Employees are a critical asset for any business. They are the bridge to your customers and prospects; thereby influencing purchase decisions and impacting attitudes toward your brand. Employees also give your brand personality by transferring their own voices to your brand through interactions with customers, posts on social platforms, and even by embedding your products with their own special sauce. Think about Steve Jobs during his tenure with Apple Computers, for example, or Sir Richard Branson of Virgin fame. Each of these men effectively transferred their flamboyant personalities to the products produced by their organizations. Therefore, protecting your employees from a range of factors that threaten their productivity or tenure with your organization translates into improved performance for your organization.
Employees leave a firm for any number of reasons, such as better fit, more responsibility or opportunity for advancement, better working environment, being overworked or burned out, lack of sufficient rewards, poor management, or a combination of reasons. Because the cost of replacing an employee is high – some studies suggest the costs range from 16% for low-wage employees to 213% for highly educated employees – employee retention is something you must dedicate time and other resources to reduce.
However, these costs refer mainly to inefficiencies create by the laps necessitated to hire new employees and the learning curve experienced while they get up to speed with your operation. Missing from this evaluation are the emotional costs experienced when you lose a valuable employee. For instance, customers grow attached to seeing their favorite hairdresser, nail tech, or even wait staff at your restaurant. These factors may lead customers to track down their preferred service provider and transfer their loyalty to the new business. In the case of professionals, such as lawyers, accountants, and doctors, this tendency is exaggerated by the intimate information shared with these professionals, as well as the perceived effectiveness achieved through experience over the time span of the relationship.
Protecting your employees
Strategies for retaining employees vary greatly across industries and business models.
Furthermore, these protections must be equal, appropriately applied, and understood by those working for you. Protecting your employees from aspects of the job that potentially cause harm, either emotional or physical, has obvious value in improving employee retention.
Toward that end, I’ll discuss strategies to aid in protecting your employees.
Providing suitable working conditions
Providing suitable working conditions isn’t simply a tool for protecting your employees from physical harm, it’s the law in most developed countries. In the US, OSHA (occupational safety and health association) sets standards to protect employees from harm. As part of the Department of Labor, OSHA sets regulations for most private-sector employees as well as public employees in certain locations.
OSHA regulations cover a wide range of business practices from safety during the pandemic to designating safe walking areas around machinery and designating exists, to environmental conditions such as noise levels, to the handling of hazardous materials. Other work conditions, such as hourly wages, are covered under Department of Labor regulations. Pay careful attention to relevant regulations for your industry and be proactive in avoiding danger by monitoring your business for potential harm. Also, offering an on-site infirmary helps in protecting your employees as does a well-designed plan for a potentially harmful event, such as a natural disaster, fire, or damage to the structure.
Effective legal protections
It’s important to remember that excellent legal protections and representation are often the last resort in a difficult situation for protecting your employees and their actions against fraudulent or mishandled claims. Having the best truck accident lawyer on hand, for instance, can help your firm if difficulties arise, or in the slightly heightened potential for a road accident.
Furthermore, a diligent logistical tracking policy and the means by which to document every journey (such as with dashcams) help protect your staff in times of difficulty or when facing disputes over accidents and the causes behind the event.
Of course, legal protections don’t stop with accidents. Ensure protection for your employees from discrimination and sexual harassment with mandatory training for all employees and set up procedures for employees who feel they experienced either illegal action on the job.
Personal & professional security
Businesses have a wealth of private information such as social security numbers, home addresses, phone numbers, and even such things as license plates for employees’ private vehicles. Without this information, a business couldn’t pay employees or monitor their parking lots. However, the indiscriminate release of this information puts employees at risk, as recent events demonstrate. A judge was the victim of a deranged individual who accessed her address and showed up at her door. He killed her only son and injured her husband, leading to demands to protect private information better.
Thus, it’s absolutely essential to consider how private information might all into the hands of someone without the right to this information by protecting your employees with personal and professional security procedures you implement as part of the necessary collection and utilization of personal information in your daily administrative tasks.
Consider switching to cloud computing that provides remote access to those with a legitimate reason to access information while storing personal data on encrypted servers, thus removing the necessity for your staff to make copies of data housed in a centralized computer system when working in a remote location.
Professional security of this nature might also include recommending your staff not add their workplace to their social media bios – just so they have that extra element of security, or keeping the ‘meet the team’ page on your website quite vague. These habits help in protecting your employees to avoid endangering them.
Managing burnout & overworking
For employees who don’t receive sufficient break time or who face a situation where they can’t complete the tasks assigned within time constraints, burnout often results. And, burnout results in negative consequences for the employee, such as sleeplessness, weight gain, depression, and headaches. But, these negative consequences impact your firm’s ability to operate effectively and efficiently. For instance, productivity declines, mistakes increase, and., ultimately, employee turnover. Managing burnout not only works toward protecting your employees, it’s a good strategy to get the most from them at work.
Of course, helping employees avoid burnout and overwork is hard to do, as it’s hardly appropriate to ask ‘can you handle this?’ over and over. What you can do, however, is operate an open workplace where employees feel safe in sharing their feelings with supervisors in an informal manner or offer opportunities for anonymous feedback any time. While adhering to deadlines is an important organizational concern, flexibility allows workers to complete tasks as quickly and completely as possible. Thus, manage deadlines with flexibility in mind.
Also, fill open positions with the right person as soon as possible to avoid over-taxing your staff with multiple tasks. I realize many organizations used Covid as a rationale to freeze hiring but, unless the organization actually faced a decline in demand, the work has to happen and it’s unrealistic to expect the remaining staff to accomplish the same work as the larger staff.
With this advice, we can protect our employees so that we continue to be the excellent employers we hope to remain.
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