A healthy work culture leads to a successful employee retention, which drives the business to achieve its goals without any negative impact on productivity and avoiding the high costs of employee turnover. In fact, toxic culture is the top reason why employees resign. Multiple research studies about the impact of a toxic work environment to employee engagement and business growth have proven that bad culture and unethical practices in the workplace leads to financial loss and absenteeism.
The world of work is at a cultural tipping point where employees are seeking and demanding better employment opportunities that also prioritise their physical and mental well-being aside from the wages, benefits and compensation. Sustainable employment practices reduce work intensity that is associated with increased stress and fatigue, and decreased job satisfaction according to a European study on work effort, career and employee well-being.
What is sustainable employment?
NEN, a Dutch standardisation institute, defines sustainable employment as “the ability of the employee to provide added value for an organisation now and in the future, while also experiencing added value themselves.” In other words, engaging in work practices that provides the employees with the necessary tools for development and protection that will be valuable for the growth of the company.
How can companies foster sustainable employment? Here are several facts and practices you need to know to create a healthy workplace for your company’s future success:
Build a workplace culture that genuinely reflects the company’s mission and vision
Measure how your company’s mission and vision connects with employees. What does it mean to them? Does the business strategy reflect the overall mission? Business data and statistics are there but how can employees appreciate the impact of their contribution? Find a way to communicate organically and make it relevant to all the teams.
Moreover, clearly define the company values that you want the employees to embody or practice in their decision-making. Encourage employees to visualise how their daily work affects the larger business.
Discuss lateral career opportunities with present employees
Employees are less engaged when a company fails to recognize and reward their performance. Did you know that lateral career opportunities were revealed to be 2.5 times more predictive of retention compared to compensation? Employees are always interested in trying something new or a change of pace. A lateral career opportunity offers a fresh challenge and new experiences in the same company where they are already familiar and comfortable.
Leaders should take active roles in connecting with employees
Effective leadership, which means a manager or superior who both leads and follows, inspires employees to do better with their jobs. Leaders should be team members themselves offering constructive and positive feedback. This is a chance for them to get to know the employees and create professional opportunities that will empower them. In addition, stop unknowingly creating tension such as being constantly critical of their process and behaviour. Instead, encourage employees to be themselves and identify what makes their process effective or how they can improve it. Leaders may be tapping their employees’ most positive capabilities that may be beneficial to the business.
According to a Mckinsey research, the qualities of an effective leadership involves:
- providing growth opportunities
- inspiring and motivating employees
- being open and trusting
- offering financial incentives
- assessing and managing risks
Develop an effective ethics training program for employees and management
Ethics training in the workplace is necessary for employees to understand the values that the company personifies. This is to ensure that the company fosters a safe working environment that doesn’t tolerate negative behaviours and unethical work practices. According to one study, 50% of the largest bankruptcies in the corporate world are caused by unethical practices.
Here are a few tips in creating an effective ethics program:
- Write down a code of conduct that everyone in the company should follow.
- Identify what kind of company-related ethics training should be involved. Use relatable and current content and scenarios.
- Training employees should be cost-effective. Video conferencing is an effective place to conduct such activity instead of flying elsewhere and paying for food, lodging, auditorium, etc.
- Reinforce training through weekly or monthly assessments that involve quizzes, group activities, role playing and other blended-learning approaches to instil long-term memory on what they’ve learned.
Company-sponsored social events foster employee engagement
Company-sponsored social events are the best place to give out recognition and rewards to employees, especially top performers. Social events are not limited to company anniversaries and holiday parties. It can be through a potluck lunch, happy hours, team buildings or through short but fun departmental trivia events that will lift employee spirits. Such activities increase employee engagement and boost their morale.
CXC is a global HR outsourcing organisation with 30 years of experience in workforce management. Our innovative and cost-effective solutions help companies gain a competitive advantage by improving efficiency while reducing risks.