In our last blog post, we covered some key concepts regarding remote work and the flexibility employees are expecting now. We also discussed some of the basics of the reimbursement costs associated with remote and hybrid work environments. But is remote work the only way to improve employee well-being, loyalty, and retention? What if your business doesn’t have the ability to offer remote work options? What else can you do to retain your workforce during this tight labor market?

First, let’s take a moment to discuss what retention is and what it is not. When we talk about employee retention, we are talking about the employer’s ability to keep its long-term employees from seeking employment elsewhere. The focus of retention isn’t just to keep employees employed—that would be an overly simplistic and shortsighted strategy. The deeper elements of retention that need to be evaluated as part of a company’s overall game plan include job satisfaction, employee engagement, productivity, ongoing learning, and development, as well as many other key factors. Think of it as a carefully crafted recipe. Each ingredient is important to the desired outcome of the prepared meal.

Many times, employers will take the short-cut approach of increasing pay in order to retain good employees without putting the effort into understanding the deeper reasons why a long-term, committed employee may want to leave an organization. The old adage that employees leave bosses and not organizations continue to be true. Understanding if there have been good lines of communication, clear goals and objectives, opportunities to grow and learn new skills, rewards and recognition that are appropriate for the employee and the work being performed, and healthy work-life balance is important to help avert a valuable employee from going to where the grass looks greener.

We all reach a point where we get tired of hearing about work-life balance because it becomes a buzzword that can lose its meaning. Instead, consider the amount of time and effort an employee sacrifices away from their personal life to contribute to the workplace. Is it in balance such that your employees can live a sustainable life that includes feeling good about being at work? Maybe we need a new name for work-life balance such as work-life synergy.

One way to create more synergy is to encourage employees to follow their passions at work. What are the work functions employees are excited about? Can they perform more of those types of tasks? When do your employees feel like they are contributing the most and are in a flow state? Answers to these questions can help develop work tasks and flows that keep employees engaged. But what happens when they still need a break?

Many employers have been offering more time away from work to create better balance or synergy. When you can’t offer remote work and you are already compensating employees appropriately for the job, and the benefits mix you have is sound, additional time off is a simple and easy way to reward employees and send the message that you want them to have time away to recharge and that their well-being matters to you. During the upcoming 4th of July holiday, many employers plan to offer an additional day off. Employers can consider coinciding holidays with school calendars to allow for employees with school-aged children to have time off when their kids are out of school.

While remote work in some ways has become an expectation for some employees, it is not the only way to attract and retain good employees. A solid retention strategy that includes a thoughtful plan for time away from work is part of creating a workplace that keeps employees satisfied with the work part of their life. The Personnel Perspective is your partner in developing a retention strategy with sound policies and practices. We are a phone call away.

The Personnel Perspective is a full-service HR management consulting firm specializing in human resources outsourcing, individual and group leadership development and training, and recruiting. The firm’s core belief is that a company achieves organizational excellence through its people, and we want to help you retain them. Contact us to learn more: (707) 801-0140.