Did you know that 25% of employees in the U.S. will quit their jobs in 2021?
One of the main reasons these employees left their companies was that their work environment was unsafe. So, one strategy you can implement to retain employees is to provide a safe working space.
But how exactly do you create safe working environments for employees? This guide takes you through the steps you can take to make the workplace secure and keep your valuable employees for a long time.
Have Policies That Comply With State and Federal Laws
The first step in creating a safe working space for your employees is to comply with federal and state employment laws. Different states will have distinct employment laws. To avoid missing anything, review what your state requires you to do to create a safe workplace.
Most states and federal laws require equal employment and anti-discrimination policies. They also dictate that you have a policy against sexual harassment. If you have these policies, your company will be safer for employees as they will be less likely to face issues like sexual harassment or unfair treatment.
Your employees will not perceive the working space as safe when they don’t know that your company has safety policies in place. Show them that you are committed to keeping them safe by including the guidelines in an employee handbook. Other than state and federal policies, the handbook should contain everything your company does to create a safe working environment.
Foster a Supportive Environment
Your employees will feel better when their work environment brings out the best of their abilities. They will perceive the environment more positively if it helps them excel in their roles. There are various ways you can create such an environment.
One is to ensure that the workplace has enriching job characteristics. These can include allowing your employees to perform autonomously and participating in making organizational decisions. Such activities will help your subordinates know that you value them.
You can also create a supportive work environment by providing relevant learning and growth opportunities. These opportunities will allow your employees to use their newly acquired knowledge. In turn, they will be more satisfied knowing that you value their contribution.
Provide Adequate Employee Benefits
Providing employee benefits is one way of showing that you care about your employees’ well-being. Good benefits will translate to low employee turnover. They will increase employees’ job satisfaction, keeping them in the company for more years.
Benefits like wellness programs and health insurance will keep your employees and their families healthy. As a result, they will have fewer sick days and be more effective at work.
Benefits indirectly contribute to safe working environments. For example, if the benefits help your employees afford care, they are less likely to bring communicable diseases to the workplace. Your employees will always be healthy and motivated to work for your company.
The benefits will also facilitate a better work-life balance for your employees. Benefits like paid time off and vacation time will allow the subordinates to take time to cool off. The benefits will prevent fatigue, stress, or burnout while allowing employees to live a more fulfilling life.
If you are worried that paying for these benefits will strain you financially, you can leverage the employee retention credit. This is a refundable tax credit that you can claim for paying wages and health insurance to your employees when your business is struggling. It will help you retain employees, even at the most challenging times.
Maintain an Open Dialogue With Employees
Open communication is one of the best tools you can leverage to help your employees feel safe and satisfied with their workplace.
Through communication, you will engage with your employees often. You will help employees understand the organization’s bigger picture and their part in its overall success. As a result, they will feel more prepared to execute their roles in alignment with the organization’s goal.
An open dialogue with your employees will help them understand the reasoning behind various decisions. They will learn how these decisions impact them on a personal level.
When you communicate with your employees effectively, there is little possibility that they will feel left out. In turn, they will most likely commit to your organization for longer.
Avoid Overworking Employees
Don’t expect that overworking your employees will translate to overachieving. If anything, overworking them will only lead to poor health. It will mentally drain your employees and increase their stress levels.
Can you then blame them if they choose to leave your company? Nobody will be willing to pull a few more hours for you at the expense of their health.
If you’re keen, you will always be able to tell when your employees are overworked. They will not be in the mood to communicate with you or their peers. Overworked employees will also make more errors in areas like capturing data.
If you notice such signs, initiate strategies to reduce the workload. You can give the employees some time off. It might also be necessary to bring in more employees so that no one has to sacrifice their weekends to work.
Adopt Flexible Work Arrangements
The expectation that your employees show up at work every day from 9 to 5 can be mentally and physically draining. For example, those who commute long distances will suffer from fatigue.
If you are not dealing with frontline staff, allow them to determine when or where they can work best as long as they meet the goals you set. There are various flexible work arrangements you can implement. Examples include telecommuting, hybrid work arrangements, flextime, compressed workweeks, and shift work.
Employees will perceive your workplace as safer when you allow them to choose a schedule that suits them. A little leeway may be all your employees need to spend more time with their families. As a result, they will always be in the right psychological state to give their best for your company.
Create a Diverse and Inclusive Work Environment
You can make the working environment safer by ensuring that diverse people feel valued. Such a workplace creates a sense of safety in that all your employees feel cared for.
Creating an inclusive environment requires you to use a combination of complex and straightforward approaches. An example of a simple method is celebrating your employee differences. You can invite them to share their traditions and backgrounds with others in the workplace.
A good way would be to organize events to showcase the food and attire from their original countries. You can also set aside a prayer room for your Muslim employees.
An example of a complex strategy is to create an inclusion council. The council will be responsible for retaining a diverse workforce. It will also engage with the underrepresented employees to ensure that they are appreciated and safe.
Whichever inclusion approach you choose, always ensure that it makes the workplace more comfortable and safer for everyone.
Teamwork is essential in creating and maintaining an enjoyable workplace. When employees work together with their peers, they build strong relationships. They learn more about each other and their weaknesses, strengths, likes, and dislikes.
Employees will feel happier when they work with a team of people they perceive as friends. People will feel safer when there is a strong connection with others. They are comfortable and more relaxed, knowing that they can leverage the skills and strengths of their peers.
With time, the team becomes a haven that an employee can count on for help. The team also helps in retaining employees because they are assured of a friendly environment that can help them perform optimally.
Give Prompt and Constructive Feedback
Employees will appreciate a work environment where leaders inform them about their performance and where they need to improve. You can create such an environment by providing constructive feedback to your employees.
Constructive feedback increases your employees’ confidence about their job duties. They will understand exactly how you want them to execute their roles. As a result, your employees will be less stressed about performing according to expectations.
Feedback will also show your employees that you take their performance seriously. When the feedback is constructive, your employees will learn from their mistakes. Feedback will motivate them to do even better when they are doing well.
Normalize giving feedback when necessary to avoid leaving your employees confused. If they start feeling like they lack guidance, they may perceive the work environment as unsafe. As a result, they will look for work elsewhere where someone will frequently inform them about their performance.
Create Safe Working Environments to Retain Employees
Do not be duped into thinking that you provide a safe working space for your employees because there are no injuries or health issues. Safe working environments mean doing so much more to increase your employees’ satisfaction.
If you have no idea how to create a safe space, you will deal with expensive employee turnover all year. This guide can save you time and money by helping you create a space that your employees will love.
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Piran is the bestselling author of the Zobuz, TheHearus and other well known Blogs. Her books have sold hundred of copies and are published in different languages.