Improving Employee Engagement and Retention
It’s no secret the employee retention rate for engaged employees is higher than that of less engaged employees. According to data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, three million employees have left their job voluntarily every month since June 2017. That’s a lot of valuable employees walking away – so how do you stop it from happening to you? To demystify the situation a little, let’s approach it like this. Think of a tree and its roots. The stability of the tree is only as strong as its root system. If the tree does not have deep roots, it is more susceptible to falling over by the smallest nudge, whereas a tree with a deep established root system can withstand much stronger nudges. Higher employee engagement helps develop and strengthen an employee’s stability to the nudges that can occur with their job. That is to say, an employee who feels connected, appreciated, and rooted in the company culture will be much more likely to stick around. So how do you help your employee put down roots? Here are a few ideas to consider.
Lean Into the Mission
When the company’s mission is solid and you’re transparent about it from the beginning of the hiring process, you’re more likely to attract employees and candidates that are already aligned with that mission, leading to a higher likelihood of them putting down roots quickly. Make sure your employees know the mission and understand not only what it takes to live out this mission, but how their individual roles and responsibilities contribute to that mission and how that mission can (and should) be naturally integrated into how they approach their work. When your employees believe in and are excited to work toward fulfilling the mission, you have the beginnings of established roots right there.
Facilitate Growth Opportunities
A strong root system doesn’t exist solely because of the mission, though. The entire workplace experience contributes to whether or not an employee feels at home and is willing to stick around. That’s why it’s so important to invest in a long-lasting culture. The more involved and collaborative an employee can be with their team, the more attached they will feel to the work and your organization as a whole. Encourage managers to practice team-building activities to help these interpersonal relationships flourish. Whether it’s getting to know you games, trust-building exercises, or simply an informal happy hour that allows co-workers to connect organically, reserving space and time to emphasize the importance of those relationships is a big step toward fostering a healthy and strong root system in your employees. It’s one thing for your employees to love the work they are doing and to feel connected to the reason why they are doing it each day, but creating a cohesive team that encourages individual relationships and allows space for friendships to form simply adds another layer of roots and reasons to stick around.
A Culture of Feedback
Sure, you could make guesses at what works for your workforce, but there are better ways to determine what is working, what could be improved upon, and what flat out needs to change to help your employees grow deeper roots and loyalty to your organization. Building a culture that incorporates feedback from employees on a regular basis is a great way to do that. Constructive feedback allows an employee to develop, improve, and feel better about the job they do, while positive feedback increases job satisfaction and reinforces the feeling that they are valued within the organization. One way to achieve this is by having managers set up small pockets of time around their tasks that allows them to provide feedback to their direct reports, and creates a safe and respectful environment for their reports to provide feedback to them as well. All employees should feel good about providing feedback to colleagues, especially where it might benefit the organization’s pursuit of the mission and may help the teamwork together more seamlessly. By providing an opportunity for employees to speak their mind, this helps them feel like their opinions and concerns have the ability to truly make an impact on the overall company culture when and where appropriate.
Engagement surveys are a streamlined way to create a consistent and confidential feedback loop within your organization. At People Element, we have noted that when organizations are asked what they want to accomplish with engagement surveys, the most common answer is that they want to learn how to best increase retention. The answer, though it may vary based on industry, company size, and organizational goals, comes down to the same idea – you must create a culture and a team that fosters deep and strong root systems within its employees. Those exact metrics may seem difficult to pin down, but a well-executed engagement survey administered to employees regularly can help you key into the important drivers of retention for your company quickly, and allows you to see whether or not those drivers change over time. This allows you to create a dynamic culture that adjusts where necessary to keep employees engaged as best as possible without sacrificing the core elements of your mission. If you want to learn more about the role engagement surveys can play in increasing your retention and employee satisfaction, contact us today.