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Employee engagement is more than just employee perks, ping pong tables, and communal workspaces. True engagement is the emotional commitment to the company and its goals. You’ve probably heard about employee engagement a lot recently. That’s because the problem is real. Only 55% of companies have a strategy to fix engagement problems, and some studies show that number is even lower. What’s even more troublesome is that 98% of CEO’s don’t pay attention to engagement data.
So why does having an engagement strategy matter? Employee engagement and employee retention are strongly connected. Not only is retention important because of the current labor shortage, it’s also important to your organization’s bottom line. The cost of turnover includes lost productivity, lost profits, recruitment, training, and more. A Deliotte report found that the average cost to replace an employee is around $7,000. While this number might seem reasonable, in a large organization with high turnover, this number adds up quickly. Additionally, what this number doesn’t represent is the cost of productivity, which is estimated in some studies to be as high as $120,000 per employee.
Another impact high turnover has on your organization is on company culture. High turnover companies have a hard time building the culture they want because there are few long-term employees to demonstrate the desired behaviors. Additionally, when employees see frequent turnover, it sets a negative tone and prompts them to question why they are staying.
Engagement can have a major impact on retention. As stated above, engagement is the emotional commitment to the company and its goals. If an employee is emotionally committed to a company and helping that company reach their goals, why would they want to leave? Not to mention, if an employee feels a strong bond with their organization’s mission and goals, they become an effective brand ambassador. They build stronger relationships with customers and clients, helping the company increase sales and profits.
So how do you get your employees emotionally connected to the organization? There are three key factors: Management, Culture, and Development.
You may have heard people don’t quit their jobs, they quit their bosses. That’s because managers play a key role in employee engagement. Unfortunately, many managers end up in their position, not based off of their innate ability to lead others, but because they were a top performer in their former position. This leads to managers who are unaware of how to properly lead and motivate. Many don’t realize that each employee needs to be managed differently, based off of their own personal set of drivers and motivators. Taking the time to understand what each employee needs not only shows your employees that they are truly valued, it also allows you to properly motivate them. This in turn drives up performance and productivity. Additionally, when we get our needs met, we tend not to leave. So taking the time to properly train your managers on how to effectively lead their teams will have a lasting impact on employee retention.
Create a culture that encourages, supports, and motivates employees to do their best work. There are a lot of ways to do this, but part of it goes back to the first point. Make sure you know what each employee needs to do their best work (because it will be different than everyone else). You can also include informal meetings that encourage employees to give open and honest feedback. Organize company outings where employees can get to know each other in a casual, laid-back setting. Whatever you do, your culture should remind people of why they’re there. While the elements that make up your culture will be unique, determining the desired culture will be the responsibility of leadership.
Employees today value education and learning opportunities. They want the chance to grow professionally. Organizations that provide those opportunities tend to see greater retention rates. There are two main reasons for this. One, when you show employees the growth path they can take within your organization, it allows them to see a future with the company. They won’t have to seek out new and larger opportunities at other companies. Two, when you are willing to invest in your employees’ growth and education, your employees feel valued. They realize that you see potential in them, and that you want them to stick around for the long haul. When you instill this sense of value in your employees you not only empower them to do their best work, you also create a sense of loyalty.
Retention is a real issue that should be addressed. Not only does high turnover effect your organization’s bottom line, replacing employees in becoming increasingly difficult. Improving employee engagement can help improve retention and also have the added benefits of increased productivity and greater employee satisfaction.
Not sure where or how to start with employee engagement? Contact Center for Victory today!