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8 Keys to Keeping Employees Happy and Engaged During the Great Resignation Companies that focus on happier workplaces will win in the end.

By Amanda Haddaway Edited by Bill Schulz

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Workers are now demanding a certain quality of experience. Employers who can't live up to this new standard are facing higher levels of turnover, increased team relations challenges and disengagement from those that remain.

A recent survey commissioned by Wisetail found that six in ten Millennials and Gen-Xers believed leaving their most recent jobs was the best decision they've ever made, with 55% of those polled claimed that a better work/life balance was why they bolted.

We've identified eight things that most workers want from their higher-ups. You'll find that these aren't expensive initiatives, but more about how we treat each other as human beings.

Transparency

Employees have to believe in their leadership teams and have the perception that management is doing the right thing for the good of their employees and the organization as a whole. Even when there's tough news to share, the best leaders are able to articulate this information to their workers.

Feedback

Anyone who has conducted exit interviews will tell you that employees don't leave companies, they leave managers. The most commonly cited reason for leaving is that the worker didn't have a good relationship with their boss and they weren't getting regular communication or feedback. The best managers build communication opportunities into their schedules. For example, having one-on-one meetings on a weekly, or monthly basis, with each employee keeps everyone informed.

Related: How to Better Manage Corporate Culture During Times of Transition

Autonomy

It's as simple as letting workers work on their own and not be micro-managed. Autonomous employees largely self-manage, solve their own problems and tackle the day-to-day challenges of work head on. Supervisors are still there to provide assistance when the employee needs it, but it's more of a hands-off approach for the daily minutiae.

Mentoring

Sometimes workers need support from someone other than their direct supervisors. Mentoring and coaching options provide employees with a way to connect to others inside and outside of the organization. A mentor can help guide an protoge on growing within the business, identifying opportunities for personal development and refining a skillset.

Respect

This is probably the easiest item on the list to achieve, but it's worth noting that care and respect rank as top things employees want from their employers. Managers who care value their workers and pay attention to the whole person, not just their output. Employees want to feel valued and appreciated for their contributions. Caring managers are available to help when needed, listen to feedback and provide opportunities for important conversations.

Related: 7 Tips for Firing an Employee Gracefully and Ethically

Meaning

Employees want to feel like they are contributing to something bigger than themselves. This is an opportunity for companies to clearly define and share their mission, vision, values and purpose. When workers latch onto these tenets, they are more likely to be invested in a longer-term relationship with the organization.

Development

Gallup research shows that 87% of millennials rate "professional or career growth and development opportunities" as important to them in a job. Employees who don't see a career path within the organization aren't likely to spend a lot of time investigating internal options. Instead, they're working on their resumes and applying to your competitors. Development initiatives almost always pay for themselves when the outcome is increased knowledge, skills and abilities.

Well-being

The pandemic has highlighted that burnout is a very real problem in today's workforce. Companies who take efforts to care for the employee as not just a cog, but a whole person, will find they are better able to build engagement. When done properly, well-being programs give workers tools, support and strategies to adopt healthy behaviors.

Related: 3 Interview Questions To Help You Hire The Right People

Amanda Haddaway

Managing Director of HR Answerbox

Amanda Haddaway is an award-winning HR consultant, corporate trainer and certified executive coach. As managing director of HR Answerbox, she specializes in solving people-management challenges and creating successful workplace cultures.

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