To maintain a healthy workplace and retain employees, it is crucial to avoid toxic habits that break employee confidence and the group’s collective efficacy. When employees are working in a toxic climate, employees tend to lose confidence to adequately perform given tasks as fear and anxiety sets in.

great place to work

So what makes somewhere a “great place to work”?

Often times, it’s not about free meals, table soccer or happy hour on Friday – it’s the feelings that come with a positive workplace. If employees do not feel emotionally connected to their coworkers and their work they are more likely to leave. In a Monster study the key to employee loyalty is an emotional connection. That’s where the employee feels like they really belong.

The things that make a workplace a great place to work make up the foundations of employee loyalty. The Great Place to Work Institute (yes, this is a real Institute) which does surveys and consulting services identifies what they call a ‘trust model’ that makes a company a great place to work. Employees find that a great place to work is one in which they feel that:

  • They are trusted by their leaders.
  • The level of pride they have in their jobs, and
  • How much they like their colleagues and enjoy their company.

Therefore, when employees trust their managers, take pride in their work and are friendly with their colleagues, the organisation will prosper.

What can managers do to improve the workplace?

  1. Understand that one approach will not work for everyone. Hiring millennials is not the same as hiring baby boomers. Millennials may have a bad reputation because they their turnover rate is higher and that they leave because “they are millennials”. More often than not, it is because they are misunderstood. If one’s needs from their job are not met, they will leave – millennials or not. Involve your employees and be transparent about the decisions you take, this will build an environment of trust and understanding. The employees will also feel like they are part of something.
  2. The manager’s style is a key component to what gets employees to stay. You might have seen this all over Linkedin and in many cases it’s very valid: people don’t quit their jobs, they leave their bosses. A manager may say that they are open to new ideas and fresh thinking, but then are abrasive. Younger generations are far less likely to put up with abrasive managers, and will leave if they feel like there is no way out. There is also the simple fact that when you feel mistreated at work, you are unproductive and it easily becomes a vicious cycle.
  3. Make sure your values are aligned: Your employer brand (which consists of any touchpoint your employees have with your brand – recruitment ads, tone of voice, hiring process and day to day rituals) needs to be constantly aligned with your values. All values must be integrated into the very fabric and being of the organisation – no use just putting them on a list. Similarly, if a potential new hire does not seem to fit with the company’s culture and the organisation’s values they are probably not an ideal hire.

Other points to consider…

Work-life balance

Are you taking time off work? Employees are more likely to take time off if they see their managers do the same. A Deloitte survey shows that 33% of workers feel uncomfortable asking for and taking leave, whilst fewer than half of respondents feel that organisations place value on life outside of work. Whilst we see more and more companies offering benefits such as free lunches, gym classes on the houses, and so on, what employees value the most is flexibility in their working hours and the encouragement to leave on time. Policies geared towards this are great, but they must be adhered to and encouraged by top-level managers.

Money talks

Many managers seem to still operate under the assumption that money doesn’t matter. Of course, it does. Many, especially those just starting out will need an adequate paycheck. If you don’t pay an employee a competitive rate and what they believe they are worth, they will find someone who will.

Fulfillment of purpose

What is your organisation’s purpose? What good is it permeating in society? This is particularly important to millennials. More than any other generation, they seek meaning behind their work to accompany an adequate paycheck. According to Deloitte’s annual millenial survey, 75% of millennials believe that organisations are more focused on their own agendas rather than improving society as a whole. What are you doing as an organisation in your practices to give back to society? Are you using sustainable materials in your products or their packaging? Are you giving back a percentage of your profits to an organisation? This will resonate with potential customers and present and potential employees.  Meaningful work has become a hot topic and worth looking at your values to highlight the meaning behind your mission.

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