Staff churn is a continuous concern for ambitious organisations, as the cost of replacing team members can be considerable. The impact is even greater if it’s a key player who jumps ship, leaving you with potential business disruption.
This is why staff loyalty is vital to your business health.
The emergence of the digital workplace provides companies with a wealth of opportunity to diversify – and even regularly change – the way their employee teams function. This includes the possibility of remote and flexible work patterns to cut operational costs and build agile project teams.
So what impact does the digital workplace have on staff loyalty, and can you use it to boost employee retention?
Have the issues become more complex?
There is strong evidence to suggest that digital transformation has added even more pressure to the battle of keeping staff, particularly as recruiting in technology-related jobs can be a challenge.
Right back in 2017, the Government produced a report on the Digital Skills Crisis. It said: “Although comparative nations are facing similar challenges, only urgent action from industry, schools and universities and from the Government can prevent this skills crisis from damaging our productivity and economic competitiveness.”
Has enough been done to turn this tide? Clearly not. A 2019 study by the Government said: “Employers indicate that about one-third of vacancies they find difficult to fill are, to some degree, attributable to a lack of appropriate digital skills amongst applicants.”
This all adds up to the need to invest in the digital competencies of your existing staff as much as possible, and to find new ways of hanging on to them!
The power of company culture
Much of the work to retain staff – especially remote workers – hinges on your digital culture. This also plays a part in attracting new talent in the face of the fierce competition to fill some pivotal vacancies.
The contemporary emphasis is on empowering employees properly and taking care of their needs and ambitions in a holistic way. This includes making sure staff have options for remote and flexible working.
It also requires investment in intranet software to encourage a caring, friendly culture, one that enables the highest possible standards of e-learning, communication, collaboration, and team building.
Are the systems, processes and hardware in your company up to the task of keeping all staff constantly in the loop, wherever they are working from?
Recognise, reward and retain!
Employee satisfaction doesn’t simply come from having the right work environment and tools though. Emotionally intelligent HR management is now one of the keys to boosting retention levels.
This requires employers to monitor and guard against what is possibly the most insidious element of digital workplaces – isolation of remote workers.
Communicating with them on a business front is not the same as making them feel ‘looked after’ by an employer who puts mental health high on the agenda.
Among the often quoted reasons for leaving a job are feeling unappreciated, bored, or ignored.
In the digital age when communication is so effortless and synchronised, there really is no excuse for these factors to drive your staff away.
Properly utilised intranet software makes it possible to recognise individual effort with ease. It also offers tools for line managers to reward and incentivise their teams frequently, such as gamification elements like staff badges.
Gamification tools like staff badges will help managers reward and retain their staff
It’s too easy to rely on this all happening by osmosis. Senior managers issue a series of mandates and announcements, including well-prepared data, that ‘should’ make the entire team feel proud and ambitious. Figures can make employees feel financially stable, but that’s not the same as feeling valued.
There is no substitute for purposeful and individual appreciation and motivation. Especially for remote workers already suffering from feeling like a cog in the machine.
Best practice in retention can be a balance
Can you over-communicate with staff, and get too hung up with hanging on to them?
Some of the work to reduce staff churn comes down to building respect and strong working relationships with line managers and colleagues. This largely rests on having the right personalities and skills in your team, and age-old interpersonal skills.
However, you can use technology to retain staff in a more assured manner.
This includes providing them with the right tools and support to empower them and make their job easier, and making sure they are completely engaged and interacting with the technology you invest in.