By George Chaytor-Norris, CEO and Co-founder of youdo
The fight for talent is growing increasingly competitive. With new research with UK workers showing 72% are considering quitting their jobs, organisations must act now.
Traditional ways to mitigate employee turnover (annual appraisals, performance ratings, pay rises) may be enough to satisfy but they’re not enough to retain.
Workers are placing psychological needs at the top of their requirements, prioritising aspects including wellbeing, culture, and societal responsibility. And while we’re seeing a wealth of wellbeing and CSR schemes being rolled out, there’s a difference between paying lip service to a cause and actively embodying it.
Our research shows nine out of 10 employees want to work for an organisation with purpose, yet only 30% believe their employer puts people or planet above profit.
So how can HR leaders demonstrate their commitment? Here are four ways to make sure your wellbeing and environmental initiatives are impactful enough to make a difference – and inspire staff to stay.
- Make schemes relevant
As many as 88% of workers want to be involved in some sort of company wellbeing or environmental initiative — yet don’t assume they are all motivated by the same activities.
Our research shows that on the whole, the types of initiative that appeal the most to workers are around mental wellbeing (45%), team building (38%), and helping the environment (34%). But these are broad areas.
To create a healthy workplace that creates employee engagement, it’s important to understand the activities that will nurture connections and create satisfaction.
Before designing and launching your employee engagement programme, survey your employees, run workshops, or appoint ambassadors to really understand what employees value.
Your workers are prioritising their psychological needs in the wake of the pandemic and at a time of political, economic and environmental instability. It’s important to effectively gauge the general level of enthusiasm for initiatives across the workforce.
- Promote employee choice
Only 18% of workers say company initiatives around wellbeing and the environment are very relevant to their personal interests.
When shaping your employee engagement programme, finding ways to connect schemes to what every employee really enjoys will create the best chance of buy-in — and success.
Not everyone wants an evening at the pub, to run a marathon, or to participate in sports. Do you have people who enjoy hiking? Meditation? Baking? Make sure you offer a diversity of initiatives so there is something that every employee not only can, but wants to, engage with.
Even better, give greater autonomy to your workforce to come up with the ideas and activities that will shape your broader strategy. Initiatives that leverage existing hobbies and interests have higher rates of success because participants are already personally engaged.
The psychological safety that people experience when doing what they enjoy is catching, and is likely to make them engage more in their professional role as well.
- Communicate and motivate
Of the employees who want to be involved in company schemes on wellbeing and the environment, around half (49%) simply want more communication about what’s on offer and how they can get involved.
Poor dissemination of information is an easy obstacle to overcome but it’s not enough to send company-wide emails with instructions and expect your people to do the rest.
Communicate regularly and show that you care as much about making company initiatives work as your employees do. Employees know the difference between paying lip service to a cause and actively embodying it.
Sharing can be encouraged through gamification or competitive elements, and this can still be achieved even if employees pursue different interests, if they are all collectively supported through a shared platform that brings all the activities together.
- Give employees ownership
Employees have a right to agency over their own engagement — and they want to engage in and drive wellbeing and sustainability initiatives. Not only do 84% of employees want to take part in activities, but 50% of these want to contribute ideas, 30% to run them, and one in five (19%) are keen to design new schemes.
Non-HR workers are often an under-used resource when it comes to championing employee engagement. Of course, there is a need to be sensitive to existing workloads and avoid overwhelming teams with more tasks, but the appetite to be part of something bigger is there.
This is where a platform or software focused on connecting employees can be a smart approach to empowering workers to create and drive engagement schemes through to fruition.