Worried about retention? Four simple (and) proven things you can do to beat the odds
It is a common belief that in order to achieve success, one must do the hard work alone; only after accomplishing this solitary victory will a person “be happy.” Well, if there’s one thing I’ve learned through studying positive psychology, this is completely wrong!
Shawn Achor of The Happiness Advantage (2010) notes that the most prominent predictor of happiness is a strong social support network. It is vital this point be reinforced for new employees; they are in greatest need of an encouraging network! We want to both retain them as employees as well as see them find success in their work. Employers must provide opportunities for new employees to seek out support, while fostering an environment which inspires veteran staff to mentor newbies. Otherwise, they’re in danger of losing their new hires, period.
How does an organization go about supporting sociability in its employees? A peer mentoring program is a good start! Experienced staff members sign up to become mentors. When a new employee starts with the company, they are assigned a mentor. Mentors meet with their mentees, listen to their woes, give them advice, and help them navigate the new waters. This has proven to be a particularly successful method within law enforcement agencies; having a confidante to turn to helps new recruits cope with the challenging expectations of the profession.
Another way to encourage socialization is to create spaces for employees to work together. Collaborative workspaces provide staff with the freedom to join forces on projects or problem solve tricky situations. Staff lunchrooms similarly provide a way for employees to communicate, although in many busy organizations, this means encouraging employees to take their lunch breaks instead of a working lunch alone at their desks. This gets to the root of the issue in many organizations: changing the culture to be supportive of healthy practices!
Regardless, having a few short breaks in the day provides significant benefits besides encouraging employees to interact outside of their work. Focus is improved through allowing the task-attention parts of the brain to relax and refresh, boosting productivity during those pesky afternoon hours; it also gives staff an opportunity to bank positive interactions to offset negative conditions of their work.
Not only does social support boost happiness, it similarly increases well-being while lowering stress, according to Achor. Added benefits include enhancing altruism, creativity, and personal growth! Social support is truly a foundation of employee success.
Also, take a look at Shawn Achor’s The Happiness Advantage: The seven principles of positive psychology that fuel success and performance at work for more strategies and benefits!
Amber Peterson is a partner at Peterson & Perme Associates, LLC.