Your employees helped your business make it through the pandemic. Here’s how to show appreciation and keep them happy in their roles.
Even though the delta variant isn’t keeping the pandemic out of the rearview mirror completely, things are inching their way back to normal — or the “new normal” at least.
If you’re a small business owner or leader whose business managed to stay afloat despite COVID-19 and the economic fallout it created, congrats! You’re in a good place and chances are you have your employees to thank for that.
But as we move further and further into the clear, business is picking back up and companies are starting to hire again. This means your employees are going to have more options for other employment than they have in a while.
Not only do you owe it to your employees to keep them happy at their jobs after they helped get your business through the pandemic, but ensuring that your employees stick around is practically essential for your continued company success. Here are a few tips and tricks for making that happen.
Boost your employee recognition and appreciation strategies
If you already have serious employee recognition and appreciation strategies in place, that’s great! You’re in a good place, but there’s always room to do better. Maybe you can host a long overdue employee appreciation party now that funds are starting to flow like they used to again. Or you can finally revamp your employee recognition strategy. Whatever you choose, now is a great time to find ways to make sure that your employees know how much you appreciate them for the critical work that they do.
The last thing you want is to let employee appreciation fall to the wayside and lose talent because they feel like they’re not receiving recognition.
If you’ve never deeply considered employee recognition or appreciation before (small teams and start ups tend to do things on the fly!) now is a great time to start thinking about formalizing the process. The last thing you want is to let employee appreciation fall to the wayside and lose talent because they feel like they’re not receiving recognition for the work that they’re doing.
Conduct employee surveys
An employee survey can be used for all sorts of things. If the point above got you thinking about how you show your employees that they matter but you’re not quite sure how to do that or how to improve what you’re doing now, ask them!
Surveys can be anonymous or not — however you want to construct them that you think would yield the best, most candid and informative responses possible.
Beyond employee recognition, it’s a good time to take the company’s temperature on everything. Here are some areas you could cover:
- Are any employees feeling burnout after the madness that was 2020?
- What are employees thinking or hoping for when it comes to remote work?
- How do employees feel about returning to the office and going back to in-person work?
Of course too many surveys, or surveys that are too long or burdensome are not only less likely to get results, but it’s possible that they’ll just add to your employees’ already long to-do list. So, whatever you do, be judicious with the time you require to fill them out.
Identify disparities — and fix them
All sorts of businesses big and small struggle with equity. But if you’ve got women, people of color, or members of other marginalized groups who have worked just as hard as their white, male, cis-gender counter parts throughout the pandemic, their pay should be equal, too.
Pay disparities and other inequities are one thing that can quickly inspire someone to look for the door — not only for better pay, but for an employer that takes diversity and equity more seriously, too.
What you want to avoid is assuming that you don’t have equity problems when you likely do. Now is the time to go through your pay practices and parse them out based on gender, race, and other variables. Once you know where the disparities are, you can fix them. Remember, equity goes beyond just pay and benefits. It’s wise to make sure that you equally distribute developmental and promotional opportunities as well.
What you want to avoid is assuming that you don’t have equity problems when you likely do. Now is the time to go through your pay practices and parse them out based on gender, race, and other variables.
Focus on development opportunities
From the lowest ranks on up, almost everyone is looking to gain skills, get a promotion, or otherwise advance at work and in their career. For many companies, a lot of 2020 and the pandemic involved putting out fires, but now that a good chunk of that is behind us it’s time again to start thinking about the future.
Especially if you had employees who took on new roles and challenges (even more so if they found a new role that they really love), it’s important to check in to not only make sure they have everything they need to excel at their current role but to make sure they also have the developmental support and mentorship they need to get to the next level.
Putting someone in a dead-end position is practically a guarantee that they’re looking at job postings as soon as they get home, if not sooner.
Get serious about your mission, vision, and values
More and more people (especially Gen Z) not only want to work for a company whose mission and purpose they feel aligned with, but they require it. A 2018 Harvard Business Review report found that more than 9 out of 10 employees would be willing to trade a percentage of their lifetime earnings for greater meaning at work.
That means that now is as good a time as any to either put a mission and vision in place or revisit yours — especially if your work has changed as a result of the pandemic. People want to feel and know that what they spend a significant portion of their life doing has some greater meaning in the world.