You can’t control the challenging labor market, but you can control your employees’ experience at your organization. Focusing on creating a work environment where employees feel supported and appreciated is a budget friendly approach for the public sector to decrease the likelihood that employees will look toward “greener pastures” and increases the organization’s appeal for new hires.
Public entities can focus on improvements to the culture, flexibility, and compensation and benefits to influence workplace culture and develop those intangible reasons why employees want to stay or join the organization.
A healthy organization and team culture are both necessary to keep employees. As leaders learn more about how employees feel about their jobs, they can enhance their strategy to improve organizational and team culture. It is important for management to clearly communicate these improvements and to be prepared to educate and train employees to effectively use them. Some specific steps employers can add or expand on include:
Encouraging flexibility in the workplace is a shift from focusing on individual processes to successfully meeting overall organizational goals. Again, communicating clearly from the top, organization leaders have to establish guidelines for daily schedules, work from home options and flexible start and end times for a workday, among other things. If vacation and time off policies have not changed in some time, leaders should examine best practices and possible options to modify these policies. Then, managers have to establish clear responsibilities and expectations within their teams: Who is doing what and when? Who is trained to step in when a team member takes planned or unexpected time off?
Perks and compensation
Schedule flexibility is just one of several things related to compensation and benefits that employers can consider that will increase the likelihood of employees staying. Employers have added a variety of benefits in recent years that appeal to employees whether they are working completely remote or still come into the office on a regular basis. New employee recognition programs, more casual dress codes, providing in person or online communities for employees to connect, student loan payment or forgiveness support, or even new benefits for pets are some of the perks employees require as a baseline for a work environment.
Employers also need to consider consistent reminders of perks and benefits, in different ways, as employees’ life circumstances change. Providing benefits related to pets may not matter today to an employee who doesn’t have pets but they will be happy to be reminded of the perk a year from now when they adopt a dog from a shelter.
If you can’t implement all of these items, a good way to assess how employees think about their team culture is to ask them to share their own experiences. What are the characteristics of a great team they have been a part of in their career? Conversely, what are characteristics of a team that frustrated them or made them indifferent about their work? This feedback will allow you to make the necessary changes to maintain a positive work experience and keep employees.
For more information on this topic, or to learn how Baker Tilly specialists can help, contact our team.