What perks did the hiring manager swoon over when you did your last job interview? Was it free gym membership, event tickets, gift cards or the promise of free food at the office that made you sign the contract?
Back in the days, Black professionals fell for the bells and whistles a.k.a. enticing perks, when choosing where to work.
With a record 43 million Americans quitting their jobs in 2021, there’s a mass exodus rocking companies globally. Therefore, it’ll take more than a sweet mouth and promises to keep your talented Black employees on the roster.
Want to inoculate your business against the “great reshuffling” and labour disruptions? Check out these strategies that’ll help you hang on to your best Black talent.
1. Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI)
In an article titled 5 tips that will help you hang on to your talented Black employees, DEI professional Lauren Tucker, PhD, says Black talent and the rest of the talent force want the same things: to be safe, valued, and heard in the workplace. It starts with leaders building relationships that Tucker describes as “a two-way street, not a highway and a bike path.” Focusing on diversity without inclusion is also an exercise in futility. Retaining Black talent means changing how you recruit, hire, evaluate, and advance workers in their careers. Leaders must shift their mindset and lean into equitable programs that support job and career success for everyone. The list of biases, tokenisms and barriers to elevating in tech is the perfect recipe to push Black talent out the door. BPTN’s corporate programs, for example, can help you build your internal culture and employee retention strategies. We also recommend Obsidi for folks looking for an all-in-one experience with a diverse support system.
2. Higher Income & Better Benefits
A big paycheck isn’t everything, but for Millennials and Gen-Zs who aren’t afraid to quit and move on, it’s worth offering them competitive salary packages. A new Pew Research Center survey finds that low pay, a lack of opportunities for advancement and feeling disrespected at work are the top reasons Americans quit their jobs last year. Black workers are more likely than White workers to actively search for a new job or plan to search in the next few months, according to a Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) survey. Now’s a good time to look over that outdated pay and benefits package. Companies like Salesforce rewards its staff with special wellness, travel and education programs, and Google gives employees free legal advice and on-site medical care to supplement wages. What is your company doing, honestly?
3. A Strong Company Culture
Companies like to brag about having a “great work culture,” but what does that even mean? For Black professionals, being part of a work ethos that makes you feel safe, valued, welcomed and included is where it’s at! Take Starbucks, for example, the coffee giant is lauded for its relationship-driven, employees-first approach that encourages staff to form close bonds with each other. Even part-time staff (in the U.S.) receive stock options and health insurance. During the global financial crisis, when other companies were cutting HR costs, Starbucks invested in staff training. Building a solid company culture goes beyond getting employees to recite your mission statement. It’s an experience, a vibe, a feeling, a perception and a reality. If you’re ever curious about the culture and benefits your colleagues are getting elsewhere, look at this Glassdoor article on the Best companies for Black employees.
4. Personal Wellness & Wellbeing
Truth is the pandemic has changed a lot of things for many of us, including how we view and experience work. Employees are now faced with unique challenges like family members suffering from Covid, homeschooling kids, working remotely and not having a social life. This is where the struggle of burnout becomes real. Indeed’s 2021 Employee Burnout Report shows that 52% of respondents surveyed are feeling burned out. When employers see their team getting more fatigued, less motivated and struggling to stay focused, it’s time to step in with additional time off or leaves of absence. Personal days and mental health leave have never mattered more than they do now. Making these provisions is far better than driving more employees to throw in the towel.
5. Investment in Holistic Development
Employees are always on the move to better themselves. No one wants to remain stagnant. Elon Musk is the world’s richest man, and he’s still grinding to make himself richer. It’s no different for career growers – Black or otherwise. Employers who are making career coaching, and professional development exclusive to senior executives only, are holding back employees on the ground. It’s time to listen to employees; ask what they want and invest in their professional and holistic development. For example, it’s easy to sign up employees to be part of BPTN’s CULTIVATE Mentorship initiative, where they can grow and learn from experts. This level of support can help them to maximize their potential, boost employee morale and show your commitment to the team.
6. Creativity, Innovation & Growth Opportunities
FYI, no one is staying loyal to toxic work cultures that stifle their creativity or innovation. Today, creativity is a business asset that keeps companies competitive in the market and keeps employees sharp. Give employees the flexibility to step outside your boxes and innovate new ways of doing things. Secondly, if your employees are not made privy to a succession plan or don’t see clear paths to climb up the ranks within your company, best believe they’re already seeking out new growth opportunities elsewhere. Remember, adults under 30 are not afraid to put on their walking boots or running shoes if they’re not growing and benefitting from where they’re sitting or working.
We all love the perks that jobs offer, but as employees, the best perk is waking up every morning super excited to clock in and crush it with your team. If employers put the right systems in place, employee retention for Black talent and everyone else becomes way easier!
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‘Til next time, take care!