Fostering Resilience: Nurturing Employee Connection (Employee Retention)

February 14, 2024

This month our Round Tables discussed, “Fostering Resilience:  Nurturing Employee Connection (Employee Retention).”  Questions were asked, such as, “During turnover, how can you maintain a company culture that promotes a sense of belonging?” and “Amidst transitions, how do you communicate your company’s core values and principles to new hires and ensure that these values remain central to your workplace culture?

Last year, Jeannie Henderson, owner of Jeannie’s Cleaning, talked about fostering employee connection in her outstanding presentation at our Kalamazoo Leadership event.  This presentation is available on YouTube:

Definition of Resilience

Per a leader in our Grand Rapids Round Table, it is about the ability to bounce back from a challenging circumstance to preserve what is essential to a company, and to preserve a company’s mission.  The connectivity of team members is foundational to resilience.  

Fostering Connections with Employees
One Kalamazoo business owner with a staff that works in the field alone, fosters connections weekly, monthly, and quarterly.

  1. Each week the employees are required to visit the home office. The office is welcoming with coffee, snacks, and couches.  Employees are encouraged to connect with other employees, and they are required to watch a short video.  The video, created by the owner each week, celebrates great customer comments or Yelp reviews.  She also gives updates on employee happenings, such as weddings, engagements, new babies, or grandchildren.  She shares the personal news and successes the employees wish to share.
  2. Monthly and quarterly, the employees are invited to an employee social, where they may have a game night, or do a volunteer project together. This gives them opportunities to get to know each other. 

This leader also pays an incentive for experienced employees to mentor new hires, creating a connection immediately.   

Another business owner in Kalamazoo alerts the team to a new potential employee.  When an interview is planned, the owner lets the staff know the day, time, and the individual’s name, so that when this candidate is getting a tour of the facility, they can be welcomed by the staff personally.  Staff are expected to make sure they greet the candidates and give them a warm welcome.  They already feel a part of the team when hired.

When she brings someone on as a new hire, she immediately does something fun, like an employee picnic or a potluck.  This allows everyone to gather and get to know each other, which also melds the new person into the team immediately.

One business owner does not hire new people frequently but did last year.  It caused a concern about who is in what space, in the office.  It can cause friction, even between co-workers who usually get along.  Leaders have a real responsibility to foster those connections with any kind of change.

Long Distance Connection
One business leader from our Birmingham Round Table has employees living in Los Angeles and working from home.  Everyone is on an island.  In his weekly Monday meeting, he starts the first 10 minutes by asking each employee about their weekend, as a way for everyone to connect.  His team does not see each other at the office every day and this time is critical for team building.

Upcoming Events
Please join us for our 11th Annual Leadership Summit on Friday, March 15 from 8:00 am – 12:00 pm at the Bloomfield Open Hunt Club.

Please mark your calendar for our Grand Rapids Leadership Breakfast with Dr. Jeff Doolittle, owner of Organizational Talent Consulting on Friday, April 19th at 8:00 am at the GVSU.