The past year has been difficult for most workers, with fears about looming shutdowns and missing family and friends. Even those who work virtually may worry about whether their jobs will remain after the holidays. Now is a great time to prepare for the new year and how you’ll support your e-commerce employees.
2020 has changed the landscape of how employees work. According to Stanford economist Nicholas Bloom, about 42% of the U.S. workforce is now remote. For e-commerce employees, the change may be due to their brick-and-mortar stores moving online, or they may see an increase in people shopping digitally.
With more jobs online, that means you’re also competing to keep your well-trained and skilled employees more than ever before. Whether you run a call center or let people telecommute, there are numerous benefits you can offer no matter what size your company is.
If you don’t support your employees and build them up, you can be certain some other company will try to woo them away. Here are six perks to offer your workers to keep them engaged and loyal to your company.
1. Offer Paid Volunteering Opportunities
Give your employees the gift of giving their time to causes they care about. In a survey by Work for Good, researchers found that 93% of nonprofit employees feel engaged with their work. The reason? They feel a sense of meaning in all they do.
While you can’t offer the same level of philanthropy, you can certainly let your employees have this feeling at least some of the time. Give them a few days a year they can use to volunteer for causes they care about in their own local communities. Or, adopt a program as a company and pay them if they want to volunteer.
Keep in mind that not everyone has a cause or wants to do volunteer work. The offer should be open to all but not compulsory.
2. Improve Insurance Options
The end of the year is a good time to look at the insurance options you provide your employees. With this concern bigger than ever for many workers, they’ll look for the outfit that gives them the most coverage for the lowest cost.
While you can’t compete with huge call centers such as Chewy or Ameritrade, you can certainly offer perks by looking for plans that are a bit unique.
Seek out life insurance coverage, so your workers know their loved ones will be okay if something happens to them. Educate them on the difference between term and whole life insurance. List all the benefits of the different health care plans, including how much deductibles are and what portion you’re paying. Be transparent so they don’t feel deceived later.
3. Listen to Their Input
When people feel heard, they are much more likely to respect their leaders. Ask your employees for input on their jobs and how they feel things might improve. If you don’t get much response, allow them to share information anonymously. Many may fear retaliation for complaints.
Ask them if they have any ideas for improving processes. Find out what perks they’d like to see added. They may come up with ideas you hadn’t thought of, such as a coffee break area for the office.
4. Encourage Resolutions
Many people make resolutions in the new year. However, in a study by the University of Scranton, researchers found that 30% of goal-setters gave up on their resolutions within two weeks. The stress of life, work and personal situations all combined to make it difficult to stick with new habits.
You can help your workers by offering programs that encourage them. For example, start an office healthy eating group and reward those who stick with the program. Give at least two breaks a day and encourage workers to take a walk or get some fresh air. Ask how you can help them achieve their goals. Offer support wherever possible.
5. Support New Staff
Think of ways to better train the new hires coming in and make them a part of your company culture. For companies where the staff works 100% from home, this can be particularly challenging.
One idea is to set workers up with a mentor who can show them the ropes and answer the hundreds of little questions someone has when first learning a new platform.
Also, look for ways to train them in simulations, so they’ll understand how to complete their jobs more efficiently. For customer service reps, this might involve mock phone calls with disgruntled customers and learning the best ways to handle complaints. For other roles, try to think of the most challenging aspects of the job.
6. Invest in Your People
There is a direct correlation between training and employee engagement. Workers want to feel you’re investing in them and grooming them for higher roles in the company. Dissatisfaction sets in when people feel overlooked, but with a self-guided training program, they are in charge of their trajectory within the company’s hierarchy.
In addition to individual training, spend resources teaching management how to build up workers and pull a team together. Find opportunities for team-building. For remote teams, this might look like a Google Meet meetup, online chats via software platforms such as Mango or Facebook, and reaching out via email and SMS for regular chats.
Keep Them Enthused
With a majority of employees feeling unengaged and stating they’d accept another job offer, it’s more important than ever to make sure you show your workers you care about their well-being and career path.
Take the time to check in with individuals. Give them opportunities and perks they can’t get from the larger corporations. Truly care about the people investing themselves in building your company and you’ll gain loyal workers who will stand the test of time.
Lexie is a digital nomad and graphic designer. If she’s not traveling to various parts of the country, you can find her at the local flea markets or hiking with her goldendoodle. Check out her design blog, Design Roast, and connect with her on Twitter @lexieludesigner.