How To Be A Good Employer

Being a good employer sounds incredibly broad and vague, though it’s actually far more simple than some might think. Exceptional employers go beyond just the basics; they demonstrate empathy and a commitment to the well-being of everyone on their team. With the recent “Great Resignation” that took place in the United States, being a good employer is no longer just ideal, it’s essential. In this blog, we dive into the traits and practices that can help you become a good employer so that you can retain top talent and create a community of satisfied, fulfilled employees.

Employee Retention and The Skills Gap

Now, more than ever, being a good employer matters. With the US skills gap and the state of the economy, holding on to valued talent is critical. With unfair or faulty practices in your organization, you can expect to experience high levels of turnover and an inability to fill essential roles. This, in turn, leads your company down a dangerous road. Being an excellent employer means that employees want to stick around. They’re more likely to respect the people above them and have intrinsic motivation to succeed as well. As a result, the organization can expect to increase its bottom line and enjoy a positive work culture.

Traits Of A Good Employer

First and foremost, it’s important to understand which traits are a tell-tale sign of an excellent employer.

Top-Tier Communication

One of the fundamental pillars of being a good employer is having great communication in all areas. Communication isn’t just about talking. It’s also about listening and understanding.

  1. Open-door policy: Make it known that employees can approach you with concerns or feedback at any given time. An open-door policy allows for increased levels of trust and shows that you value your team’s input and feelings.
  2. Give feedback regularly: Provide constructive but kind feedback and use performance reviews to help employees understand their strengths and areas for improvement. It’s all about how you deliver the feedback and less about what you actually say. Be gentle and considerate.
  3. Crystal clear expectations: Ensure that job roles, responsibilities, and goals are well-defined. This clarity can prevent confusion and frustration among your employees.

Symbiotic Relationships

Relationships between employee and employer should never feel like an invisible barrier that can’t be crossed. Employees are more likely to stick around if they feel that the relationship is mutually beneficial. Employers can create relationships like this by offering training and development opportunities that employees appreciate and value. In turn, this can cause an increase in loyalty and commitment. A good employer doesn’t just hire talent but also nurtures and develops it.

  1. Training and development: Offer opportunities for skill enhancement and career advancement. This not only benefits employees but also strengthens your workforce.
  2. Mentorship: Pair employees with experienced mentors or provide coaching to help them reach their full potential. This also gives them a built-in support system and increases the sense of camaraderie at work.

Work-Life Balance

Achieving the ever-evasive work-life balance is of the utmost importance for the mental health of team members. As an employer, you can actually play a rather large role in facilitating this.

  1. Flexible scheduling: It’s in your best interest to offer flexible work hours or remote work options to accommodate personal needs. This will help you stay competitive, as many employees are leaving their positions to enter more flexible industries, like freelancing.
  2. PTO: Make sure that employees have vacation days and holidays to recharge and take care of themselves. While a certain amount of this is required by law, go above and beyond and offer more than necessary.
  3. Periodic breaks: Allow unlimited short breaks during the workday to prevent burnout and increase productivity. Not allowing employees to do this can result in frustration and resentment.

Inclusivity and Diversity

A great employer recognizes the value of a diverse and inclusive workforce and does not make any attempts to mold their team into something they are inherently not. Diversity brings a variety of perspectives and ideas, which can lead to innovation and an all around better environment.

  1. Equal opportunities: Hiring and assignments should be based on merit and not biased by factors like gender or ethnicity. Employees will pick up on this quickly, if this is the case, and you could be facing a lawsuit.
  2. Diversity training: Provide diversity and inclusion training to create awareness and promote tolerance within your organization. This will help make all parties feel accepted.

Employee Mental and Physical Health

Without a healthy body and mind, employees are not able to be their most productive selves. You will likely witness a rise in sick time and a lack of energy in the workplace. Instead, make sure to take care of your employees by offering them benefits that impact their health.

  1. Healthcare and other benefits: Offer health insurance and wellness programs to support your employees’ physical health. This healthcare shouldn’t be bottom of the barrel, either.
  2. Mental health support: Provide access to resources, like counseling or therapy, and create a stigma-free environment where employees can seek help when needed without a fear of it being judged.
  3. Ergonomics: The physical workspace should be designed for comfort and safety so that employees aren’t injuring themselves or put in harm’s way.

Model and Lead by Example

As an employer, you are in control of setting the tone for your organization. Your actions and attitudes have a huge impact on your employees, whether that be positive or negative.

  1. Ethical behavior: Consistently demonstrate integrity and ethical decision-making in all aspects of your work so that employees respect and appreciate you.
  2. Work ethic: When you regularly show dedication and a strong work ethic, your team is likely to follow suit. Very few people are motivated by leaders that sit back and observe.
  3. Professionalism: Maintain professionalism in your interactions with employees and clients, regardless of the situation. The golden rule doesn’t just apply to children; it follows us throughout life.
  4. Transformational leadership: This type of leadership is highly effective when it comes to decreasing turnover. The primary practices involve high levels of morality, intellectual stimulation, and the creation of a psychologically safe space.

Show Appreciation and Offer Incentives

Appreciating your employees’ hard work and dedication goes a long way in building a healthy, positive work environment. Without it, resentment can build quickly and employees can be tempted to go elsewhere.

  1. Employee recognition: Highlight exceptional performance by selecting an employee each month. Even though this may seem trivial, you’d be surprised how motivating it can be.
  2. Bonuses, rewards, and incentives: Offer financial incentives or non-monetary rewards for achieving specific goals or milestones. If your organization can’t afford monetary offerings, you can consider flexible work opportunities or even supplies.
  3. Little gestures: A simple note of appreciation can make employees feel valued and motivated. This small effort goes a long way.

Let Your Employees Get Involved

Empower your employees by involving them in decision-making processes and giving them a say in their work. This way, they feel like a valued part of the organization and are more likely to be invested in its success.

  1. Staff meetings: Hold regular team meetings to discuss projects and ideas. Give employees the floor so that they feel heard.
  2. Empowerment: You can also delegate authority and responsibility to capable employees, allowing them to take ownership of their work. Higher levels of autonomy are associated with greater happiness.

Offer Flexibility

Adaptability is non-negotiable, especially with how the economy and job market are today. Be open to new ideas and ways of working, even if it seems daunting at first. A fixed mindset is likely to drive employees away. Instead, try out these strategies:

  1. Ongoing learning: Stay updated on industry trends and encourage your team to do the same. Offer them opportunities to do so as well.
  2. Be ready to pivot: Adapt when necessary and embrace change as an opportunity for growth rather than being afraid of it. Rigid work environments aren’t enjoyable for anyone.
  3. Allow for innovation: Create a culture in which employees are encouraged to suggest creative solutions to challenges that pop up. You should not only hear these solutions, but put them to the test.

Final Thoughts

Becoming a good employer is an ongoing process that requires a desire to constantly grow and evolve. You can’t ask your employees to give it their all if you aren’t reciprocating the same efforts. Keeping high-quality employees on your team requires you to be a high-quality employer. Cutting corners or making sacrifices at the expense of your team doesn’t pay off and will ultimately leave you high and dry. Putting in the time and effort to grow as a leader will put you on top and motivate your employees to stick around for the long haul.