Employee Engagement, Employer Branding

Make Your Company People-Focused in 3 Steps

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No matter your industry, there’s likely an elephant in your boardroom: employee turnover. Workers, especially Millennials, just aren’t sticking around as long as they used to. In 2017, 38 percent said they anticipated leaving their jobs within two years, and another seven percent planned to leave “soon.”

Additionally, about 60 percent of Millennials would take more enticing job offers over their current roles, even if they aren’t actively searching for jobs. Gallup found that this high rate of employee turnover costs the American economy about $30.5 billion each year.

But turnover doesn’t have to become the standard. In my experience, Millennials work hard when they’re working for more than just a paycheck. If you want to keep your Millennials around, cultivate a workplace that has a purpose — one that focuses on the people who make your company amazing.

Listening Well and Communicating Your Vision

It’s not all about you. It’s about aligning and translating your vision for success into what matters most to your team and stakeholders. How? As a leader, your job is to communicate your strategy to the whole team. Whether that communication is visual, verbal or through training sessions, you need to give your team a clear path to success and the standards to which members should hold each other accountable. Building a culture used to be more linear and character-driven. Now, Millennials are challenging leaders to define the path forward and what it holds for their individual futures.

Any company culture stems from its management. Define and publish a strategy for your company, and stick with it. Every current and future employee should know exactly what your organization believes in. Focusing on consistent values and purpose not only fosters a solid company culture, but also makes leadership decisions much easier. Stick with what aligns with your company’s values and purpose, make the choice and push ahead.

A successful strategy will speak to both your employees and your customers. Focusing on the human side of our company positioning has improved my team’s communication and collaboration across the board. Incorporating our overall purpose and our company’s values into the whole team’s day-to-day responsibilities helped us build a team whose members are always in tune with one another.

[Related: 4 Ways to Lead with Mission and Purpose to Attract Informed Candidates]

Building a People-Centered Culture

Giving employees the foundation and strategy to become fully invested in our company and then establishing a process in which to use those tools has changed the way our team operates. We’re communicating better, we’re sharing our thoughts more openly and we’re cutting right to the chase. Our team members always hold one another accountable. Our culture supports open, direct communication that focuses on continual improvement. We believe transparency makes us and our work better; we’re helping, not honking.

We’ve found success by focusing on the following people strategy: Our values reflect who we are and what we believe in; our purpose reminds us how and why we live out our values and our brand promise represents our commitment to living our values and purpose. We set success outcomes with clearly measurable metrics that are discussed every four weeks.

Developing a culture like ours is simpler than it seems — here’s where to start.

1. Create a Framework for Active Listening

As with our discussion method for success outcomes, our internal teams are built on communication from the ground-up. No matter a person’s role in the company, he or she is encouraged to speak up and be honest. Every five to six weeks, we conduct “check-ins” with each individual.

These check-ins focus on three simple discussion points: What do you expect from bluemedia and your manager? What does the company expect from you? What barriers are holding you back? Consistent open communication like this ensures that an entire team focuses on success outcomes and that all employees have the tools they need to succeed.

[Related: How to Build a Highly Effective Feedback Program]

2. Provide Visual Goal Markers

Millennials tend to be purpose-driven in their career choices; 76 percent take an employers’ charitable leanings into account when deciding on a job. Even more surprisingly, 64 percent of Millennials note that if a company hasn’t established a system of corporate social responsibility, they won’t sign on.

Each new generation has grown more socially conscious; at this point, it’s woven into our culture. Millennials are especially attuned to companies’ values, purposes and the purposeful actions these companies take to give back. Ensure that your company gives back to the community in a way that resonates with your target job pool and your incumbent team, whether it’s through team charity work, fundraising or even simple donations.

3. Support Your Team in Unexpected Ways

Building a culture of purpose-filled employees who are engaged every day is sustainable only if your team feels supported. But true support goes beyond signing paychecks. One of my team’s core values is “family first,” and we show our support in various ways, from providing gift cards for school supplies to endorsing individual employees’ causes. Sometimes that means sponsoring kids’ motocross teams; sometimes it takes the form of hosting a bowling night to raise money for a cousin’s leukemia treatments.

A people-centered culture requires leadership that openly invests in its employees — and sometimes that means investing in the causes they hold dear. Encourage employees to bring to the team’s attention community or personal issues they value, then follow through with your support. Show your team that your organization values each individual by supporting these causes or allowing people paid time off to support them.

Let’s be honest: Employee turnover seems unavoidable in just about every industry. But by developing a people-centric company culture, you can increase your teams’ loyalty to your organization and extend their tenure with your company.

Darren Wilson is president of bluemedia, strategist, entrepreneur and speaker. His contagious approach to business has resulted in more than 18 years of success for his companies, along with industry-leading wins for clients like the NFL, Warner Brothers, Target and AT&T. Want to know more about retaining employees? Check out one of bluemedia’s recent videos that gives potential team members a taste of their values, work ethic and projects.

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