Did you know that the average person spends approximately 90,000 hours of their life working? That’s A LOT of time devoted to one activity. And while that paycheck every few weeks is a perk, there is so much more that factors into an employee’s job satisfaction than money alone. Employees need to feel motivated to come to work and appreciated to stay. That’s why it’s becoming increasingly more important to ensure you’re focusing on employee engagement to retain top talent.
Ask any hiring manager or HR department and they will tell you just how difficult and resource-intensive it can be to replace an employee who leaves the organization. The key is to listen to your employees proactively, not when they’re on their way out the door.
Why should I prioritize employee engagement?
Studies have shown over the years that undertaking initiatives with a focus on improving employer-employee relationships can impact all aspects of business. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) has extensive information on the definition of employee engagement as well as studies proving its impact and effectiveness. While some results are more obvious than others, the upside of these efforts far outweighs any potential upfront or ongoing investment. A few examples of the ROI can include:
Increased loyalty which leads to employee retention and lower turnover
How do I prioritize employee engagement?
Now that you’re sold on the benefits of employee engagement initiatives to retain top talent, you may be scratching your head on where to begin within your organization. Initial steps can be simple, like communicating the initiative and why you’re implementing it. Explain that it is aimed at ensuring that employees have their opinions heard. Some additional actions to consider taking include:
Take the temperature of your workforce
There is a good possibility that life looks different than it did a year or two ago for most of your employees. Distributing a survey to evaluate preferences moving forward is a great way to collect and aggregate this information in one place that is easy for stakeholders to digest. To ensure that you’re collecting honest opinions, gather the information anonymously.
Better yet, implement a process where input can be provided at any point, not only when the company is actively soliciting feedback. This truly promotes a reciprocal dialogue and empowers your employees to express their honest opinion in real time – not just when the organization deems appropriate.
After collecting this feedback, be transparent with the results
While taking that initial step to solicit feedback will generate some goodwill in your workforce, it will feel slightly disingenuous if you don’t take action afterward. Follow-through is critical. Compile the information provided, see what is working well, and note the areas for improvement. Then use this data to formulate a strategy for how your organization will utilize it to guide decision-making for the future. And lastly, make the final product accessible. By sharing the feedback – both positive and constructive – you’ll enhance your credibility and the trust between employer and employees.
Show constant appreciation
Do your employees ultimately know that they were hired to do a job? Yes. But this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take the opportunity to recognize them for a job well done. This can be as simple as sending a quick note acknowledging their hard work and thanking them for their dedication to the company’s mission. It can also be done in a more public-facing way such as a blurb in a newsletter or a shoutout in a company meeting.
Bonus tip: Implement an employee-based merit program to encourage your workforce to nominate their peers for recognition. If an employee receives a certain number of nominations, consider offering rewards such as company-branded attire or a free coffee or lunch of their choice.
Don’t forget about announcing those work milestones and anniversaries as well. Whether with the company for one year or 35 years, creating a culture that exudes gratitude for loyalty will go far toward achieving successful employee engagement.
Your employees are the most important asset of your business. In today’s economy, they hold quite a bit of power as companies are tripping over one another to land those quality hires. When navigating the world of employee engagement to retain top talent, you must commit to developing a stronger relationship built on action and trust. Ask for their opinions, implement their suggestions, and habitually thank them for their contributions. Your business will be better for it in the end.