Engagement is Key
What if I told you that the secret to increasing employee retention is not solely based on the employees you hire? It turns out that hiring great talent is only the first challenge you will face when selecting, securing, and maintaining a relationship with great employees.
Understanding employee retention goes beyond tips on interviewing and how to screen applicants. While hiring the right person for the job is the best first step, other factors can decide whether that great employee stays or moves on to other opportunities.
After you find the right people, the tools and training that employees are given to work with, how their managers interact with them, and how valued the company makes them feel is what determines the rest. This is a concept known as engagement.
Create the Right AtmosphereEmployee engagement is the driver of a happy, enthusiastic, and passionate workforce.
Engagement? What do you mean, engagement? They come to work, and I pay them – isn’t that engagement enough?
Not anymore. Employee engagement is your employees’ connection to your mission, the why-do-you-do-what-you-do-and-why-should-I-care statement. That’s one way to look at it, but more often than not it is also the atmosphere you feel when you enter a workplace.
Are the workers happy? If work has a pleasant atmosphere, it’s as palpable as the dreary places where miserable employees watch the clock all day pining for home. Happy employees are engaged in the work they do, whereas unhappy employees are not.
Ask yourself: Is this workplace mired down in bureaucratic red tape, excessive rules that don’t make sense, fear, or putting the right cover sheets on the TPS reports? If so, I can almost guarantee you do not have an engaged workforce.
Listen to FeedbackThe next way to increase employee engagement is to sit down with your employees, and ask them questions like “How are you doing?” “What do you think about this job? Is it meeting all of your needs, or are some parts of it getting on your nerves?” Listen to what they have to say and take action to implement the suggestions that make sense for your company. Feeling heard will go a long way (along with your efforts) to increasing employee engagement.
Speaking of those other companies, are you aware that collaboration and a greater sense of purpose are vital motivating factors and sources of engagement? 74% percent of Gen Z workers prefer meaningful work over a high salary. Paying your employees a living wage is vitally important to keep them on the job, but you also have to give them the right tools for the job, our next suggestion for improving engagement.
Provide the Right ResourcesThis means not nickel-and-diming them over toner and paper. Supplying current computers and printers with excellent WIFI speeds. Give them technology, keep them up to date on the latest apps, and let them engage in social media! Why? According to the Adobe Future of Work Study in 2016, 81% of US office workers place a high value on state-of-the-art technology, and 85% of them say technology makes them more productive.
Most importantly, though, is that employees who believe their company’s technology is cutting edge report feeling “twice as creative, motivated, and valued as employees compared to ‘behind the times’ companies.” If your crew is always complaining about the computers or the phones, you will make them very happy if you took their complaints seriously and gave them better resources.
Having the right tools is one thing, but how much time did you spend onboarding your new employee? You can’t expect a worker who was thrust into a position with little training other than a standard operating procedure manual to feel engaged or even appreciated in their job. Thus we have arrived at the third way to increase engagement: comprehensive and interactive onboarding.
Providing Better OnboardingSet your employees up for success by taking responsibility for their integration at their new job through the onboarding process. Onboarding should last for weeks or months, depending on your organization, and should never be a one day only process. This will vary for small businesses, medium businesses and large businesses.
The aim should be to not only teach your new employees about their new job and make them feel like the valuable asset they are, but also give them a chance to absorb the company culture and learn how they can contribute and thrive.
Engage new employees in ongoing discussions, provide milestones and goals, and give them ample opportunities to address questions and issues as they arrive. As new hires become comfortable, offer them frequent opportunities to experience new challenges, such as cross training or temporary leadership positions.
Making them feel valued in this way can help drive personal motivation, which is often mistaken for engagement, and brings us to the fourth and fifth suggestions for increasing engagement: keep them motivated and be transparent.
Provide Motivation & TransparencyMotivation involves meeting your employees’ needs to feel secure, appreciated, and recognized for their contributions. Reward their accomplishments regularly, especially when they meet goals or engage in teamwork. A little pat on the back goes a long way toward making an employee feel appreciated, and its importance cannot be understated.
Along those same lines, be transparent in your dealings with your staff. Transparency leads to trust, and any stable relationship is built on trust. Being transparent in your communication regarding their purpose and how their efforts contribute to company goals can help them stay motivated to the task at hand. Everyone knows the stakes, and everyone works to achieve them.
If this is the type of workplace you already have, then you won’t need tips on retaining employees – it won’t be much of a problem. If not, however, bear in mind that it may not be the people you’re hiring – the problem might be a lack of employee engagement in your workplace.