The Key to Employee Retention? Treat Them as Human Beings!
A study was recently conducted by Microsoft Japan on employee working hours and its relation to productivity, and surprise surprise, the results showed that giving employees four-day weekends actually increased productivity. And not just by a little, but by a whopping 40%! This is only one of many studies confirming the fact that people don’t need to work until exhaustion and burnout for companies to be productive. Humans are not machines. The equation ‘input = output’ cannot be applied to people. It’s not that black and white. Human beings have feelings, emotions, attention spans, relationships, and lives outside of work! Allowing people the freedom and flexibility to be their true, authentic selves and work according to their own personal working preferences produces happy employees willing to put in 100% effort while they are there.
Flexibility in the Workplace
All people really want at the end of the day is flexibility - to have the option to work from home one or two days a week and have flexible hours. People aren’t lazy. If they are in a job they love with flexibility and management that trusts them, then they will want to work. Additionally, from a psychological perspective, I feel if given such amazing privileges, most people would respect the company more, and thus would not abuse these privileges.
Early career professionals are already experiencing burnout leading to apathy and active disengagement in their 20s. Millennials expect to have work/life balance and be in jobs that are fulfilling and feed their soul purpose. They are changing the workplace landscape for the better! This is how it should be. But when that dream is crushed by micromanagement, long hours, and stagnant jobs with no training or growth opportunities, they will leave and join a start-up or hot new tech company.
Companies don’t want to lose their Millennial staff, because they are super intelligent, innovative, and bring fresh new ways to maximize efficiency. Millennials are all about doing things quickly and without expending a lot of energy. Some may view that as lazy, but I think that is just plain smart. They can quickly identify outdated processes or procedures that can be completed in faster ways requiring fewer employee hours. This is a critical skillset for companies. The more progressive start-ups and technology companies understand and capitalize on this strength. So then why isn’t every company jumping on the Millennial bandwagon with open arms and adopting their ideas?
Employee Retention – It’s Really That Simple
Companies can put in all the game rooms and volleyball courts they want and pay millions of dollars to consulting firms to conduct employee satisfaction surveys, but it’s really pretty simple. Just acknowledge and accept your employees as individual people with unique learning and working styles, personalities, strengths, and soul purposes. Embrace this uniqueness and allow them the freedom to show their true, authentic selves at work. Allow them the opportunity to be successful by enabling them to work according to how they are most productive. Treat them as human beings who need time to rest and recharge. Treat them as adults with respect and trust and not micromanaging, helicopter parents.
We are all just trying to live the happy, fulfilling, and meaningful lives we were meant to live on this earth, and that means having balance. Yes, we all need money to survive, but we also need love, support, inspiration, and connection to thrive. The world is shifting, which means the workplace culture is too, and Microsoft Japan had the foresight to capitalize on this. I’m excited to see which other companies finally grasp this concept and follow suit!
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