In today’s world there are a lot of jobs with highly transferable skills. In many organizations people in these kinds of positions make up a large bulk of the workforce and there is an added complication that many of these jobs are not intrinsically interesting or motivating to many people.
How do we keep employees in these positions when they can easily move between employers and even between industries? How do we guard against attrition when the company across the street dangles something shiny? Our research shows that if employees feel that they’re working in a dream company, they are 11 times more likely to stay in their organization for at least a year—even if they are not in what they consider to be a “dream job.”
What’s The Secret to Being a Dream Company?
If we could provide a recipe for how get employees to feel dreamy about every company on the planet, we would. What a great world it would be! But like the rest of reality, it’s a bit more complicated. One size doesn’t fit all. For example, promoting work-life balance takes on different challenges depending on who you are. A 24-hour workforce is different from a professional-services firm that has regular day hours. A healthcare employer is different from high-tech.
Similarly, demonstrating that you care about employees’ well-being looks different depending on the specific challenges your employees face. Is the work highly physical? Does the job lend itself to long hours? Are employees highly sedentary? Are they under stress from interacting with customers?
What Do Dream Companies Have in Common?
Even within a single workforce there are variances, with many different kinds of people (life stages, etc.) and positions (work requirements) that need to be understood.
Among Dream Companies, there are a few constants, though.
- Go beyond core benefits such as health insurance and 401K
- Offer multiple benefits that enhance well-being including things like tuition reimbursement, elder care and child care (people who identified themselves as working for a Dream Company had an average nine such benefits)
- Successfully communicate and encourage non-core benefits, as evidenced by employee usage.
That last element is important. That people actually make use of their benefits doesn’t just indicate effective benefits communication, but also a culture that encourages benefits use. So vacation, for example, isn’t worth much if your unwritten rule is you shouldn’t take vacation.
Recruitment and Retention: The Rewards of Living the Dream
So where do you start? You have to know how to make choices about how to spend your benefits budget. The good news is that the very best strategy for your workforce and its many subsets is discoverable. However, some effort is required. You probably already do an annual employee satisfaction or engagement survey.
I recommend replacing that survey with something more holistic. It should probably still include many of the items you’re measuring now, but it needs to extend beyond questions which basically evaluate “how are we doing as your employer” and include “how are you doing as whole person?” Because while engagement scores are nice and all, if we don’t have a broader understanding of the dynamics in people’s work and lives, we can’t figure out the impediments to engagement, nor the drivers.
And it’s not a one-time deal. Many of our clients are already dream companies looking to become even dreamier.
It requires effort. But when it comes to the strategic goals you’re after (such as that retention mentioned above) we’ve seen that the returns are well worth the energy.
To learn more about how Horizons Workforce Consulting helps employers lead holistic surveys with our Well-Being Indicator, visit us here.