Children often complain that they’re bored. However, employees are less likely to announce their dissatisfaction at work. This, in turn, could lead to employee turnover. Individuals want to grow in their jobs, and in order to offer that to them you’ll need to make sure you give employees interesting and challenging tasks.
There is much greater awareness in 2022 of the importance of mental wellness at work. As discussed previously, addressing the human need for challenge and growth ties into employee wellbeing and their engagement with your company culture.
Avoiding boredom is especially important for the next generation of workers, both Millennials and Gen Z. So, if you want to appeal to the top young talent, you’ll want to prioritize opportunities to think critically and solve problems.
Knowing all that, the obvious question is: what can your organization do to give employees interesting and challenging work? Here, we’ll share 10 strategies that can help employers and managers make an important difference in this area of employee retention.
#1 Embrace challenge
The first thing managers can do is model a positive perspective when encountering challenges. Leaders will set an example. So, you want to exemplify a willingness to stick with a project and not give up when it gets difficult.
#2 Share what interests you
Developing relationships is key to employee retention efforts. By sharing what interests you about the work that you do, you can give employees a glimpse of the opportunities ahead in their career. This open communication also gives individuals a chance to ask and proactively take on a more challenging role at work.
#3 Welcome suggestions
This might also be stated as having an “open-door policy.” Managers and other leaders need to make it obvious that they are willing to hear from their employees. This gives individuals room to ask for growth opportunities. They are unlikely to come in and whine, “I’m bored.” Still, if you are open to feedback, you’re more likely to be approached with an, “I feel like I have more to offer the company.”
#4 Set goals
Managers can help energize employees with goal setting. Have individuals identify the areas where they want to be challenged and then help them set attainable goals. You don’t want the goals to be too challenging. That can cause frustration and may lead the employee to question their own abilities.
#5 Encourage employees to take risks
Strong managers recognize when their employees are getting into a rut. It’s the leader’s job to push employees out of their comfort zones. An individual that avoids new challenges or taking risks is less likely to:
- Perform at their peak
It will be easier for employees to try new approaches if you develop a safe environment for risk-taking. Communicate that learning from failures is expected. Also, encourage individuals to start small and build up to the bigger challenges.
#6 Make career path transparent
Your employees want to know that there is somewhere to go next within your company. Entry-level employees may be frustrated by doing the same duties over and over, but you can help keep them engaged by showing them what’s ahead. This can motivate them to do a great job and move up the ladder faster.
Of course, if notice that employees are feeling stuck doing tedious and mundane work, step in right away to offer something more interesting. You can’t rely on dangling the carrot of the next step along the career path to stop them from leaving your company for another opportunity.
Providing training for that next step can help make work more interesting and challenging. Additionally, it can demonstrate the high value of the work that the individual sees as routine and dull.
#7 Ask questions
If you have employees coming to you for answers, turn the tables. Instead of providing the answers, ask them to try problem-solving themselves. This aids in developing their critical thinking skills and helps to immerse them more deeply in their roles.
#8 Assign short, small team projects
Asking people to work with others can not only challenge them but also introduce them to interesting perspectives. At the same time, assigning short, small projects offers variety. They can also help employee grow more comfortable with taking chances. It’s easier to try something new when you know it’s only for a short period of time.
#9 Put people in roles they don’t like
This is definitely an approach for the short term only. Yet, if you communicate clearly what your expectations are, and why you’re putting them in this temporary role, employees can understand the value of learning different skillsets. Make sure to clarify where they can turn for support. You don’t want them to feel as if they’ve been thrown off a cliff to just figure it out.
You might ask an employee to:
- Manage a budget
- Chair meetings
- Participate in a task force
- Take over a supervisory task
- Train someone else
#10 Don’t overdo it
You can set deadlines, ask people to work in new teams, or put an introvert in a client-facing role. There’s a lot of different ways to challenge your employees. However, you don’t want to go too far. Making the work too challenging can undermine the employee’s confidence. You want to be motivating without damaging morale.
Sogolytics is here to put you on the right employee retention path. Let us help maximize your ROI. Reach out to learn more!