A guide to employee retention through idea management. Why is this topic so important? First of all because building a strong corporate culture is a great way of conducting business. It ensures transparency and ethical behavior in all transactions and partnerships.

More importantly, it promotes ethical behavior towards employees. Therefore, having a strong corporate culture acts as a signal of trust for future employees. At the same time, it is a great advantage in retaining employees.

So having a strong corporate culture in place, both attracts top talent and makes them stay in the company for longer. Simply put, you should care about this because employees care about it. Also because your business has a lot to gain from it.

In this article, we’ll take a look at how corporate culture and inclusion influence employee retention. Reading this article gives you an idea of what employees look for in a job. It also gives you insight into how to offer them what they want through front-end idea management.

Employee Retention Challenge

A strong corporate culture influences employee retention. “Job-hopping” is a trend among Millennials and not only. Every age group wants the best out of their job. It’s easy for them to go in the search of it to your competitor unless you offer it first. Especially in a high-technology industry, workers believe that they could find another job in less than 60 days if they had the time to look.

Let’s face it. The power no longer lies with the employer but is rather in the hands of the employee. Hiring new talent has transformed into what looks like a business deal, a transaction. New hires want to know what’s in it for them to come and work for a company instead of focusing on what they bring to the table. Funny enough, when “negotiating” their position, candidates look for more than just financial benefits.

Millennials do want flexibility and more. Lately, employees are benefiting from being able to work from anywhere thanks to digitalization. And they benefit from having a fun work environment. There’s the well-known foosball table and you have the bean bag chairs, or maybe even a daycare or a washing room. All these benefits are great, but is this enough to satisfy employees? Is it enough to make the organization run smoothly? Does it make the employees more productive? Without a strong corporate culture and well-established values, it is all for nothing. Employee engagement, culture, and values are often brought up when it comes to retaining talent. These aspects hold the most importance to employees.

Most managers or HR representants already have an idea about the basic practices on retaining employees. Why isn’t their employee retention strategy as successful as they want it to be then?

  1. Because of implementing retention strategies solely on intuition or poorly made research
  2. Lack of communication between management and employees
  3. It is challenging to correctly measure how employee satisfaction translates into employee retention and business results.

In order to overcome these challenges, you need a strong corporate culture. Let’s first take a closer look at what corporate culture is.

What is Corporate Culture?

“Corporate culture includes an organization’s expectations, experiences, philosophy, and values that hold it together. It is expressed in its self-image, inner workings, interactions with the outside world, and future expectations. It is based on shared attitudes, beliefs, customs, and written and unwritten rules.”

These shared values influence the way you do business. The company’s values and culture are at the base of the way the organization works and the way you interact with stakeholders and employees. Moreover, it translates into transparency, good collaboration between employees and managers, and freedom of expressing ideas.

A simplistic way of defining corporate culture is by thinking of it as the behavior you want employees to have when the CEO is not in the room.

Here’s a nice example of strong corporate culture. At Netflix, they believe that company values are “the behaviors and skills valued in employees”. This is not only a great way to value employees but also a good strategy for measuring how strong the company’s culture is. If you take a look around and your employees are happy, skillful, productive, then you know that your organization has a strong culture.

Why is it Important to Have a Strong Culture?

Organizational culture is the guiding system of your company. It dictates the way you conduct business, but at the same time, it guides employees towards the same goal. Wouldn’t it be nice if all of your colleagues would be someone you share the same values with, someone you respect and can learn from?

A strong corporate culture also acts as a signal of success, so it builds a good reputation. Besides the multiple benefits it brings to the organization, it also plays a very important role in attracting employees.

During the decision process of taking a job or not, people look more and more into the company’s culture and values. Research shows that the main reason that makes someone want to work for a company is to know that the organization’s values align with their own. The more the company thinks about making a positive change, the more employees will want to work there. The workforce today is driven by wanting to make a change. Most people, millennials especially, want a job that gives them purpose and makes them feel like they are contributing to a greater good. In order to contribute fully, having transparency around your main business challenges is essential. It will allow for your creative and solution-driven minds to clearly see what your main challenges are, and therefore they will be able to support solving them.

The more the company thinks about making a positive change, the more employees will want to work there. The workforce today is driven by wanting to make a change. Most people, millennials especially, want a job that gives them purpose and makes them feel like they are contributing to a greater good. In order to contribute fully, having transparency around your main business challenges is essential. It will allow for your creative and solution-driven minds to clearly see what are the main challenges, and therefore they will be able to support solving them.

It’s simply not enough to come up with nice-sounding values. You paint it all over the walls for the employees to see every day, but somehow easily forget about it when managing employees or in doing business. Your organizational culture has to be the guiding principle in any activity that represents the company. Having a system in place which supports your culture is a massive benefit for you, as it both helps to dictate and communicate the strategic direction, which in return supports your culture. Again, transparency and inclusion are two very important factors here.

A strong organizational culture leads to happier employees and happy employees means a more productive business, according to Kiss Metrics. Think about it, you like a company and their product, but you talk to one of their employees and they start telling you about how dissatisfied they are with the way things work internally. Will you still feel the same about the company? Probably not. Employees represent the company even outside working hours. Dissatisfied employees result in lower productivity, negativity at the workplace which will ultimately spread among employees, and the risk of losing good reputation.

The idea of the employee as a representative of the company brings us to the next important talk-point:

Employee Retention Starts with the Right Hire

Hiring someone, training them, investing time and money only to have them leave after one year is very costly for the company. Also in terms of reputation, a high turnover rate sends out the wrong message about the organization.

In order to get employees who will want to stay for longer within the company, you need to treat your organizational culture as a hiring tool. Hire employees whose values align with the company’s values and it will also work the other way around – mostly candidates that share the same values will apply for a position.

Especially when you hire millennials, your organizational values must be in place. This is the generation with the highest interest in corporate culture. Here is the experience of CEO Gaurav B.:

As a millennial CEO starting a company, I wanted to create a team of like-minded people. While conducting interviews, I realized that the questions millennials were asking about the company were different from what I used to hear while hiring Gen Xers in my previous job. I was being asked about the mission and vision of the company and how they would be able to make a unique dent in its future. They wanted to devote their loyalty, creativity, hard work, and time to the organization.”

There you have it. Millennials want more than a 9 to 5 job and they are willing to work hard as long as their work has a purpose. It’s up to you to make that purpose clear to them.

Millennials are also always under the pressure of making the best choice. They have to choose the best area of study that will determine their profession, where to live in the world, or for which company to work for. All these are long-term decisions that have a high impact on their lives. They have to make the right choice. Besides that, they have an overwhelming variety of possibilities to choose from.

On top of that, they face the pressure of constantly having to prove themselves. Working for the same company for a few years translates into being stuck in a comfortable spot that isn’t as challenging anymore.

This is the paradigm that companies have to shift! Give employees the chance to constantly improve themselves and a good reason for them to pick you, stick with you and be proud of representing the company.

How to Improve Corporate Culture to Ensure Retention

A strong corporate culture means an attractive working environment for employees and assures employee retention. While there is no universal model that fits all companies, we know one thing: it all starts with inclusion.

Include your employees when it comes to decision-making or to problem-solving. Great ideas can come from anywhere and sometimes your employees might know quite a lot about inside matters that you don’t even hear about.

Asking for their input shows that you value them. Inclusion shows trust! More important than that, hearing out your employees promotes a transparency that facilitates communication within the organization. Employees will know more about what is going on in the company, which gives them purpose and ambition to work towards the same goal.

You can easily achieve this type of common problem-solving through an

Idea Management Platform. An Idea Management Platform empowers employees to speak their mind in a constructive way. It creates a sense of trust and inclusion. You can read more about how an Idea Management Platform promotes employee engagement and leads to a strong corporate culture, here. Moreover, inter-disciplinarity means added learning. Allow constant learning and personal improvements through daily tasks. These are important factors that contribute to employee retention.

Takeaway

Employee retention and job satisfaction go hand in hand. Companies face challenges in keeping their employees and finding out what makes them unsatisfied with their work. It all starts with the corporate values and culture of the organization. Companies need a strong culture and values that the employees can relate to.

You can solve a great deal of these challenges through idea management. Use an idea management platform to tackle your business challenges through solution-driven cooperation. This tool encourages communication and engagement. Moreover, it speaks volumes about a strong organizational culture. It involves its employees in decision-making processes, it promotes transparency and offers employees a chance to constantly develop.

Keep an eye on these signals in order to check how strong your corporate culture is:

Low Turnover Rate

A low turnover rate is a signal of strong corporate culture. Or the other way around, a strong corporate culture is a culture that looks to keep a low turnover rate. This also means that you look to create the means for a pleasant working environment that encourages employee development.

Moreover, make your employees feel irreplaceable and show them that you recognize their potential. This will make them stick with you instead of going to work for the competition.

Strong Communication

One of the most important signals of a strong corporate culture. In order to retain your employees, you need constant communication, especially when it comes to goals and tasks. But also, when it comes to feedback. Listen to your employees, they usually have a lot of useful information about aspects of the company that you do not interact with. At the same time, to encourage employee retention you need to give them the opportunity to freely express themselves.

Employees Will Embrace Change

In an environment of constant development, employees embrace change and modernization. In fact, they will be excited about it. Creating the type of corporate culture that encourages development, means that employees see changes as challenges and therefore embrace it with excitement.

A strong corporate culture means less routine. Give your employees exciting tasks and the opportunity to work with different tools in order to help them grow. Allow them to be creative and listen to their ideas. This type of work environment leads both to employee retention and to employee attraction.

Leaders Empower Employees

Leaders encourage development and are not intimidated by the success of their employees. At the same time, employees feel motivated and appreciated by their leaders.

There is a Sense of Trust

Employees feel like they can provide input without worries. Especially through an idea management platform, employees can voice their concern and their inputs with ease. Now, their information gets to the right person and action is taken. This loop of contribution and acknowledgment is highly satisfying.

Pride in Working for the Company

Employees feel more engaged when they believe in the greater goal of the company. An organization with a strong culture focuses on more than just profits. That is the kind of working environment that employees want to be a part of.

The most valuable takeaway is that you can start implementing changes today through idea management. An idea management platform creates an inclusive culture and activates common thinking. This process brings both leaders and employees together. Through implementing idea sharing, you will enjoy all the benefits of a strong corporate culture mentioned above.

What is your experience with corporate culture? What tools do you use to drive engagement? We’d love to hear all about it!