The talent marketplace is still hot, hot, hot. Most of the people I place are dissatisfied in some key area of their work life. Often, it’s about an inclusive culture, or lack thereof. Employees want to see companies walking the walk when it comes to Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI). Let’s talk about just one area – to retain employees, focus on inclusion.
Inclusion is a hot button word and has lots of definitions out there. Here is one simple definition from the Oxford dictionary:
“The practice or policy of providing equal access to opportunities and resources for people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalized, such as those who have physical or intellectual disabilities and members of other minority groups.”
What are some practical ways a manager can apply this in everyday work life?
Manager Strategies That Focus on Inclusion to Drive Retention
Give equal one on one training, mentoring, and coaching opportunities to each team member.
Yes, this will take more of your time. As a leader, it’s part of your job to develop your people, so don’t feel as if this is “extra” work. Schedule regular one on one meetings with each team member to talk about THEM. What they want out of their careers, their roles, and the company.
Create a documented career plan for every single member of the team
This should be a living document that you create and maintain in collaboration with the employee. You should both have access to it and discuss it each time you meet for one-on-one career talks. This way, each person has the same chance to reach his or her goals and potential.
Ensure that every team member has access to the appropriate resources.
These could be position specific or specific to your team’s function within the company. We’re talking about websites, books, systems, tech tools, manuals, key people in the organization, and any other resources, that could help an individual improve their performance and career prospects.
Employees should have equal access to career development resources.
Does each team member have the same access to learning and development tools and opportunities? For instance, one of my clients offers a $1,000 annual stipend to each employee to spend as they wish on continuing education. This ensures that every single employee has the same opportunity to improve their skills in whatever way they like or is most useful to their role and career.
Hold formal meetings and discussions beyond performance reviews to measure performance and progress towards individual and team goals.
These discussions can take place in mentoring meetings in tandem with conversations about longer-term career plans. Make sure to get specific with your employee. Ask lots of questions. “Are you looking to advance to leadership and if so, what does that look like in your mind?” “Are there other areas within the department or the company where you would like to gain more experience?” “What new skills would you like to learn over the next couple of years?” Then set some goals and objectives around these big picture aspirations to ensure there is a plan to get there.
Make sure compensation plans are equitable.
Ensure that differences in pay for the same role or level are explained by differences in experience or skill level, job mastery, or performance. For example, pay very close attention to the pay packages offered to new employees hired at the same level as your existing team, and push through salary increases for anyone who’s pay is lagging behind the market and behind newly hired people at the same experience and talent level. Don’t think your existing people won’t find out what the market is paying. Reward their loyalty by taking care of them.
As an example, I worked with a client who discovered through our process that his entire team was underpaid vs. the market. He realized how that might make them feel, and how vulnerable that left him to turnover. In order to drive retention AND to make great hires at market rates, he went to bat for his team and raised the salary band for the entire group. This made sure that everyone got marked to market and no one was left behind. Now that’s inclusion!
Make new employees feel included.
New employees are often the most vulnerable and may face a lack of inclusion if a concerted effort is not made to welcome them into the fold. The first 45 to 90 days is a high-risk time period for early turnover. According to Workable, 20% of employees leave within the first 45 days. But this is preventable! Every onboarding plan should have inclusive strategies built into it. The focus should be on helping the new employee get trained on their role, on company systems and policies, helping them build relationships with their direct manager, team members, and colleagues from other departments, showing them all the aforementioned resources at their disposal, making it easy and comfortable for them to ask questions. The list could go on. Remember, how it starts is how it goes, so pay very close attention to how you onboard employees.
These are just a few ideas. The key is, shift focus to retention, and to more effectively retain employees, focus on inclusion to start with, since it is one of the easier areas in which to make immediate changes.
Too many leaders and companies leave it to chance. Or they take a very casual approach to inclusion. Which usually means there is NO approach whatsoever. Most candidates I speak with who are looking to leave their companies indicate that no one has ever done any of the things mentioned in this article. Their managers have left them to their own devices. And will end up with a revolving door of employees instead of a long-term retained workforce. Don’t let that be you!
Need more retention ideas? Book a call below or let’s connect on LinkedIn!