How to Create a Positive Supportive Workplace (That Employees Won’t Leave)

How to Create a Positive Supportive Workplace (That Employees Won’t Leave)

August 31, 2022

By Lesa Blakey
The days of a loyal Bob Cratchit putting up with a cantankerous Mr. Scrooge are long gone. Today’s employees know they no longer have to toil for hours in working situations where they are not appreciated, have no opportunities for learning and advancement, and have to deal with belittling bosses or bullying coworkers.

Today’s employees have said it loud and clear: “no more toxic culture.”

They want to work for companies with a positive culture that supports their wellness needs — emotional, physical, and social. And they want it now. If you won’t provide it, they’ll find that support elsewhere. In today’s tight labor market employers can’t afford to lose staff members because they know they’ll be extremely difficult (and costly) to replace.

Employees are Demanding a Focus on Positive Experiences

A 2022 Qualtrics report on Employee Experience Trends indicates that today’s employees want a workplace that is designed around their needs. They want the right technology and the right culture. Give it to them and they will thrive — whether they’re on-site or remote. And they’ll stay with you. Fail to meet their needs and they’ll languish and leave.

The study is based on input from about 14,000 full-time employees from 27 countries. The feedback they received indicates that when employees have productivity-enabling tech 91% are engaged. When they don’t, only 24% are engaged. And we know from Gallup that engaged employees drive organizations to greater success.

There’s another stat in the report that should be especially powerful for business leaders — 93% of employees who feel their physical workspace allows them to be more productive are likely to recommend their employer as a good place to work — if they don’t, only 16% would recommend.

The COVID-19 pandemic, a life-changing event for all of us, has caused employees to step back and reexamine their goals and priorities. It’s been a time of self-reflection. Employees are revaluating what matters to them and chasing new dreams and priorities. As Harvard Business Review points out, “the great resignation stems from a great exploration.” They quote Arianna Huffington, founder and CEO of Thrive Global, a behavior change technology company, who says: “People aren’t just quitting their jobs, they’re rejecting the idea that burnout is the price they have to pay for success.”

So what should employers to doing to give employees the positive and supportive environment they’re looking for? Here we take a look at 6 top employee engagement ideas you can do now to reduce employee turnover and dissatisfaction, and improve the employee experience.

6 Ways to Create a Positive and Supportive Work Environment

1) Provide growth opportunities and new responsibilities.

Today’s workers don’t shy away from hard work and difficult assignments. In fact, they want to be given stretch assignments and roles that require them to learn and use many new and different skills. In fact, in The McKinsey Podcast, McKinsey Global Institute partner Anu Madgavkar and senior partner Bill Schaninger points out that almost half of employees’ lifetime earnings are driven by skills they gained at work.

Offering different, and varied, opportunities for career growth can help keep employees engaged and on board.

2) Provide recognition for their efforts.

Employees want to be recognized for their efforts. According to a SurveyMonkey study, 82% of employed adults consider recognition to be an important part of their happiness at work — and 82% feel happier when they’re recognized. An employee who has been recognized is 63% more likely to stay at his or her current job within the next three to six months.

HR professionals know this. In fact, in the same survey, more than 91% of HR pros say that recognition and reward make employees more likely to stay on the job. So why aren’t their encouraging their organizations to provide more recognition and providing them with the tools and resources to do so?

3) Offer flexibility.

Employees who have gotten a taste of the freedom and flexibility of remote work don’t want to give up that freedom and flexibility. And they shouldn’t have to. If they were able to work — and work productively — from home during the pandemic, there’s very few reasons why they can’t continue to do so. This doesn’t have to be an all or nothing situation. Maybe they work some days from home, and some days from the office.

There are other things you can also do to provide flexibility for employees to manage their work/life balance better. More PTO. A shift in hours to accommodate mental health breaks. A flexible time off policy to allow them the freedom to enjoy family events and personal pursuits.

4) Help them battle the burnout.

Today’s employees are more stressed than ever. In fact, a 2021 Harris Poll survey, commissioned by Talkspace and reported by Fast Company, indicates that among those considering resignation, 80% say they are burned out. Even those not currently considering resignation, are feeling the pinch — 39% of these employees say they are burned out.

Employers can help impact burnout in a myriad of ways—from providing technology to take the tedium out of routine, administrative tasks to instituting “no email after work hours” policies to providing access to wellness services and activities and more. But don’t just strike off on your own — ask employees what kind of support they could use to battle burnout. They’ll appreciate it and you’ll be more likely to keep them on board.

5) Collect feedback and act on it.

A Salesforce study says employees who feel heard are 4.6X as motivated to do their best work. Create a thriving culture by giving your people a true voice. Traditionally, organizations have determined when and how employee feedback is given, with the annual survey topping the list. But that frequency (and lack of real anonymity) has eliminated the opportunity to hear real time feedback when employees are ready to speak!

Employee Voice, a survey integrated within Inspirus Connects, collects employee sentiment and feedback so that organizations can hear their workforce, measure employee enaggement and happiness, and track trending issues in real time. Gathering and analyzing this feedback reveals what employees are thinking and feeling on any given day, empowering company leadership to strategize, prioritze and actionize.

6) Tackle toxic culture.

Back to the thing that’s really driving your employees mad — your toxic culture. According to data from Glassdoor, reported by CNBC, “researchers found toxic work culture to be the biggest factor that led people to quit, and 10 times more important than pay in predicting turnover.”

Do something about it. If your culture is toxic, you probably know it. To create a high-performance culture, set the bar high for respect and supportive behaviors among your entire workforce, from the top down. Commit to building — and sustaining — a culture that is focused on being inclusive, equitable, and creating a sense of belonging. That’s what it takes to keep top talent on board.