Organizations today need to rely on the commitment and engagement of their employees in order to thrive.
Sadly, only 15% of employees worldwide are engaged in their jobs according to a Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace report. (Gleeson, B., 2017). Equally concerning is the high cost of turnover. In a 2018 Retention Report: Truth and Trends in Turnover revealed that U.S. employers were expected to pay $600 billion in turnover costs in 2018 predicted to increase to $680 billion by 2020 according to the study. (Tarallo, M., 2018).
If this trend continues, organizations will struggle to survive. With the way our economy is today, more jobs than there are people to fill them, organizations will find themselves struggling if they cannot retain their employees. I wholeheartedly believe that engaged employees are a company’s most important asset. Leaders need to make employee engagement a core responsibility knowing that it is an investment in the organization.
Here are five tips to consider for engaging and retaining your employees:
1. Be the leader employees want to follow.
Numerous studies show that the number one reason employees leave their jobs is because of their supervisor. Leadership matters. We need to continually invest in our own professional development so we can be the leader our employees want to follow. We all have areas for improvement.
Employees often complain that their supervisor does not listen to them. Effective communication is a critical leadership skill and this doesn’t just equate to speaking. Active listening is incredibly important. Take time from your busy schedule to listen to your employees. They want to be heard and know that their thoughts and opinions matter. To keep employees engaged, leaders must show their employees they can be trusted. They must be approachable and show their employees that they genuinely care about them.
2. Start early. Employee engagement and retention starts upon hire.
Retention efforts should start on day one. Create a robust onboarding and training process so new employees can acquire the necessary knowledge, skills, and behaviors to become engaged members of the team. Effective onboarding also reduces employee ramp-up time. New employees should know exactly what is expected of them and have the appropriate resources and training to help them be successful. Consider assigning a new employee a buddy, someone who can show them around, introduce them to others and make them feel welcome.
3. Mentor and coach your employees.
Don’t wait for the annual performance review to provide performance feedback to your employees. Meet often especially in the first year. Take the opportunity to coach for performance improvement. Nurture the strengths and talents of your staff. Help your employees create a career plan and give them opportunities to grow. Make it part of your mission as a leader to help your employees attain their career aspirations. If career advancement is part of their career plan, mentor and prepares them for the next level. When appropriate, give your employees new experiences by having them accompany you to meetings and appointments. Mentoring builds loyalty, helps employees feel valued, and is engaging.
4. Recognize accomplishments.
Everyone needs to feel valued. Recognizing accomplishments and showing appreciation goes a long way towards driving employee engagement. Employees will want to stay with you for the long haul. Recognition also helps reinforce what you’d like to see the employee do more of. Recognizing accomplishments could be a simple thank you or a nice handwritten note. It’s also important to know what kind of recognition means the most to your employees. Some may like to be publicly recognized while others may simply prefer one-on-one recognition.
5. Inspire, demonstrate your passion and commitment.
Be able to communicate a powerful vision for the company. Show your commitment and enthusiasm for the mission and vision of the company. What really matters is when leaders are able to create enthusiasm and empower their employees. Your enthusiasm can be contagious!
Gleeson, B. (2017). “5 Powerful Steps to Improve Employee Engagement”.
Tarallo, M. (2018). “How to Reduce Employee Turnover Through Robust Retention Strategies”