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Building a Better Work Culture

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For employers trying to attract talent in one of the toughest labor markets in recent history, the shift in what employees want has not gone unnoticed. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting 280,000 job openings in the finance and insurance sector in September 2022. Agencies and brokers alike have witnessed the struggle to attract and retain top talent firsthand. Unfortunately, that struggle is expected to continue through 2022.

Therefore, it’s up to your organization to find ways to become more attractive to job seekers. Yet how should you go about it? Simple – by paying attention to what employees want. Ironically, the answer isn’t more pay. It’s more work-life balance.

The Employee Wishlist

A recent Unum survey found that the top three job criteria for employees was generous paid time off, flexible and remote work options, and paid family leave. They also want to feel connected to the organizations they work for – a MetLife study revealed another list of employee must-haves: purposeful work, career training and development, wellness programs, and a supportive work culture.

That last one is where many organizations tend to stumble. Understanding the health of your work culture is more than feeling that everything is in order. It takes a deep look into your operations, an alignment with your organization’s goals, and the level of support you offer to your workforce. Are employees motivated? Do they feel supported? Do managers make time to check in with employees? Are company values espoused by everyone in the organization?

Delivering a better work culture is not difficult. It requires a shift in managing employees. We suggest starting with these areas:

Communication

Managers should be talking with employees daily. One-on-one conversations can be as simple as a quick check in to see what the employee is working on or more in-depth depending on the employee’s needs or concerns. Your organization should schedule weekly team meeting that are concise and to the point. Also, meet with employees monthly to go over progress and ensure employees have the resources needed to resolve any issues.

Flexible work and schedules

Flexible flexible work – remote/hybrid schedules and flexible hours worked – gives your employees the ability to better manage their time and improve their productivity. John’s best hours for productivity, for example, could be early mornings or late evenings. Removing the requirement to be present from 9-to-5 means John is able to give you his best work when he’s most focused. Measure productivity by goals met, not hours clocked.

Ample tools and resources

Are your employees working with an IT handicap? Upgrade equipment and watch the productivity improve. Do your employees have access to mentors, training, or other career improvement/advancement tools? Investing in your employees’ careers helps with retention, productivity, and overall business improvement.

A More Attractive Organization

Those changes require you to trust your employees. Encourage your employees to carve out their best workday schedule and their best work location. Help them move ahead in their careers. Adopt a more open communication and make sure your managers are doing all they can to make each employee feel connected to the organization and valued for their talent.

An attractive work culture isn’t tough, but it does take a commitment to positive, ongoing change to how you interact with and support your workforce. Paying attention to what job seekers want and what your employees need is easier than replacing key talent. And smarter, too.

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