9 Lifestyle Factors To Attract And Retain The Right People
by Sital Ruparelia
Most western economies are part of a world where we are all far more wealthy than previous generations.
Whilst our parents' generation sought security of employment and income, today's employees are looking for a "job with life" - a job that provides the income, time and flexibility to enjoy hobbies, spend time with family and generally enjoy the fruits of their labour. Those employers who embrace this idea and have a clear strategy to help their employees enjoy the work-life balance they desire will be the ones that attract the best people - and then keep them. So what does this mean on a practical level? Here are 9 ideas that you can incorporate into your business.
1. Flexible Hours. Is there a way in which your team can have a degree of flexibility in the hours they work so that they can spend better quality time with their families, hobbies etc?
2. Four-day week / 9-day fortnight. Can you structure the team to work longer hours on some days so that they can work a 4-day week - or maybe take one day off every two weeks and make up the time elsewhere?
3. Home working options. With the advent of the internet, there may be some roles that can quite easily be done from home. Yes, it requires you to have more trust in your team - but again, that will draw in people. High quality people want to feel they are trusted by an employer. I appreciate that for many roles or industries this home working option is not relevant - but try to think laterally to see if could be an option sometimes.
4. Charity time. Many of your team may have a passion or interest in supporting and helping good causes. So, give them the option to help charities they support during work hours. E.g. if someone helps out at local hostel, let them have half a day a month to do this in work hours. This shows you supporting your team's passions - whilst also putting something back into the local community.
5. Gym Time. Many people know they need or want to spend more time exercising and becoming healthy, but feel they are "too busy" or "don't have the time." So look at offering people the option to leave an hour early once a week, an extra hour at lunch once a week - or whatever works for you. The key is to make sure that that working for you does not get in the way of people living the kind of lifestyle they want, but in fact is conducive to it. That's when you become an employer of choice in your local market.
6. Part-time hours / Job Share. Does your business allow people the option of working part-time? Have you anyone that job-shares (i.e. 2 people who do one full-time role split between them)? Yes, this may involve a bit more complexity for your business, but it will give people the lifestyle benefits they demand today and so will help you find & keep the right people.
7. Buy extra holidays instead of pay raise. Most people I know have a desire to go traveling or "do a big trip" somewhere. Very often the barrier to this is getting time off from work. So, if you have people who want to go and spend 4 weeks in Aus & New Zealand as an example - then allow them the option to buy more holiday time from their pay. It costs you nothing financially, but gives your team so much more.
8. Offer "Special Leave" options. Asda, the UK supermarket chain, offers staff "School Starter leave" for parents wishing to accompany their children on their first day at school, "IVF leave" for those having fertility treatment and "Benidorm leave" for older workers seeking winter sun - one of the reasons why they are regularly voted as one of The Sunday Times "100 Best Companies To Work For." What type of "special leave" can you offer your team so that you keep your best staff with minimal impact on the operation of your business?
9. Day off on your Birthday! Make it a policy to give people a day off on their birthday. This may sound a little "gimmicky", but it's a great selling point: it shows your business to be one which wants people to have a life outside work.
I am in no way suggesting that you implement all these ideas tomorrow; not all will be relevant to your business or the people working for you. There is no one-size-fits-all businesses approach with flexible working. It's about understanding what lifestyle factors will make your people tick and want to stay with you. So instead, look at which of these points do apply and would be a real benefit to your team - with minimal impact on the running of the business. When you start to do this, it gives you an edge in the market for people. Whilst some leaders and business owners may view some of these ideas as unconventional, they need to wake up to a new reality in the employment market. Those businesses that embrace this type of thinking will be the ones that attract and retain the best staff in the market. And of course, the stronger the pull of these lifestyle factors, the less importance people will place on financial matters when deciding which job they should take. As I have said before, working for you should be conducive to people's desired lifestyle - not something that prevents them from living it. Once you achieve this, you maximise the chances of people staying with you and being happy. And once you have an established team, you then have the platform for a stable business & time for you to live the kind of lifestyle you desire as a business owner and a leader.
Copyright (c) 2007 Mr Sital Ruparelia
Sital Ruparelia, 'The Recruitment & Retention Expert', works with small and mid-sized businesses that struggle with recruitment and retention issues and helps them implement strategies proven to Find & Keep The Right People quickly and cost effectively. Recieve Sital's free report, 101 Tips to Finding & Keeping The Right People now by going to this link: http://www.authenticresourcing.com/
Sital Ruparelia may be contacted at http://www.authenticresourcing.com or firstname.lastname@example.org