One key point keeps springing up when you read about the Great Resignation. Employee empowerment and satisfaction are crucial factors in retention — often even more than benefits and even salary.
It's no surprise then, that the Great Resignation has come after a global pandemic where most of us were forced to work from home. Many people learned to work in their own silos with little guidance on how to feel part of a remote team.
I have a lot of experience in hiring and retaining the best talent. Through the years, I've seen first-hand that employee empowerment is the number one factor in employee satisfaction. And it makes sense. We're all humans, and the need to belong is essential in our personal and professional lives (as per Maslow's pyramid.)
Managers must take care of employees and make them feel they can achieve any goal, have open communication, and feel comfortable when failures arrive. Allowing team members to think for themselves and collaborate among other teams also enables employees to be more creative and come up with new ideas. Studies show that when employees feel more empowered in their work, the company tends to be 21% more profitable.
Also, unengaged employees can cost companies millions. In the UK, it's estimated that disengaged employees cost the national economy £340 billion every year. Losses include recruitment costs, sick days, productivity, and creativity.
All of the above losses are avoidable, here's how:
1. Communicate with your team and make them feel part of the company
Communication is key to increasing employee empowerment. Employees should feel encouraged and part of the team as they work through their tasks. Teams need to collaborate instead of working in silos.
Moreover, company information such as strategy, goals, and priorities should be available to everyone and discussed regularly. It's also essential to allow safe space for feedback.
At Payhawk, we have a meeting with the whole team every quarter where we discuss the overall strategy and each of the teams' OKRs. We also analyze the results of the previous quarter and the main hurdles and achievements.
As a customer-centric organization, we believe that the whole team should be aware of the customers' product experience, which is possible thanks to our customer success team and a regularly updated slack channel. We use the channel to post about real-time customer needs and requests so that everyone can see how we work with customers and make sure our team adds to a positive experience for them.
Regarding talent, when a new team member joins, we share the news with the entire company via our HR Management software. We also collect feedback regularly during employee onboarding and we do 360 reviews.
2. Celebrate effort and learn from failures
Companies are used to celebrating achievements such as sales objectives, new funding rounds, or the entrance into a new market. But, I believe it's more important to celebrate the effort made to achieve the successful outcome.
Team members and management should never blame or humiliate each other for failures. Instead, they should find opportunities to learn from any mistakes. As an agile company, where testing is in our DNA, learning from failures and mistakes is vital.
Recognition, from team members, clients, and the C-suite also increases motivation. At Payhawk, we have a system to recognize outstanding efforts and we share these regularly within the whole team.
3. Eliminate mundane tasks
Allowing your team to excel will create more value in the company. One thing I've seen that works amazingly is to eliminate those mundane and cumbersome tasks that nobody likes to do — for example, expense reports, reimbursements, and managing company funds.
Thanks to Payhawk corporate cards and our expense management software, your team can access company funds safely, in no time, and with minimal effort. Company cards are a great way to empower your team; they will feel independent and part of the company as they have the freedom to use company funds to do their tasks.
In general, many of our customers have difficult employee expense and reimbursement processes when it comes to company spending. These clunky processes decrease employee satisfaction as they need to give credit to the company either with their own personal funds or with a salary advance.
Everyone at Payhawk has a company card. No matter the seniority or job title. Each card has a budget that managers can control, and thanks to customized workflows that adapt to every company structure, the level of controls is adjustable. Payhawk's integrations also allow accounting and finance teams to reduce admin work to focus on more added-value tasks like budget planning and forecasting.
4. Provide learning and self-development opportunities
Adding skills to the workforce means adding value to the company. Learning can be in the form of training, lectures, conferences, webinars, and even mentorship programs.
MIT and Deloitte's research shows that the most successful and fast-growing companies have one thing in common: their teams' continuous learning capacity. A remarkable 73% of employees in these companies update their skills every six months, and 44% update them regularly.
In general, companies are far behind regarding learning opportunities. A 2021 Salesforce survey mentions that 60% of employees believed companies were not making workforce training a top priority. It also states that employees have had fewer opportunities for workforce learning since the pandemic started.
At Payhawk, we encourage employees to ask for training, and we're in the process of implementing a learning marketplace, which means our team can have access to learning programs anytime, anywhere.
5. Offer new challenges
Keeping a team motivated is one of the hardest things as a manager. A simple way to achieve it is always to offer new challenges. Being able to see the potential in others is crucial, and it's even more important to talk about it openly. So, if you see something innovative, pioneering, or original, call it out.
At Payhawk, we always listen to new ideas, and if they're good, we test them. This approach often happens in the product team, where iterations are completed frequently. It happens in sales and marketing where team members propose new ways of customer engagement.
Also, strategically, for example, we recently started the B Corp certification process. Even though none of the B team are experts on the matter, we're slowly reaching our goal.
Looking to empower your team with intelligent, efficient processes that take away admin headaches? Read more here. Alternatively, if you're excited by what we're doing, check out our open positions here.