Employee engagement and retention are not just buzz words. In many markets, the search for great coworkers is getting more and more difficult. People are choosing their employers and looking for good leadership practices. Companies need to shift their focus from merely filling jobs to growing their talent from within, engaging and retaining employees.
A recent Gallup study showed only 34 % of employees worldwide were engaged, whereas the vast majority of employees were either “not engaged” or “actively disengaged” in the workplace. This means that nearly two-thirds of the workforce is either just going through the motions of their daily jobs or are actively looking for a new job. The research further states that engaged employees tend to be significantly more productive, less likely to leave, and deliver better quality of work, which can all be directly tied to the bottom line.
The following are some best practices for organizations to maximize employee engagement and retention of top talent.
Establish plans for growth and development
One of the main drivers of employee engagement is the opportunity to grow both personally and professionally. People flourish in environments that support learning and development with continuous skill growth as part of the overall package. Being both open and clear about potential career paths as well as opportunities to work on special projects, receive feedback from others, and grow outside of their specific area of responsibility and even outside of the organization.
Ensure organizational feedback loops are in place
Satisfied employees are far less likely to leave. Utilizing multiple methods of gathering data and testing the organizational climate, and then acting on the feedback is important to staying on top of the company engagement levels. Monitor employee satisfaction with frequency using both quantitative and qualitative means.
Maximize “Head Heart and Hands”
You can buy a person’s hands (pay them to do a job), you can give them the knowledge about how to do it (the head) but it is not until you have their heart that you have the full person. When you have the head heart and hands you will get discretionary effort and much deeper levels of employee engagement. Evaluating the level of connection each employee has with the organization and job, including fit in the workplace, richness of personal connections, and what a person would have to give up if they left. The more embedded the employee, the more likely they will stay.
Be diligent in the onboarding – first impressions count
New impressions are formed fast, and events that occur in the first hours and days can strongly predict turnover six to 12 months later. A best practice is providing clear and early communication about culture and values, combined with frequent check-ins from multiple sources.
There is no substitute for good leadership
People join organizations but leave their manager. Coworkers want leaders who are committed to the growth of their people, their teams and the business. Companies can minimize churn by taking proactive steps — ultimately saving the company costly salary and training expenses.