It seems like a day doesn’t go by without us getting a reminder of how difficult it is to hire right now.
The other day, in fact, I caught this report from Reuters, letting us know that U.S. job openings are at a record high, and that we’re in the midst of one of the biggest skills mismatches in history. This is great news if you’re in the business of helping companies post jobs online.
If you work in HR, this news might offer the comfort of knowing that you’re not alone in having hiring troubles.
So, what can you do during these times?
One of the best ways to combat unfilled jobs is to keep them from needing to be filled, by improving retention. Easily said, but how to do it?
Well, research has consistently shown that companies with better engagement have much better retention – with engaged employees 87 percent more likely to be retained.
Ok, so now I’ve just presented you with another puzzle. What can you do to improve engagement and boost employee retention? The reason I suggest this approach is that it turns out some of the best ways to improve engagement are easy and don’t cost a thing. They include recognizing employee achievements, giving employees a sense of autonomy, making them feel part of something bigger and giving them a sense of purpose.
To help you with engagement, we gathered five examples of companies that have easily repeatable methods for improving engagement, that are either free or cost-effective.
- Pixar – This company is known for a creative culture that produces hit after hit. Co-founder Ed Catmull notes that they listen to any employee’s ideas about anything. Giving everyone in your company a voice allows them a sense of autonomy and the feeling they’re part of something bigger – great for improving engagement.
- BBraun – Free books! Perks aren’t generally thought to help engagement, but it depends on how you use them. This company uses them to deepen employee relationships, via a company sponsored book club. BBraun pays for all the books, employees get to choose them.
- Webmart – This UK-based printing company gives employees 1 day and £250 (about $320) to donate to the charity of their choice. Part of engagement is creating a sense of purpose for employees – and this seems like a great way to do it.
- Zappos – It’s hard not to mention Zappos when it comes to employee engagement, and hard to pick just one thing they do. One cool thing is their coworker bonus program, where each month peers decide who’s gone above and beyond and give them a cash reward. At $50, it’s not about the money, it’s about peer recognition, one of the biggest drivers of engagement.
- Betterteam – Speaking of peer recognition, it took me a while to see that we use a tool at Betterteam that makes this easy – Basecamp. One little feature this project management app offers is the “Applause” button. Click it, and it notifies your co-worker that you’ve applauded their update. Clicking also gives the person applauding a little reward by making the sound of a coin being collected on the original Super Mario Bros. At first I thought this was just cute, but I realize now that it makes it easy to give recognition.
I think any company could find one example here they can easily enact at their company. Take the Zappos example – it’s easy to set up and at a total cost of $50 per month it’s a heck of alot cheaper than the cost of losing and replacing employees.
Try just one of these techniques, and hopefully you’ll save yourself a bit of stress during these tough hiring times. Also, consider giving Betterteam a try! Not only will we get your job posted to 100+ job boards, but we’ll help you create a job ad that reaches more candidates, and make it really easy to track the candidates we help you find.
Download the eBook and get practical ideas on designing employee engagement activities for your team!
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