7 Strategies to Improve Engagement & Retention
Take a minute to consider how involved, committed and satisfied your employees are with the work they are doing. By now most of us understand that “people don’t quit their job, they quit their supervisor”. The key to improving engagement and retention lies in your ability to connect with your employees. Leaders can significantly influence an employee’s pride in their work and their emotional attachment to the business unit and organization.
If you want to improve your engagement scores and keep the people you’ve hired, consider these 7 strategies (adapted from Leigh Branham's book, The 7 Hidden Reasons Employees Leave):
1. Match Expectations with Reality
There is an implicit psychological contract between the employee and employer which specifies what each expects to give and receive from each other in the relationship. In many cases, there is a lack of clarity from the outset of employee expectations.
2. Select the Right Talent
In some cases employees are in jobs where there is a poor match for the skills the requirements in the role. This can lead to poor employee morale or a sense of being overwhelmed in the job. In addition, others impacted by a colleague’s lack of ability can become frustrated and de-motivated.
The first step is to select the right person for the right role. Next, practice a thorough process of assigning the right person for the task. Interview current and potential employees to clearly understand strengths and skills, enriching the job and growing employees skills as a way to build capability. Ensure you are delegating effectively to stretch, challenge and motivate.
3. Adopt a “Coach Approach”
Employees want meaningful time with their supervisor to gain feedback, build skills and stay motivated. A coach approach to working with employees is perhaps the single most important skill leaders can bring to engaging employees. The coach approach builds accountability, commitment and engagement.
4. Look for Learning & Growth Opportunities
Learning and development for employees is a shared responsibility and it is important for employees to be proactive in seeking out opportunities for themselves. Leaders need to make time to discuss career learning and development with employees at regular intervals.
5. Recognize Performance
Providing recognition for performance is an important element in engagement. Ensure recognition is timely, relevant, genuine, meaningful and understood by the employee. Consistent two-way communication with employees, listening and responding to employee suggestions, discussing organizational direction and priorities, providing employees with the tools and resources to do their job, and paying attention to the physical work environment are also highly valued forms of recognition.
6. Monitor & Manage Employee Stress
Leaders can monitor and manage stress in the workplace by initiating a culture of “giving before receiving” by ensuring employee benefits that support stress management are in place. For example, employees often appreciate having the opportunity to work flexible work hours. Leaders can build a culture that values spontaneous acts of caring – a culture of caring for each others nurtures healthy stress management.
7. Build Trust
Trust is foundational to engagement at all levels of the organization. Leaders can build trust by and inspire confidence by presenting a clear vision, a workable plan, and competence to achieve it. Back up your words with action and demonstrate your integrity by making and keeping commitments. Demonstrate your trust and confidence in workers by delegating down responsibility, accountability and authority to the most logical level.
When leaders build meaningful connections with their employees, there can be significant improvement in employee engagement and retention.
How engaged are your employees? Which of the above strategies will have the biggest impact on engagement and retention in your organization?
About Gail Daniels
Gail is accomplished at supporting organizations by providing the right set of planning tools and best practice processes to develop, map, document and follow through to execution of the Strategic Direction, Priorities and Actions. She is passionate about supporting and developing leaders to confidently lead people to inspired performance and results. Gail holds a MA Counselling Psychology and a Graduate Certificate in Executive Coaching from Royal Roads University. Gail is an avid learner who actively explores the relevance of neuroscience and emotional intelligence in leadership.