Hiring staff, retaining key people and skills within your business can be a nightmare scenario. For any business, a high turnover of staff spells disaster – not only will it be costing you money continually advertising for and hiring new people, but it will also be sending the wrong signals to potential candidates.
A company that seems to be continually advertising for staff without the growth to match is heading down a one-way street to disaster. The solution is simple and yet complex – staff engagement.
Improving staff morale and engagement in your business is key to not only keeping hold of people but attracting the right recruits in the first place.
Staff engagement ideas – what they are not
Scour the web and you will find examples of hundreds of staff morale boosting exercises, activities, and ideas. Anything from paintballing, group drama lessons and a night at the pub are all common suggestions.
These may work to give a short term boost or topics of conversation around the water cooler the next day, but these types of activities are not the staff engagement ideas that will pay dividends in the long run.
Bearing in mind that there are hundreds of ideas, these two simple staff engagement ideas are currently in use in some of the biggest brands and names in business today.
Better still, the psychology behind the ideas and the process are also explained and it is this, the deeper, underlying reasoning that has the biggest impact on staff recruitment and retention.
#1 The Offer
Zappos is an online clothing and shoe retailer, based in Las Vegas. In 2009, at the pinnacle of its success, it was acquired, lock, stock, and barrel by Amazon.com. A separate entity from its parent company, Zappos receives on average 55,000 applications per year to work for the brand.
Better still, they appear to have a particularly high staff retention rate making it a place where people not only want to work, but when they do, they don’t want to leave.
So what’s the big idea? How do they achieve this enviable position to not only have the option to choose from a large field of candidates but keep these people too?
The answer is two-pronged –
- An extensive selection process – you might not immediately think as an interview or recruitment process as being instrumental in boosting staff engagement but, studies have shown that people who feel valued and value the process of applying and interviewing by a company are more likely to opt to stay. Check your recruitment process – what is it saying about you?
- The Offer – once taken on by the company, new recruits go through an equally extensive and detailed training and familiarisation process, so there is no feeling of ‘being dropped in at the deep end’ but, there is something in addition to this.
At the end of this part of the journey, recruits are offered money to leave. Conversely, this tactic works as Zappos are keen on keeping hold of the right people. Thus, they offer people who are not right a farewell handshake of $3,000. Only 2 to 3% of people have taken ‘The Offer’, and their retention rate is incredibly high.
This works for Zappos because they are clear about their company culture and what and who they are looking for in staff – do you?
#2 Employees first, customers second
There are many CEOs of top international companies that are clear – treat your own people right and they will treat the customers right. By constantly focusing on the customer, you are missing a valuable piece in the process – the staff.
Fostering a culture of respect, value and respect can be tough and yet, we say, we live our very lives around these traits. Staff often feel disengaged and isolated in large companies where there are staff teams not only based across a large site but across multiple sites.
Strengthening these relations is key to success but again, short term, flash-in-the-pan activities are not the answer.
A leading firm in the US have as its mission to increase customer engagement through employee engagement. And it works – from regular phone calls and emails between the CEO and managers, to a constant string of staff conferences and get-togethers all attended by the CEO, people feel they can share ideas and are listened to.
Do you have £30,000 to throw away? This is what human resources say hiring staff, including temporary or agency staff and decreased output when someone leaves is really costing business. The solution is to put staff engagement at the heart of your business.