A motivated team goes a long way in the workplace, especially when it comes to productivity and retention.

Despite a changing economy, many professionals report looking for a new job due to feeling unmotivated, burnt out, not being compensated enough or lack of appreciation by upper management. Monster found that a whopping 96% of workers are actively looking or are open to new positions.

With many workers looking for new positions, organizations are looking for ways to motivate and retain their employees. Read this article for tips to motivate your employees, increase retention and improve business efforts.

Communicate Effectively

The first thing that needs to be established when figuring out how to motivate and retain employees is to ensure that there is an effective and professional way of communicating with them.

Communication is a simple concept that goes a long way when it comes to employee satisfaction. Zippia found that teams that have an effective communication strategy see up to a 25% increase in overall productivity. There is also ample opportunity for improvement by employers, as the study also found that only 7% of US workers view the communication efforts at their organization as accurate, open and timely.

Effective communication is not only the way managers say things to their employees, but also the way they write messages, talk with them on the phone, as well as their body language and facial expressions.

A way to improve communication is to do an internal observation of the current communication practices. Ask questions like:

After asking these questions, organizations can analyze the results and then create a game plan on how to tackle any problems or roadblocks that come up.

Another way of learning how to effectively communicate with team members is to ask them directly about their current thoughts on the way communication is being handled. This can be done through a one-on-one meeting or even anonymous surveys to get accurate results.

Approaching these communication problems head-on can give organizations the solutions to improve this problem and create a better working environment for their employees.

Acknowledge Accomplishments

Having a motivated team not only helps with retention but it can also impact the overall business. Gallup discovered that highly engaged employees, on average, bring 18% more sales to the organization. A great way to keep employees engaged and motivated is to recognize and award accomplishments.

Simply acknowledging accomplishments can go a long way for both the employee and manager especially as 44% of employees have reported leaving their job for not being adequately acknowledged for their achievements.

This type of recognition can be as simple as pulling an employee to the side and telling them that they are doing a great job with their work or delivering them a handwritten note about their recent achievements.

If a manager is looking for a more extravagant way to showcase successes, consider having an organization- or team-wide award program and/or ceremony by giving out physical signs of achievements to employees. This can include giving trophies, certificates or even monetary prizes.

There are many other ways to acknowledge employee achievements which include:

Offering these types of programs and incentives can greatly improve an employee’s morale and encourage them to keep up the great work that they are providing.

Offer Career Development

Career development is not only important to helping improve the skills of an employee, but  can also impact their retention at an organization. Harvard Business Review found that 94% of employees would stay at a company longer if they were offered career development courses and programs.

One way to offer career development to employees is to encourage creative ways to solve problems. For example, if there is a system in place that has been used for over 20 years at the organization, ask employees to brainstorm on ways to improve the processes within the system. This will not only encourage the transformation of old systems but will also encourage creative thinking that may unlock new skills and passions.

If it is possible within the company budget, also consider sending employees to conferences or enrolling them in webinars that will improve their line of work. There are thousands of conferences and webinars held every year that focus on very niche subjects of professionalism/skills. There is almost certainly an event that will benefit an employee’s professional development and allow them to meet others that share the same field of work as them.  

More ways to provide career development to employees include:

Offering these types of problems will allow employees to expand their skills and improve their happiness with the organization.

Participate in Team-Building Exercises

Many employees want to work for an organization where they are putting in meaningful work and feel like they are part of a community. Gusto found that over 80% of employees feel that a sense of community is important to them in a job. An excellent way to build community within an organization is to offer and encourage team-building exercises.

A great example of an effective team-building activity is volunteering in the local community. This will not only make employees feel more connected with one another but will also be helping the greater good.

If a manager oversees a fully remote team, there are still ways to build teamwork even in a virtual setting. A great way to bring together a virtual team, is to create virtual meetings dedicated to team-building. A great example of this is to host a virtual game show. This can be done by a manager or even a 3rd party company that specializes in these types of virtual events. This will encourage competition, teamwork and fun to break up a workday.

Here are some other team-building exercises that managers can consider:

Consider these activities to build morale and bring coworkers closer to one another.

Making these changes can go a long way in an organization that may be struggling with employee retention and motivation.

Looking for a job board that can help you bring in motivated talent to your team? Check out STEMHUNTER, a STEM-focused job board.

February is Black History Month, and we are providing tips and advice for employers wanting to support black employees, not only during the month of February, but all year long.

A survey from Gallup found that one in four black workers report feeling discriminated at work. In the same report, Gallup also discovered that black workers on average make 24% less annually compared to their white peers. This not only emotionally impacts black workers, but also can physically affect them and their families when their needs are not being properly met.

Read below to learn more about what workplace leaders can do to end discrimination and uplift black voices.

Implement Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Practices

According to Glassdoor, 69% of executives cite diversity and inclusion as an important issue to tackle in the workplace. But how does one go about fixing that issue? By implementing diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) practices and strategies.

According to McKinsey, DE&I is defined as, “closely linked values held by many organizations that are working to be supportive of different groups of individuals, including people of different races, ethnicities, religions, abilities, genders, and sexual orientations.”

The first thing employers can do to start these practices, if they are not already present, is to initiate a demographic survey of the organization. This is a way to highlight any discrepancies in mindful hiring and employee retainment. Here are some of the demographics to survey for:

After compiling this data, take a broad look at it and ask questions about the hiring and promotion process at the organization. Some of the questions to ask include:

Asking these types of questions may uncover white bias in an organization and show that hiring strategies may need to be reassessed and changed with DE&I practices in mind. Keeping this information in mind when conducting screening and hiring of new candidates, can create a more diverse and inclusive workplace and foster a more welcoming space for all employees.

For more information on creating a DE&I centered workplace, check out this article from the Time’s Up Foundation on building an anti-racist workplace.

Create Employee Resource Groups

A great way to help black employees feel more welcomed and appreciated in the organization is to offer employee resource groups (ERG) to the organization. ERGs have become increasingly popular at organizations, especially with world events shaping the way that many people think. SHRM found that about 90% of Fortune 500 companies are supporting and investing in ERGs in the workplace.

An ERG is a voluntary internal employee group that members all share the same characteristics or goals, building inclusivity and community. These groups allow the employees to speak to, and spend time with, other peers that are like them.

For example, if there is only one black worker on a team of all white people, there is a high chance that they may feel isolated due to their different experiences and hardships. Having an ERG with other people of color gives the opportunity to talk about this type of isolation and find community at their organization.

Some of the activities that an ERG member can participate in include:

ERGs can create a great sense of community for workers that may feel marginalized due to their skin color, interests or background.

Educate All Employees

Every worker has different backgrounds and experiences which can cause workplace discrimination both directly and indirectly. Direct discrimination is when a group of people are treated differently due to their skin color and/or background directly while indirect discrimination, which is the act of discriminating against a group of people without even knowing, can be common in organizations that are led and mostly staffed by white people. 

A way to combat this problem is to provide direct education to employees. This can help them understand the problems others face due to their skin color, what they can do to minimize bias, how they can support colleagues and much more.

Organizations can provide specific training on the inequalities of people of color not only within the workplace, but in all of society. Here are some examples of training and programming that organizations can provide to employees:

Offering these types of trainings can help change the workplace for the better in regard to creating a supportive and understanding culture for black employees.

Avoid Performative Behavior

It is easy to look at hiring practices, see that there is a diversity problem and “promise” to make changes. However, it is the actual act of making the change that makes a difference in an organization.

The act of saying that changes will be made but are never executed is also known as performative activism. Performative activism is defined as, “activism done to increase one’s social capitol rather than because of one’s devotion to a cause” according to Boston Medical Center.

Conducting an internal audit of demographics and diversity should not be done just once. Consider having an audit every six months or on a yearly basis. If an organization is basing their hiring strategies on old data, it is not doing the employees of color any justice which can directly and negatively impact employee happiness and retention.

Also, consider continuing to support and lift ERGs at the company. Showing solidarity and support to these groups can make employees feel much more welcomed and included by having a safe space to talk about their goals and problems. For example, when a new employee is starting or even interviewing, mention the ERGs that are available to all employees and provide them information on how to join.

Lastly, continue educating all employees on racial discrimination and what can be done to help coworkers of color. Keep up with current headlines and societal events, as addressing and changing practices due to current events is crucial in avoiding performative activism.

Consider these practices and implementing them within your organization to better the environment for black workers and let their voices be heard.

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