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Leaders Letters A Leadership Resource

Edition 4. September 2007

Work Environment and Employee Retention Excerpts from Skillsoft, course: Retention, Topic: W ork Environment :SkillSoft Corporation, Copyright 2002

hat makes a company a desirable place to work? For many employees, a company's work environment determines whether it's a desirable employer. A work environment is comprised of the atmosphere in which employees work and the attitude a company has toward its employees.

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A positive work environment is one of the most important reasons employees stay with a company. If the environment is poor, it's likely people won't want to be there. You can create a positive work environment by following the suggestions provided below. Demonstrate a genuine concern for employees, their families, and their communities. The first way to create a positive work environment is to show employees genuine concern for them, their families, and their community. No matter what the size of your company is, you can show employees that they're important and valued.

What can your company do specifically to show it cares? It can donate money to community charities, help with employees' needs for child care and elder care, send flowers when a new child is born to an employee or when there is a death in an employee's family. Working for a company that cares often makes employees feel connected to and proud of their company. Employees may feel there's honor in working for a company that respects people as well as the demands of business. Support a commitment to a work/life balance. Another way to create a positive work environment is to support a commitment to a work/life balance. Supporting a work/life balance means embracing the new realities of the workplace. For example, your may want to ensure that your company sets reasonable deadlines to make sure your employees work an average of 40 hours a week. Then when employees do have to work more to meet a deadline, it's not such a big deal.


Continued from page 1... Also, be generous with vacation time, holidays, and the number of personal days your employees get. In return, you'll get a dedicated and motivated work force. When a company recognizes and accommodates its workers' needs to balance work and life demands, employees are more loyal and less likely to leave.

. Provide an appealing physical environment. The third way to create a positive work environment is to provide an appealing physical environment. There are 120 hours in a five-day workweek. If you account for eight hours of sleep each night, that leaves 80 waking hours. That means that employees spend half of their waking hours at work. And many of today's employees work far more than that. Pleasant surroundings raise the quality of the work experience. A pleasant environment can be achieved by encouraging employees to "make themselves at home" in their own areas by displaying personal items. The physical environment is also enhanced with windows, good

lighting, plants, works of art, and alternatives to cubicles. Try using low cubicle walls so employees can see one another, and provide common areas in which employees can visit with one another or take a break. Most conversations begin as social exchanges but often return to work-related topics. When that happens, valuable ideas emerge. If not, employees get a needed break. Also, try to keep your work environment informal, creative, and fun. If possible, opt for a relaxed dress code and provide comfortable meeting rooms. You want your employees to enjoy coming to work. Think about the companies in which you've worked. Does one stand out in your mind as the all-time best place to work? If so, what made that company better than the others? Chances are you liked being there because of a positive work environment. Remember, having a positive work environment is an important factor in retaining employees.

Developing a Retention Strategy Reprinted from SkillGuide - Developing a Retention Strategy

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Money: Offer adequate salaries, stock options, and cash incentives.

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Benefits: Have a generous benefits plan and flexible corporate attitude

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Recognition: Acknowledge employees with public recognition accompanied by private thank yous and rewards

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Communication: Establish an atmosphere of freely shared information, support information transfer, and encourage employee-management communication.

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Career Development: Give employees learning options, provide ways for them to get training, apply what they learn to jobs in your company, and reward development achievements.

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Work Environment: Have a genuine concern for employees, their families, and their communities; support a commitment to a work/life balance; and have an appealing physical environment.

Leaders Letters are produced by the Human Resource Team of the Corporate and Finance Division and distributed to members of the Senior Leaders Group. For more information contact 894 0304.

Work Environment and Employee Retention - Leaders Letters September 2007  

A Leaders Letter resource focusing on work environment and employee retention.

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