‘Tending’ is Trending! How and Why to Focus on the Employee Experience in 2020

employee experience
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employee experience

Are you just managing your employees, or are you tending to their needs? Employees want to feel like more than cogs in a machine; they want to be able to bring their whole self to the job. Organizations that create opportunities for employees to thrive will be rewarded with increased productivity and decreased turnover. However, organizations that don’t tend to their employee experience will find their best people walking out the door. 

According to a recent article in Forbes, tending is “intentional relationship building that increases a sense of community and wellbeing.” Tending to your workforce increases engagement, improves employee productivity, and can even attract top talent to your organization. 

So how do you create a company culture that tends to employees and encourages them to thrive? These four methods are an excellent way to start tending to your team:

1. Focus on growth opportunities 

Providing opportunities for growth is perhaps the most important way to improve employee experience at your company. When top talent gets to grow in their career path, it keeps them from looking for those same opportunities elsewhere. According to a LinkedIn Workplace Learning Report, an impressive 94% of employees would stay at a company longer if it invested in their careers. 

Think about how significant that number is. Nearly all of your employees want growth opportunities within your organization. Stagnation is the perfect way to lose high performers, maybe even to your competition. For both company leaders and HR professionals, creating growth opportunities in the workplace should be at the top of your to-do list. 

Provide opportunities for professional development for your workers, whether this is shadowing other departments within the company, taking a training class, or even just posting internal jobs so everyone has a chance to apply. 

Show your people that opportunities exist within the company to advance — they don’t have to go job-hopping to another organization that will take their career aspirations seriously. With the quit rate in the U.S. at a 15-year high, now is the time to invest in growing your best people, not ignoring them. 

2. Offer actionable feedback and guidance 

It’s hard for your team to grow if they’re not receiving regular feedback, guidance on how they can improve, and ways they can take charge and make a difference. Schedule recurring meetings where you discuss goals and listen to what your people have to say. Ask them about their career goals and their journeys, and pay attention to what they say about your organization. 

To retain top talent, you’ll need to keep them engaged in the company. An excellent way for employers to do this is to make sure every employee knows how their efforts align with organizational strategy. 

Find out about their personal objectives and provide key action items that will benefit both the company’s goals and your employee’s career aspirations. This could be anything from working cross-functionally to prepare for a department move to completing key projects on a deadline to merit a promotion. 

If your employee knows how they can climb the corporate ladder, they’ll be much more likely to stick around and try. Tending to employees isn’t just about catering to their needs; it’s also about giving them tools to build their futures and take control of their employee experience. 

3. Provide smart benefits

A great benefits package is a smart way to show that you care about employee experience in the workplace. Excellent benefits can be the differentiator between a company that loses talent and one that attracts the best people. 

Flashy benefits like free lunches, company dry cleaning, and pool tables will never be as valuable as things like paying people what they’re worth, providing flexible work schedules, and good health benefits. Treating your employees like human beings instead of just a number in your payroll system will repay dividends in productive work and positive attitudes toward your company. 

Wellness programs shouldn’t only focus on physical health like gym memberships, but also on staying mentally healthy and avoiding burnout. Mindfulness programs have become popular in corporations because they give each employee the tools they need to manage stress. 

Beyond mindfulness, it’s also important employees know they have access to mental health services if and when they might need them. Breaking down the stigma around mental health is vital, especially in the workplace where stress can build and then bleed into everyday life. 

4. Improve employee work environments 

An employee’s physical work environment can take a toll on their productivity, health, and overall well-being. Companies that ignore the physical workplace do so at their peril. Even embracing simple fixes like natural light can make a big difference. In fact, one study found that 47% of employees say they feel tired or very tired at work due to the lack of natural light. 

Creating a bright and inviting office with spaces for both collaboration and concentration is a simple way to get the best out of every employee. It doesn’t seem like it would matter, but office design can have a considerable impact on how your best people feel when they walk in the door every morning. 

In order to tend to your employees and improve their experience at work, it’s essential to give them opportunities to develop and tend to their needs both inside and outside the office. If you do, you’ll win a loyal workforce and rapidly brighten the future of your company.

What are some ways you tend to your employees? Share in the comments!

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Val Matta
Val Matta
Val Matta is the co-owner and leader of business development at CareerShift, a comprehensive job hunting and career management solution for companies, outplacement firms, job seekers and university career centers. You can connect with her and the CareerShift team on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, LinkedIn.