It's no secret: this fall, good help might be hard to find. This fall, applications for jobless benefits fell to the lowest level in 8 months. What does this mean? The pool of people looking for jobs is quite small, so companies face tough competition for top talent, or an investment in keeping their existing workforce intact. Employee retention is the name of the game as we head into Q4, and though it may sound daunting, we've broken it down into some key areas that need attention to ensure your team remains truly happy and healthy as you head into the new year.

Hint: it's not about hosting more golf outings...

5 Employee Retention Strategies that Work

Keep communication lines open.

No, like really open. Set expectations for everything from high-level goals to working hours and availability, and establish quick regular check-in meetings. Keep your employees in the loop when something's going on or there's trouble in the industry. Keep them in the loop when there's good news to share.

Not only should you emphasize your openness to feedback with your direct reports, but try a more consistent and less demanding format like pulse surveys or HR chatbots, which allow for short and casual surveys and are open for employees to report issues in anonymous mode. An additional step in a project timeline could include post-project feedback collection: what could be improved about the process next time around? 

Respect their time.

A broad statement that represents many other tips, boiled down to their core message: respect the time of your employees and they will be more satisfied. What exactly does this entail? Well, lots of things.

The first is to establish working hours and non-working hours. State them, share them, adhere to them. Working outside of these hours? Schedule your email for later. If you have flexible working hours overall, then set core hours people are expected to be available (they could be the middle of the day, like 10am-2pm EST, or could take place in both morning hours and afternoon hours, like 10-12pm and 1-3pm EST). Whatever works for your company – and hey, you can ask your employees – will do, just so long as you are setting boundaries that will allow people to protect their solitary work time and their home life. 

The second is to make sure their "on" hours at work are used as efficiently as possible. Meaning: solid deadlines, no unorganized meetings, and goals broken down into actionable items. Before you call a meeting, be clear on what's to be discussed, and prepare any needed information so minutes aren't wasted searching for documents or data.

Emphasize the importance of wellness. 

Job satisfaction is largely dependent on the vague measurement of "is this working for me?" Does it offer the flexibility I need? Does it offer the benefits that are important to me? Encourage the use of vacation days, offer understanding or time off when an employee is struggling, and learn (and teach others) the signs of burnout. Sticking to the set boundaries for work hours also displays a respect for the mental health and wellbeing of your employees.

Set a great first impression.

The onboarding process is a new hire's first interaction with the inside world of your company – set them on the right track, from the start. Educate them on their responsibilities and how they fit into the bigger picture, giving them ownership over their role. Put forth your company mission and values, and explain how you and your team achieves and monitors them. 

An interesting idea to try: pair all new employees with a "buddy," someone else who works at the company, at any level or in any department, to meet with them, grab lunch, or check in to see how their time is going. Having an acquaintance from the start is a powerful step towards feeling a part of an open and welcoming environment, and one in which there is already an ally. 

Encourage professional growth.

This can be done through the age-old practice of attending conferences, but also can be as simple as setting aside time for micro-development. An example: every Friday afternoon for one hour, members of your team are encouraged to learn something new related to their job. Some ideas that come to mind are learning a few new functions in Excel, watching an InDesign tutorial, or reading an article about the future of A.I. This freedom, with boundaries, allows for a break from work and an increase in knowledge, something workers today crave.

The simple act of asking your team if there's anything they'd like to learn more about can open floodgates to an invigorating work environment. Have them report back to each other, in order to keep the enthusiasm going.

Keeping a team satisfied is no easy feat, but making the effort is the first, and most important, step in ensuring your professional environment is one that retains employees. Try some of these suggestions, and let us know how it goes! 

Posted: 11/7/2023 11:04:58 AM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments

Almost three years after the beginning of the world-altering COVID-19 pandemic, the ripple effects are finally starting to slow.

That's right: we're heading back to "the office." 

The recent past has seen workers maintaining hybrid and remote positions, encouraged by companies attempting to please their employees, appear flexible, and embrace the data that stated productivity was not lost.

But many of these companies have had enough. 

Long since mask mandates have been lifted, the draw of an office has returned, and with it a much stricter attendance policy. From a Microsoft Corp. survey of 20,000 people at companies around the world, only 12% of managers are fully confident that hybrid employees were productive. To management, a face in the workspace proves dedication, committing an employee to memory as an active and willing participant in company efforts. Even with a strong push from employees who refuse to abandon a hybrid work-life balance, managers are having doubts and reevaluating their work-from-home policies. Over two-thirds (69%) of small business decision-makers in a Capterra survey said they'd prefer their employees to be on-site three or more days per week. 

An office presence is not only preferred, but in many cases critical for a satisfactory job evaluation. According to a Capterra poll of more than 500 managers at companies with some in-office requirement, 74% plan to factor office attendance into employee performance reviews, with 46% of all managers saying they have docked or plan to dock pay or benefits from employees due to poor office attendance. 

So, what's the solution?

To us, the answer is as clear as it would be to quibbling siblings: compromise.


Newly established attendance requirements are largely due to doubts about performance, a lack of trust and transparency with their teams, and feeling out of touch with the day-to-day of your business. 

1. Understand why your team likes working remotely. Is it eliminating a commute? Working different hours? Tackling nagging home tasks when taking a computer break? Polling your staff to understand their preferences may give you amazing insights into company morale and direct you towards working together more effectively.

2. Establish time together, whether it's everyone in the office once a week, twice a month, or gathering outside of the office however often you like. Your team doesn't want to be required to come in at all as much as they don't want to be working in a half-full office if their days don't overlap with many coworkers. Setting up time for in-person meetings, encouraging office camaraderie, and having face-to-face check-ins is the ultimate way to satisfy your need for contact and their need for a sense of normalcy.

3. Request more information from your team. If your doubts linger in the area of productivity, it's simple: just trade the freedom of some work-from-home days with the requirement that you are updated more often. Or, set some stricter core hours to be worked each day, eliminating any guessing games about who is working when.

4. Practice what you preach. Expecting your employees in the office three days a week? Go in yourself three days a week (and no more). An everpresent manager puts pressure on your team to be in the office even if you've reached an alternative agreement. Abandon any notion that your absence "looks bad." It doesn't. 


Communicate, communicate, communicate. It may feel like overkill, but setting minds at ease is the name of the game on this side of the hybrid workplace debate. 

1. Set regular, clear expectations. Yes, you can do your job. We know that. In theory, your employer knows that. But without seeing you in person, the mind can wander into "what are they really working on?" territory. Give them the comfort of knowing what you're working on each week, and update if something is or isn't completed.

2. Be transparent. Having a slow week because of tech issues? Don't wait to be asked about it. Working set hours and need to run an errand? Mark it on your calendar. Management is free to make assumptions that you're covering all needed hours, but being forthcoming with any unexpected schedule changes eliminates any and all doubts.

3. Be proactive. Talk to your supervisor more than you typically would. Set up a shared document or section of your project management platform where you have weekly tasks, and notify your boss so they can check in on project statuses without interrupting your workflow. Initiate meetings or quick calls or check-ins just to ease their mind and provide context for them to report to higher-ups. An employee who takes initiative can be recognized in or out of a physical workplace, so less time in the office won't hinder your ability to be recognized. If anything, hybrid work will spur more digital proof of the work accomplished. 

Overall, this phase will be an adjust

Posted: 12/13/2022 12:11:54 PM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments

The last six months have been a roller coaster, full of changing rules, fluctuating attitudes, and a desire to “get back to work,” adjacent to a need for maintaining distance and safety.

In the U.S., the only entity as heavily affected by this pandemic as the American business is the American household. Changing work habits and an uncertain economy aside, thousands of employed parents are also adjusting to their children's new school platforms: virtual learning and "blended" school days. Their daily lives have changed drastically, and any acknowledgement and accommodation from management will go a long way.

Working with Parents of Children Who Are Learning Virtually

Be flexible

Offer parents the ability to accommodate changing family schedules, allowing them to shift work hours if needed. Doing so eases some stress and also cements your reputation as a supportive and understanding employer. What does lower stress translate to? Higher productivity! So, it's a win-win.

Set communication expectations

Be clear about how much contact and communication you need from employees who are managing workloads alongside their family's virtual learning. Determine if management needs to be notified when employees are attending to their children during work hours, and if a schedule needs to be set ahead of time or not.

Remove the excess

Skim the fat from their workload and remove any unnecessary meetings – paring down to just the essentials ensures their work hours are spent efficiently.

Be clear from the start

No employee should have to guess what is or is not acceptable within this "new normal" of balancing children's virtual learning schedules and their own work schedules. Be clear on your expectations as early as possible. Let your entire team know you are understanding of small interruptions in meetings, or that you are willing to be flexible on specific hours worked. If meetings become a challenge to attend, suggest a buddy system, so your team can check in with coworkers to report on the items discussed in a missed meeting.

It's also important for non-parents on your team to understand that a less-than-ideal situation can be made better with some compassion and understanding. No one will be expected to work more or less, but you're all in this together.

The working parents that are a part of your organization are facing extreme struggles, juggling working from home, keeping themselves and their families healthy, all while ensuring their children's education continues even when schools range from completely closed to merely partially open. Daily routines are all out of whack, continuing to provide constant sources of stress to an already hectic time. Doing your best as an employer to accommodate the challenges this year has brought to everyone, especially working parents, will result in a strong and satisfied team. 

Posted: 10/2/2020 1:10:58 PM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments