active listening and empathetic discussion as you show employees you understand their needs. With one in four Americans living with a mental health condition, opening up your policies to allow workers to live and work where they thrive is an example of this kind of empathy. Consult your staff and make decisions that work best for everyone.
#3. Give timely, considerate feedback
Professional situations in which the quality of the work isn’t up to par can create hiccups in your appreciative culture. To mitigate problems, it helps to establish guidelines for giving timely and considerate feedback that inspires, rather than discouraging, workers.
A good rule of thumb is to first respond quickly. Waiting for recognition can impact employee morale much faster than you might think. However, take the time to frame your feedback in a considerate manner. Start with what works about the project, then offer “I statements” as suggestions for improvement, such as “I noticed x and I feel this might be improved by including y.” Follow all this up with a word of thanks, and employees will be more motivated to improve.
#4. Provide supportive tools and resources
Additionally, employees need support tools and resources to feel appreciated and respected in the course of their work. Not only does this mean competitive wages and benefits but it also includes access to education and knowledge.
For example, the COVID-19 pandemic became a major cause for alarm for employees. Often they turned to employers for support and guidance regarding vaccinations and safety policies. One of the best ways employers can show appreciation for their employers is to express care for their health and well-being by providing this support.
For instance, making sense of scary vaccine news requires a critical assessment of the situation and vetting of reliable scientific sources. You can show compassion, empathy, and appreciation just by doing the work and making accurate health information accessible and digestible to your workforce.
#5. Consistently gauge morale
Finally, integrate consistent surveys and questionnaires that show your employees that you care about their experience. By showing you’re open to suggestions and improvement in this manner, you cultivate an environment in which employees feel more heard.
Offer anonymous options for feedback and implement a zero-retaliation policy for reported concerns. You want to establish a culture in which all workers feel safe to voice their needs without fear of repercussion. From here, survey employees about whether or not they feel appreciated and the tools and resources that might help them feel more so.
With the help of these tips, you can cut down on Great Resignation turnover rates and establish a culture that everyone wants to work within. The keyword in all of these efforts is empathy. By making empathy your baseline, treating employees how you would want to be treated, you can create an ideal working environment for 2022 and beyond.
Creating the ideal working environment
In the modern economy, small businesses and entrepreneurs need all the help they can get when it comes to retaining talent. Fortunately, a culture of appreciation is one of the best ways to achieve this and it can be as simple as showing the same care and respect you’d want for experience.
Start by understanding the benefits that come from employee appreciation. From enhanced productivity to higher levels of employee (and customer) satisfaction, there’s very little a sense of gratitude and empathy can’t do. Then, implement the tips explored here for a more inclusive and comfortable working environment.
A culture of appreciation is your ticket to avoiding high turnover rates. In the midst of the great resignation, this has never been more essential.