Guide to Employee Engagement & Retention

Employees want to feel as though they are valued and not like they are just another cog in the machine. Here is a guide to assist your business in increasing employee engagement and retention.

What Is Employee Engagement and Retention?

When running a business and managing employees, you want your employees to be excited to come to work every day. When employees feel engaged at work, they are not just engaged with the work itself, but they want to be satisfied with their work. Beyond that, employees want to feel engaged with their colleagues, and the company's mission, objectives, and goals.

By creating a work culture that promotes employee engagement and satisfaction, businesses are likely to see increased productivity, profits, and reduced staff turnover.

What Is the Importance of Employee Engagement?

Employees who feel engaged are more likely to be committed to the quality of their work, and the overall development of their organization, which leads to employee retention.

When employees feel engaged with their organization and their colleagues, they are more likely to develop a sense of loyalty that leads to longer periods of employment, perhaps until retirement, vastly increasing employee retention.

Employee Retention Strategies

In the current employment landscape, retaining valuable employees is a critical priority for employers across all industries in the US. 

Many businesses believe that the key to retaining employees is offering free coffee and snacks, and allowing employees to dress casually on Fridays. This is a strong start to creating a warm atmosphere, but to retain top talent businesses need to take into account several other factors.

These factors consist of the following:

Work-Life Balance

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, most employers required their employees to go into the office every day and work on-site. 

Now that workers have become accustomed to the positive work-life balance that hybrid and remote work provide, employees strongly consider their work-life balance when finding employment. Employees now enjoy the ability to save countless hours of commuting to and from work and can spend more quality time with their families. 

Employers can help employees maintain a more positive work-life balance through various solutions. These solutions include:

  • Hybrid work opportunities
  • Flexible work hours
  • Emotional wellness programs
  • Physical wellness programs

Professional Development Opportunities

A driving factor of having a high turnover rate at a company is a lack of opportunities for professional growth. 

Employees who feel like the work they are doing is not going to lead to any growth within the company will become disinterested in their work, leading to frustration and the employee looking elsewhere for job opportunities. 

In order to help employees grow, employers need to make them feel valued and show them that they have a future within the company by helping them accomplish their goals. This can come in the form of promotions, learning new skill sets, and expanded responsibilities.

Recognition of Wins

Going hand in hand with professional development, employees are more likely to feel engaged with their work if they are working towards a reward or recognition of some kind. 

Although getting a bump in pay is seen as a great reward, many employees don’t just want to be paid more, they want to see their work make an impact. 

When employees are only getting recognition through pay, they can still feel undervalued and overlooked if it feels like more of a routine raise. Recognition can be as simple as recognizing a personal achievement of a colleague, or a “shout-out” from a manager in a company town hall meeting.

Best Practices for Getting Employees Engaged

When trying to set your business apart and drive employee engagement, there are things that employers can do to help. 

Here are some best practices for boosting employee engagement:

Smooth Onboarding and Offboarding

Getting employees engaged begins with the onboarding process. Starting at a new company can be intimidating, however, if your business has a smooth onboarding process that sets new hires off in the right direction from the start, they are more likely to feel engaged with their work environment. 

Further, meeting colleagues who have been at the company for a long period of time shows that the company is investing in its employees and wants to retain them as long as possible. 

When employees decide to leave the company, the offboarding process can help the company understand any challenges employees may have faced during their time at the company and why employees are moving on to other opportunities. 

Taking this information into account can help the company ensure positive future employee experiences.

Set Clear Expectations

Employees like to be given clear directions and responsibilities. 

When employees feel unsure about their responsibilities, they are more likely to develop anxiety from work and feel disengaged.

Give Transparent, Timely Feedback

Feedback goes both ways. By collecting feedback from your employees in a transparent and timely manner, your business can see where its strengths and weaknesses are when it comes to employee engagement. 

On the other hand, giving employees feedback can assist them in accomplishing their goals and ensure they are on the right track with projects and tasks.

Refrain from Micromanaging

If there is one thing that every employee in the modern workforce despises, it’s being micromanaged.

 Employees are hired to do their jobs, so let them do their jobs. Part of what drives employee engagement is the ability to work in an autonomous environment, where employees are allowed to freely think and collaborate with their colleagues without the watchful eye of management.

Employees who are able to work in an environment where they have managers who trust their work and trust their teams to complete their tasks will thrive and further the objectives and overall goals of the entire organization.

Invest in Employees

One thing that draws employees into your business in the first place is the opportunity for growth. Employees who have opportunities to grow their skills and progress within an organization are less likely to feel like they are just another cog in the working machine. 

Offering growth opportunities shows employees that they are not replaceable and the business wants to invest in them.

Be Flexible with Work Models or Hours

As mentioned, the modern workforce consists of hybrid, remote, and in-person employees. 

With many employees being remote most of the time, it is important to establish a way to engage with them as well. This can be achieved through methods as simple as personal messaging or weekly team meetings via Zoom or Microsoft Teams. 

It’s also important to be flexible with work models and hours to keep your business competitive in the post-pandemic work landscape.

Get Help With Employee Engagement and Retention

Businesses that are struggling with employee engagement and retaining employees may want to reach out to a New York Payroll and HR Company that can help with things such as streamlining the onboarding process and developing top talent with a powerful performance management tool.

Contact us today to learn more about how we are already helping countless businesses with employee engagement and retention.

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