How to Retain Employees: The Importance of Workplace Equity for Retaining Top Talent
There is one issue from which no business–regardless of size, type or location–is immune: employee turnover. Retaining top talent is a challenge for most organizations, especially in a growing employee base that doesn’t see loyalty to a company as the norm.
Retaining top talent starts with creating an equitable workplace.
Instilling workplace equity involves cultivating an environment where employees are treated fairly by management and, in turn, employees treat management fairly. It seems obvious. We’ve heard something similar since childhood—The Golden Rule. But what may seem obvious in principle is often not so apparent in practice.
Here are four key assumptions1 that underlie workplace equity.
People work for rewards.
Think of this as balance—what you put in you get out. This doesn’t have to be true day-to-day, but overall, employees need to feel like they are fairly compensated (money, power, appreciation, support, development) for the work they are doing. Rewards are not just monetary—though many think that is the case. At the end of the day employees want to know that they are getting just as much as they are putting in. Make this the case, and you’ll be on your way to higher retention.
People seek empowerment.
If the first condition is met, employees feel more pride and responsibility in the work they perform. To take this further, empower your employees and provide them with the resources necessary to grow. Hear their ideas, listen to their concerns, and take action. When employees are invested in a company they are more likely to work harder and produce more. Encourage this by making sure your top performers have the resources they need, and the empowerment from their managers, to continue to develop.
People become stressed when they feel they are treated unfairly.
Inequity breeds disappointment. Disappointment yields stress. Stress results in a loss of productivity. When employees feel that they are being treated unfairly, they become less productive and even counterproductive. If someone finds out a peer is making more money for performing the same role, a manager is spending extra time with one person over others, one person’s ideas are encouraged more, etc., productivity will suffer. When someone feels they are being treated unfairly, they will work to restore the perceived equity.
People who experience stress will try to restore equity.
If you feel you’re treated unfairly, you’re likely to do something about it. The same goes for your employees. Gossiping and badmouthing are commonplace when someone feels a lack of equity. This brings down team morale and can compromise productivity. Employees who feel they aren’t being adequately compensated or if they find out others with the same title are being paid more tend to decrease their productivity and the quality of their work. Either way, the company suffers.
With workplace equity, what goes around comes around. If you want to retain top talent, focus on establishing a culture with ample rewards and empowerment and minimize equity-based stress.
1 The four principles are mentioned in Goodall, Goodall and Schiefelbein’s Business and Professional Communication in the Global Workplace (2009, Cengage-Wadsworth). The concepts were first presented in research by Walster, Walster and Bershied in 1978 and Wilson and Goodall in 1991.This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.