Want to be a top employer? 3 ways businesses can lift employee satisfaction and retention

- May 2, 2022 5 MIN READ

Finding – and keeping! – amazing staff that help your business thrive is a huge challenge for businesses, particularly in light of recent skills and staff shortages. Jason Toshack, Vice President and GM ANZ, Oracle NetSuite, shares three ways business leaders can create a compelling workplace to attract and retain the best talent.

The way we work has changed in a way no one saw coming, which in turn has significantly shifted the dynamics of the talent marketplace.

People want to work for employers that prioritise their wellbeing, so businesses must now not only continue to compete on traditional benefits, but also offer a positive and supportive culture.

Business leaders have also had time to reflect, and considered what they can do to create a better working environment for their employees. According to a Frost & Sullivan report on the state of entrepreneurship in Australia, 33 per cent of those who achieved success cited having great employees as one of the top reasons.

If only it were as simple as hiring great employees, giving them the tools they need, and then sitting back to relax!

Three ways to keep employees satisfied and retain top talent

As leaders, we need to give our employees the same time and dedication that we would expect from them in return. We need to create the right environment to help our teams be successful both as individuals and as a group.

Here are three actions business leaders can take to retain talent:

team with all hands in teamwork

1. Have a common goal

The International Institute of Directors and Managers states that a good leader is someone who is successful in getting people to follow them to achieve a common goal.

Anecdotally speaking, teams that are aligned on the same vision tend to focus on the collaborative achievement, rather than the individual benefit. The comparison can be drawn between sports and business – teams that work together often beat more talented teams who play as individuals.

As humans – whether in our professional or personal lives – we naturally want to be surrounded by people with the same mindset and values, as this is what keeps us motivated. In today’s workplace, business leaders should clearly articulate the organisation’s goal and work to get the buy-in from all team members. This needs to be endorsed, not just as a one-off but continually, to encourage collaboration, productivity and positivity across the team.

This is even more important in today’s flexible and hybrid work setting, whereby working towards a common goal can be the most critical aspect to building a successful team culture and ensuring that, wherever and whenever people are working, they understand the business vision.

woman working on laptop at home with headphones

2. Give them the right tools for the job

Over the past two years, we have come to terms with the reality that for many people, the future will involve some type of remote work. As we move away from the traditional office setting, we have had to adopt new business processes and implement alternative technologies, infrastructure and business tools to keep our employees engaged and retained.

Video conferencing and team chat solutions are now the norm, and many businesses had to make the leap to cloud platforms quite suddenly. But while digital communication is fundamental to making hybrid work successful, your business tools should be able to function remotely as effectively as possible. This includes everything from secure cloud-based storage to business management tools and applications.

Prioritising digital tools is crucial to keep processes running smoothly and increase productivity. In fact, the Frost & Sullivan study found that over half of Aussie entrepreneurs regard their core business software as crucial to the success of their business.

Of course, the right business software can bring advantages beyond simply remote working capabilities. It can also provide access to the data your business needs most – whether financial, sales or inventory – and analyse it in real time. This helps empower teams to make better decisions and supports them when working more autonomously.

Over the past few years, we’ve also seen advances in the capabilities of these digital tools. Businesses looking to grow faster and retain critical talent should leverage business software and automation to help handle repetitive or mundane tasks, and keep employees engaged, productive and focused on more strategic objectives.

Supportive boss with hand on employee's shoulder

3. Have open conversations to create closer connections

Lastly, and I could say most importantly, keep close to your team.

Hybrid or remote working has brought its own array of challenges, whether it’s setting up a home office in your living room or regular daily distractions. However, the biggest adjustment for business leaders has been the lack of informal, in-person communication – which can make it difficult to create a motivating team culture.

The chats around the water-cooler or the Monday morning run-down of your weekend are still an important part of building a compelling workplace culture. Leaders also need to be open about work-life balance and mental health as this is crucial in creating a positive work environment.

More than ever, offering a flexible working environment is imperative for employee satisfaction – and in turn, retention – but how do we continue to connect, learn and build rapport with each other?

I find that not having every virtual meeting be work-related really helps boost morale. It’s like having an ‘in-person’ catch up, but instead schedule a meeting that essentially recreates the morning chats in the kitchen. You could also put time in your team’s calendar for a brainstorming session which opens the door to more learning, asking questions and bouncing ideas off one another.

One-on-one check-ins are also imperative to ensure that your employee’s wellbeing is in check, to hopefully help minimise the risk of them burning out, or looking elsewhere for a more caring work environment.

With ways of work ever-evolving, and many industries facing a skills shortage, it can be a challenging time for business leaders to lift employee satisfaction and retention. To ensure staff are here for not just a good time but a long time, we need to continue to build the relationships with our employees, as we would if we were in the office.

To do this, it ultimately comes down to striving towards a common goal, ensuring your team has all the right tools to do their job, and keeping up the conversations – no matter where you are.

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