Canada’s inflation rate rose to 6.8% in April and is expected to go up in the months ahead. High inflation in a market hit by labour shortage only makes recruiting and retaining skilled workers tougher for small business owners.
A recent survey found that the current labour shortage was leading employers to hire employees with much less experience, and in some cases even without the required hard skills. It becomes crucial then that employers implement cost-effective and innovative ways to improve employee experience. This would help you retain existing employees and make your workplace attractive for talented applicants.
What is employee experience?
Employee experience is the relationship a business builds with its employees. Factors contributing to a positive employee experience include a healthy work culture, positive engagement, recognition, opportunities for growth, a sense of belonging, work-life balance, competitive compensation, benefits and perks.
How do I improve employee experience and retention?
Strategies to improve employee retention do not always have to be costly. Of course, there’s no substitute for good compensation, especially in a time of high inflation and rising food and gas prices. But there are other perks and benefits you could offer that may make your staff think twice before switching jobs simply for more money.
Offer competitive salary and benefits
A good compensation package makes employees feel appreciated and motivated. The top reason people change jobs is for better pay. So, make sure you are not under-paying your staff. Offer salary and benefits at par with industry standards. In the long term, it will be cheaper to offer a competitive pay package to retain talent than to keep recruiting and training new staff due to a high employee turnover.
Allow for remote/hybrid/flexible work
If the nature of your business allows it, offer your staff the option of remote or flexible work. In the past two-and-a-half years, people’s tolerance for long, crowded work commutes has declined. Remote work has also proved beneficial for staff with childcare or caregiving duties.
Remote or hybrid work or flexibility around work hours is now a perk most job seekers look for while changing jobs. According to the 2021 Hays Salary report, the option to work from home was cited as one of the “most desired benefits” by the employees surveyed.
Offering a hybrid or remote office also benefits employers. By doing so, you can recruit talented individuals from across the country and not just your province. You also save money on rent, and overhead expenses that would come with a physical office running at full capacity.
Remote or hybrid work is also economical for your staff as they save time and money that would be spent commuting or eating out when working from the office. It’s a perk that’ll help your staff manage their finances better in a time of high inflation. When they work remotely, your employees can also move to cities with lower costs of living.
Create a healthy work environment
While salary does matters, the working environment is also a major reason why people leave or stay with a company. A workplace where employees are treated fairly and with respect will attract workers who enjoy their work and value their employer. Here are some ways to create a positive working atmosphere:
Encourage a work-life balance
Be realistic about the workload and deadlines that you set for your staff. They should not be neglecting their health or personal life due to work. Overworked employees are at a greater risk of burning out, being stressed and being less productive. They are also more likely to view their work and workplace negatively.
Train managers on soft skills
People don’t quit jobs, they quit bosses. The often-quoted saying is true. Bad supervisors can create low morale and demotivate the best of workers. At times it is not even a temperament issue but rather one of not having acquired the necessary people management skills. You will benefit by training your managers in crisis management, stress and conflict management, and on how to be effective leaders.
Don’t indulge in favouritism
Create a merit-based reward system and set the same rules for everyone. While it is natural that you may get along better with some people than others, it is unprofessional to play favourites at work. Nothing creates more bitterness and resentment in a team than when some workers get preferential treatment.
Conduct annual performance reviews
While it is good to check-in with your staff on a regular basis, annual performance reviews are very important. Use the annual appraisals to get feedback from your staff, discuss their goals and future with the company. This may help you offer them opportunities for growth and training in line with their goals. Employees are more likely to stay with a company that is invested in their career.
Provide opportunities for growth
Opportunities for career advancement, or the lack of it, is also a reason why employees may look to switch jobs or feel demotivated. Through workshops, trainings or flexible work hours (to make part-time studies possible), you can help your staff improve and update their skills.
You could also mentor your employees to take on new roles within the company and promote from within when looking to fill vacancies.
Recognize and reward good work
Make your employees feel appreciated by acknowledging their hard work. Mentor them through constructive feedback and give them ownership of their projects. Organizing work socials and holding contests around holidays with rewards, such as gift cards, is another way to keep employees motivated at work.
Get professional HR support for your small business
Irrespective of whether you manage a staff of five or 50, professional HR support will bring structure to your workplace and make employee management easier.
You could either hire an internal HR team for this purpose or get a lawyer to draft your contracts and policies. But both these options are going to be expensive.
When you outsource your HR management to an advisor like Peninsula, our experts take care of all your HR issues and documentation. We have a team of HR consultants available 24/7 to answer all your queries.
We will help you streamline your processes, update policies and ensure you are compliant with labour laws and protected from litigation.
Our low-cost membership plan makes our services affordable for businesses of any size. You can access Peninsula’s support at a fraction of the cost of hiring an internal HR team or employment lawyer.
Do you need help with HR management?
For advice on HR and health and safety policies, call a Peninsula expert today at 1 (833) 247-3652.