January is flying by but it’s never too late (or too early!) for employers to reflect on how to make their workplace a better one. The beginning of the year, and of a new decade, is the perfect time for employers to implement tangible resolutions to help retain staff members who may be thinking ‘new year, new career?’ CEO of Excel Recruitment Barry Whelan explains how ….

Let employees be off when they are off

With modern technology, we are always connected to the workplace through our smartphones. This brings with it an expectation of an immediate response to issues and problems, which in turn leads to a trend of expecting employees to always be on and available. While some jobs do require this, most don’t. Employers need to get serious about limiting their intrusions into their employee’s time off. Employees want to leave their work in the office. Ideas for resolutions include recognising the importance of proper time off which attracts and retains great employees.

Give out the benefits and perks based on merit not request

As the old saying goes, ‘he who shouts the loudest gets heard’. Often management distributes the ‘extras’ such as better projects, professional development or indeed higher raises and better perks to the employees that ask the most as opposed to those who deserve it. The allocation of work, rewards and benefits should only be made on merit. Ask yourself ‘Do your most outspoken employees get a disproportionate share of resource?’ Make a point of examining how perks and benefits are distributed are resolutions for employers. Resist the easy path of giving more based on who speaks first or negotiates the best package.

Make feedback a habit

Articulating the areas in which you’d like to see an employee improve or describing what you’d like to see done differently can go a long way towards keeping employees motivated and engaged. Simple and positive feedback will generally keep people motivated and displaying the behaviours that were the reason for the praise in the first place. Resolutions employers should implement are to push managers to make feedback a regular part of their conversations with staff members. For example, they could set aside time for it in weekly check-ins. Many managers don’t give enough feedback to their staff members, even though feedback is one of the strongest tools managers have for getting better results from their teams.

Spend more on training and developing staff

The desire for training and development is incredibly high amongst employees at the moment and employers are beginning to listen, but often balk at actually devoting time and resources to training. Employees will get frustrated they’re expected to produce results and stay up to date on current trends without getting much training and professional development. Make this the year that you see your employees development as a long-term investment in your organisation.

Don’t procrastinate performance problems

Instead of taking credit for the high achievers in their teams, managers should measure their own performance by the lowest performers on their teams. This is the real measure of how they are performing, how they handle people who are struggling. Too often, managers shy away from the tough conversations, coaching work and accountability that’s crucial to a high-performing team. Procrastination needs to be done away with and issues tackled head-on.

Give thanks to great employees

If you want to retain your best people, ensure that their contributions are recognised – both through open praise and by compensation that reflects their worth to your organization and gives them a reason to stay. Employers often underestimate the impact of making sure that great employees hear that they are valued.

Work against racial, age, social and gender bias in your company

In our ever-changing work environment, it is important that we recruit, reward and recognise people for skills, experience and contribution as opposed to bias in either a positive or negative way. Educate managers to find ways to combat unconscious bias, such as evaluating candidates against a clear list of must-haves, not factors that don’t truly correlate with success on the job, factors such as rapport with the interviewer or their address. Train managers to use evidence-based methods to evaluate candidates, such as job-related exercises and simulations, and even remove identifying details from applications so that managers can assess candidates without knowing their race or gender.