If the Great Resignation has taught us anything in 2021, it’s that our employees’ needs must come first. Companies that want to experience sustainable retention in the coming years should take a people-first approach that emphasizes community-building, visible career development, upskilling and reskilling, and DEI, among other worker demands. Meanwhile, this all needs to take place in a hybrid work environment that allows workers the flexibility of remote work or the ability to come physically into and safe and friendly workspace.
In a recent Forbes article, we explored how we try to symbolize these ideas at MentorcliQ through our newly-remodeled office space. Unveiled at our annual company retreat, cliQfest, we were excited to show off an office space that takes heavy cues from the comforts of working from home, while enhancing continued needs for safety.
Our new office (with more pictures below!) is just part of the great efforts we’ve put in as we strive to live by the principles of the solution we provide to clients. As a mentoring software provider, we help hundreds of companies worldwide improve their employee engagement, reduce turnover, and create the kind of community-focused culture that helps modern workers thrive in their careers. For us, this is realized through three ideals that we believe are important for every organization: listening to employees, embracing change, and creating a positive community at work.
1. Listen to Employees
Workers are speaking with their feet right now, especially in certain industries such as healthcare, education, and professional and business services. Turnover rates are at an all-time high. Millions of positions are going unfilled. Stories like this one are part of the reason why. Workers are looking at how they were treated before and during the pandemic and deciding that there must be something better.
A key part of that “better” they are looking for is a real, tangible, family-like community at work. People desperately wanted connection during the pandemic. A strong need for connection is in our DNA. It’s no wonder that mental health concerns like depression tripled during the pandemic.
Virtual and physical connections
For us, connectedness remained top-of-mind throughout the pandemic. We used our own platform to sustain worker relationships by way of 1:1 mentoring, ERGs, and monthly group chats. And we made sure these were distinctly focused on personal, social, and emotional needs, not just on accomplishing business or team goals.
And once vaccines were readily available, we jumped at the chance to host our annual cliQfest event once again. We put it on hold during 2020. By the time cliQfest came around in October 2021, our team had more than doubled in size. It was an excellent time for both tenured and new team members to meet (many for the first time), enjoy each others’ company, and experience the exciting features built into our newly-renovated office space.
Inspiring Plant wall by @columbus.aesthetic
Respond to worker needs
Employers must be proactive in identifying what their workers need. Once this is understood, they must do more than pay lip service to those needs. Team members should see a dedication to that by seeing actions materialize as quickly as possible. Doing so will attract the type of talent organizations most want to have on board, and will ensure talented professionals don’t leave for competitors offering a better experience.
When Priscilla Ricuarte, a Client Partner with MentorcliQ, joined the company in 2021, she found exactly the type of worker-centric environment she desired. Although Priscilla lives several states away from MentorcliQ’s home office in Columbus, Ohio, she already knew meeting her colleagues in person for the first time was going to make a lasting impression. The question was what kind of impression it would be, and whether it could be a good or bad experience.
“In most situations, meeting your colleagues in person for the first time after a year of remote work can seem nerve-wracking,” she said, “...unless you work for a company with a foundation rooted in an inclusive and fun culture.”
On the new office space, Priscilla explained,
“It was clear the new MQ office was designed and modernly styled to fit the spirit of our new hybrid work lifestyle. From hammock chairs to purple couches, there was a multitude of spaces available for us to collaborate with team members and get to know one another after a year of remote work.”
The annual cliQfest event, a new office space, and a fun environment are only part of how MentorcliQ has listened to what employees want. Other benefits that align with modern worker needs include hybrid work options, competitive salaries, paid leave, healthcare coverage, a strong DEI focus, and a unique charitable donation program called cliQgive that offers a $1 to $1 match for employees’ charitable donations.
2. Embrace Change
Change is hard. Businesses may spend hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars researching, drafting, testing, and then operationalizing people strategies. It’s hard to let that go. But today’s high turnover rates and ongoing retention struggles almost speak for themselves. Over 10 million people quit jobs during the summer 2021 season. That number was 4.4 million in September 2021 alone, a record-breaking month according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data.
So what does change look like in 2022 and beyond? For some companies, it will mean going back to the payscale drawing board to adjust wages, offer reskilling and upskilling opportunities, and promote employee engagement. For many workers who are headed back to the office, however, these strategies may not be enough.
A 2019 Harvard survey discovered that workers want to be happy in their workspaces. They consider that essential for emotional and mental wellbeing. And a big ask on that end is better air quality and natural lighting.
Our newly revamped office space gives our teams just that. We renovated a vastly open space that follows the open concept. Large windows that let in an exceptional amount of natural light are emphasized, while the workspaces and relaxation spaces are located in line with those windows. The open concept also ensures better air circulation and air quality.
Work environment beautification is particularly relevant following the pandemic. Working from home allowed many team members to be in more comfortable environments than they were accustomed to at the office. Giving that up may be hard. Crafting a workspace they find comfortable and inviting will help ease the transition back to the office — and could even make them excited to be there.
According to Justin Burch, a Client Development Consultant at MentorcliQ, the new office was a pleasant surprise after numerous rumors. “As someone who was lucky enough to see HQ1, I knew the capabilities of our team to turn a space into something magical,” he said.
Justin joined MentorcliQ early in 2021. He was among the select few 2021 new hires to experience MentorcliQ’s old office space. For him, the new space helped embody why he joined the MentorcliQ team.
“The colors were vibrant and bright, yet it had this very home-like feeling to it that was comfortable. Open areas to work and collaborate, private booths to make calls and have meetings, swings and a couch for a change of scenery, and even a fully stocked kitchen to round it all off. What an amazing place to work with some of the most amazing people on the planet and bring the greatness of mentoring to the world.” Justin, who lives and works remotely in Atlanta, enjoyed his experience at the new office so much that he now makes pictures of the new office his background on video calls.
3. A Place to Call Home
At MentorcliQ, we believe there’s a cultural shift in work happening as we speak. We also believe that our new office space will help exemplify our dedication to our most important asset: the worker. These are ideals we’ve envisioned from the start, which is why — even in the midst of historic quit rates — we’ve enjoyed exceptionally high employee retention.
All photography by: Samuel Walker Photography
Our nearly-perfect Glassdoor ratings are the realization of that dedication and represent what’s possible for any organization that chooses to use a people-first approach to engagement and retention.
Nicole Anelas, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Community Director, joined MentorcliQ in July 2021. Her experience with joining MentorcliQ was unique, to say the least, but a reflection on why MentorcliQ has continued to find success with engagement.
When the VP of Employee Experience at MentorcliQ contacted me for my role at MentorcliQ. I was interested but a little hesitant. She was so warm and inviting and spoke about MentorcliQ with a lot of passion. After meeting with her, I knew I wanted to invest my career with this company. As I researched the company, the Glassdoor reviews were all great! I told myself, “This must be a scam...no one is this perfect”. Throughout each interview I heard nothing but good things, spoke to other employees and heard nothing but great things overall. But I still wanted to make sure that people were being honest and this wasn't a scam. I asked everyone I interacted with all the way up to the CEO to double check this was real, and it was! I was amazed looking at the office for the first time. It was so beautiful and spacious and open. The windows brought in natural light with amazing couches where It felt comfortable. Even though I am remote, it feels like the office is always home whenever I visit Columbus.