How To Make Employees Feel Valued

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Nothing is more important to attracting and retaining talent today, says Claudia Ivanova, Head of HR for FISPAN.

It’s critical that employees feel valued today—and rewarded for their value not only with a robust compensation and benefits package but also with growth opportunities and a “space” where they can candidly communicate any concerns. Otherwise, says Claudia Ivanova, head of human resources at FISPAN, a Vancouver, Canada-based fintech, they’ll just leave.

Ivanova spoke with StrategicCHRO360 about how the pandemic and the Great Resignation have shifted employee expectations, why it’s important to offer challenging work and whether moves toward pay transparency are here to stay.

With the lingering pandemic and emergence of the Great Resignation, how do you expect employers to shift HR strategies and create workplaces that employees want to remain in for the long haul?

One of the best ideas is the simplest but can also be the hardest to do: Ensure your employees feel valued. This is one of the best ways to retain talented team members. If employees see they are valued, and see that they are being rewarded for the value they bring to the business, they won’t want to leave. If they feel undervalued, they will take their value elsewhere—it’s that simple.

When your organization recognizes you and your contributions, they will provide you with resources for further development via learning and growth opportunities, they will reward you with compensation and benefits, and they will ultimately give you all the tools necessary for you to continue to add value. You will be provided with an environment to perform your best work and the company benefits from your best-in-class contributions. It’s a win-win for both parties. 

I believe employers need to make it clear that their organization is a place for employees to start, explore and grow a career, no matter who they are. Organizations should have programs in place for interns and new graduates to start their careers, as well as learning and development programs for existing employees to ensure they are continually being challenged and developing their own professional paths.

When you ensure that an employee can see their growth opportunities at an organization, it doesn’t leave much room for them to look elsewhere. When they find everything they want and need at your organization, they won’t have time or the need to entertain other opportunities. 

What is your opinion on the hybrid workplace? Will remote work always be an option?

Some type of hybrid work environment will be the future, depending on the type of business. Employees enjoy the flexibility of working from home, but may also want the option to go into an office a few days a week. According to a survey by Accenture, 83 percent of workers prefer a hybrid work model and 63 percent of high-growth companies have already adopted a “productivity anywhere” workforce model.

For both employees and employers, work from anywhere is about owning results, regardless of where or when work happens. The pandemic has proven that employees can be just as productive, if not more productive, at home. For work from home to work in the long-term, there also needs to be a deeper level of trust: organizations need to trust employees are working just as hard at home as they do in the office, and employees need to trust that employers are giving them all the tools to be successful in the role in a remote capacity.

How can you build an inclusive workplace where employees feel connected to their jobs?

Communication and transparency are really at the heart of making employees feel connected to their jobs and to their employer. When you have open and honest feedback between an employee and their manager, it creates a vulnerable space for both individuals to feel heard and understood. They are then able to constructively provide feedback and work together, which ultimately enables a connection to the job, their work and to the organization.

At FISPAN, we encourage weekly one-on-one meetings between employees and their managers, and we have formal check-ins every six weeks to enable these conversations to happen. Creating that space for everyone in the organization can go a long way in retention efforts. 

Can we expect to see more companies taking a stance on things like paid maternity leave and pay transparency in the year ahead? 

Yes, we’re seeing more and more companies instill paid maternity leave and transparency around salaries. It’s important to take into consideration not only the well-being of the employee, but their family as well. For an employee to stay with the company in the long term, they need to feel supported in all aspects of their life. As a Canadian-based company, we provide up to 18 months of parental leave, with a six-week top up program.

According to LinkedIn’s 2022 list of big ideas, openly sharing the salaries of employees could soon become the norm at companies big and small, as employers look to create more equitable workplaces where people in comparable roles are paid similar wages. The trend has been embraced by companies such as Netflix and Whole Foods, as well as by lawmakers. The New York City Council now requires that employers in the Big Apple post salary ranges on job listings.

Companies that embrace pay transparency will likely have an easier time finding and retaining workers amid the Great Resignation and beyond.

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