Ask anyone who has made it up the corporate ladder, and you'll get the standard response that being a leader doesn't come easy. After all, no matter what style of leadership you demonstrate, you'd have to practice issue management and conflict resolution to minimize the aftereffects of high employee turnover/attrition.
Whether an employee plans their exit or leaves abruptly, what happens next is fairly predictable. Productivity gets unevenly distributed which impacts team dynamics. Existing workers get overloaded as they take over more tasks till a suitable replacement fills up the position now lying vacant. Conversely, if roles are made redundant (in other words, a certain role is closed or a unit shuts down), it results in disgruntled employees taking valuable skills out the door.
You're probably wondering where all this is going. After all, circumstances do change and employees will eventually leave. But that doesn't have to imply cutting off ties completely or failing to recognise efforts that built your business up. Employee goodwill is an asset to both you and the employee who plans to leave, as it promotes the feeling of inclusion, at no cost to your company.
With that in mind, here are 5 ways you, as an employer can cultivate employee goodwill measures and stay in business;
Allocate skill-based work
Everyone wants to be of value to the organisation they’re part of. And it starts with ensuring they’re on work making maximum use of their primary skills. Hiring is all about finding the right cultural fit, but managing workloads is more about staffing the project or activity in question optimally with the right people. While it is reasonable to want your staff to stretch based on incoming work and ongoing workloads, it isn’t the ideal way to work always. For one, the chances of over utilising your talent pool or benching critical skills for longer than necessary remain higher.
This is where a visually interactive resource management software comes in. Usually considered an accompaniment to existing project tracking tools, managing resources online lets you instantly check in on allocations, i.e. if there are repeat bookings, unfinished work, paused tasks, overloads and idle projects. This way, you can rectify schedules such that you have a unified viewing scale over both people and the work that they’re on, ensuring staff aren’t leaving as a result of a burnout.
Invest in team building exercises
The longer the communication gap persists amongst different teams, the wider the disconnect individual employees feel, causing them to eventually consider alternate options to working at your firm. The idea of being promoted and getting bonuses and perks can cause your teams to get competitive, which is natural. But there’s always the risk of taking things too far. Overzealous staff end up missing the big picture, which is to collaborate with their colleagues and move as a cohesive unit towards meeting business goals.
Employee goodwill truly begins with an attempt to balance competing interests. In the interest of creating a work culture with healthy team dynamics, it pays to conduct regular team building activities such as icebreaker sessions, milestone celebrations and gamifying work to score performance against active participation. Not only does it improve team communication but also sees to it that no useful skills or knowledge-area is hoarded or withheld during a time crunch. As a result of knowing their colleagues a bit better, your teams can look forward to working in a conducive environment that encourages skills diversification and personal growth.
Initiate training measures
Given the speed with which technologies such as AI, IoT, Big Data and digitization is occurring, it makes sense for your employees to reskill or upskill ahead of work projected for the future. This means enabling them to repurpose their existing know-how as they transition to a newly created role, or advance in the current one.
Launching training programs closes the cyber skills gap and lets your workforce keep up with digital transformations. A digitally skilled workforce is one that is aware of change, the need for it and how their role will evolve in the future. Only then can your employees get the confidence to work on newly explored opportunities. This translates to increased profitability as well, seeing as new lines of services that can be tapped into.
Reconsider old talent
When good employees make their intention of leaving clear, it is natural for you to want to do what it takes to keep them. Nevertheless, you have to be prepared for the eventuality of them still declining your counter offer for more or better benefits. Do remember, that an employee leaving today can always return, in a move experts like to call boomerang talent.
It simply means that an ex-employee might re-join your firm in later years with newly acquired skills and experience. As a talent source, this points to increased productivity since such employees know your business already, fit in more easily and master work quickly. Besides, they can reconnect with former colleagues and even be in the position to refer someone from their expanded network. Such recommendations reduces the time to close the talent pipeline and ensures that your capacity is sufficient in terms of the quality and quantity of relevant competencies.
Conduct employee exit interviews
Regardless of the circumstances surrounding an employee’s departure, remember to interview them on their way out. Ask them questions concerning what they liked, and disliked during their time with your firm. The answers will surprise you but more importantly, will give you insights into processes that are outdated, irrelevant or unfeasible. When introspecting how to change things, you can refer to notes from the polling insights to revamp business processes.
When former employees see you being proactive about addressing workplace challenges, they’re more likely to put in a good word about your company on social media or on their professional network. With the speed at which online interactions go viral, favourable reviews not only reinforce brand recall and encourage prospective applicants to consider your firm but also restores a customer’s trust in the brand.
Aakash Gupta, head of marketing, Saviom Software
Image source: Shutterstock/gpointstudio