Each first Thursday of the month is a new installment in Stronger’s 2019 Cybersecurity Jobs Outlook Series. This month, Stronger looks how to develop and maintain a positive office culture as part of how to retain cybersecurity professionals.
With the ever increasing skills gap, keeping employees is easier than finding new ones. It may seem there are many reasons why an employee leaves a company, but it’s far less complicated. Employees don’t quit jobs — they quit bad situations. When someone leaves a company, it’s usually due to poor management, lack of recognition, being overworked, or a lack of opportunity for growth. In short, they leave because of a failure in the company culture.
How Important Is Company Culture?
Recently, Workhuman Analytics & Research Institute released its 2019 International Employee Survey Report which reported “toxic work culture (40%) as the top reason for employees feeling unsafe at work.” Most people know toxic work culture when they see it — and regretfully, many have had their own experiences of working in it. Toxic cultures have several elements in common: communication breakdowns, fear, distrust, negativity, and leadership or management being out of touch with employees. These often become breeding grounds for bullying and harassment. They also become companies where new ideas can’t thrive.
A Positive Culture Is Crucial to Keeping Employees
Not only does good company culture keep employees positive about work, but happy employees mean greater productivity and better recruiting options for the company in the future. Employees stay at companies with a positive culture and feel greater satisfaction in their work. In turn, this creates greater overall morale and improves employee cooperation which can improve company performance, generate new ideas, improve problem solving, and deliver better customer experiences — and all with less stress. Additionally, it saves companies money and time.
In a nutshell, whereas high performers quit toxic cultures, “a company culture that facilitates employee happiness means lower turnover and better company performance. Employees are loyal and companies perform better.”
How to Develop & Maintain Positive Office Culture
“Research shows that with increased recognition, appreciation and gratitude, civility increases. And when civility increases, toxicity is reduced.” Here are four steps on how to start —or continue— building positive workplace culture.
1 – Encourage honest, open communication and teamwork. Communication is more than a one-way conversation. It requires listening. When people feel heard and acknowledged, they are more inclined to share more and work together better. Teamwork benefits when people can share ideas as well as challenges in ways that turn them into opportunities.
2 – Listen to feedback and ideas from employees — and act on what is learned. Listening is important. But without acting on what is learned, it’s incomplete. If companies don’t act on what is said, employees will stop sharing and eventually teamwork will breakdown.
3 – Praise, compliment, and take care of your team. Gratitude is a powerful tool and goes a long way in displacing toxic cultures. Everyone likes to feel heard and appreciated for their ideas or contributions. The fastest way to make people feel valued is by praising and complimenting their efforts.
4 – Create clear goals with employees, not just for them. Often toxic cultures assign goals that are unrealistic and leave everyone struggling, stressed, and disappointed with themselves and their colleagues. Encourage employees to stretch and improve but listen to their concerns — doing so will help reduce stress, create greater opportunities for growth, and increase job satisfaction.
Even if your larger organization falls short in some of these areas, anyone in management can pick up the reins and create a positive culture within their team.
Specifically: How to Retain Employees in Cybersecurity
According to research by (ISC)², only 15% of cybersecurity professionals had ‘no plans’ to leave their current employment last year. That means 85% of professionals were at least considering if not actively looking for new employment. This group is often contacted daily by recruiters, making changing companies incredibly easy. Retaining them may also be just as easy.
How? Listen to them.
The same (ISC)² research reported that cyber professionals want their opinions taken seriously (68%), prefer clearly defined responsibilities (62%), and prioritize employee training and tech investment (59%). Considering “the total costs of employee turnover can be as much as 90-200% of an employee’s salary,” listening to employees and investing in their training is more economically advantageous than finding a replacement — especially in today’s competitive market.
With a growing gap between the number of professionals needed in cybersecurity and the number that exist, retaining employees is crucial. Creating a culture that will help the company excel and employees thrive (and choose to stay) is key. Listen to employees. Encourage and provide skills updating and new knowledge training. Praise and support them. Stay aware of what is going on with them — at work and otherwise — and listen to what they need. The investment in employees is an investment in the success and growth of the company.
This is an important topic to us at Stronger. We are committed to helping companies develop a culture of cybersecurity — and this includes a positive work environment. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-877-810-7898 to talk about your needs and concerns and to find out how we can help your company be stronger, more prepared, and better trained.