Employee engagement. It’s 2018, its importance to businesses big or small can’t be ignored or overstated. Employees who are engaged with their roles have been proved to increase their productivity, efficiency and a driver of great business results. Meaning businesses have improved their customer retention rates, as well as their profits.
In 2012, the American consulting firm Gallup undertook an impressively in-depth survey across 1.4 million people to gauge just how important employee engagement had become.
Their results were clear.
There is a direct correlation between improved employee engagement and company profitability throughout the 192 organisations and 34 different countries that the survey covered.
Key to those results, however, is lowering your staff churn. The revolving door policy for staff has long been proven to hurt a company’s bottom line.
Experts estimate it costs upwards of twice an existing employee’s salary to find, and train their replacement. Never mind the resulting morale damage a high staff turnover is likely to bring to existing members of your team.
So just how does a company, regardless of size, improve their employee engagement and reap the rewards as a result?
1. Find the right people for the job, first
Let's start with perhaps the most obvious one. Square pegs very seldom fit in round holes, as they say. Finding the right candidate for the job from the get-go, is the single best way to reduce employee turnover.
Interviewing and vetting candidates is a tricky process.
In most industries, there isn't a foolproof method to knowing ahead of time whether or not the candidate is perfect for the position. These days qualifications and previous experience, whilst important, aren't the only thing to consider anymore when hiring. Fitting company culture has become equally important.
Hiring someone who doesn’t necessarily fit the culture of their given team, often leads to a “culture debt”, creating headaches for both you and your employee. When an individual feels out of place, they’re likely to influence those around them negatively. Productivity, morale and ultimately great business results are likely to follow suit.
3. Pay your employees what they’re worth
It’s 2018. By now, there is likely to be a strong presence of millennials working within your company, tweeting away. As a result, companies are going to great lengths, to ensure the next workforce generation is happy. Nap pods anyone?
What’s become apparent is that millennials, in particular, aren’t willing to make the same mistakes the previous generation did when it comes to their careers. Benefits are now seen just as important as their basic compensation. Offering flexible working hours and locations, for example, is proven to increase employee retention rates.
Companies that allow staff to work remotely, for example, enjoy 25% lower staff turnover rates. Flexibility doesn’t only apply to millennials.
Young parents or grandparents may need to work odd hours or from a different location once a week to accommodate their kids or grandkids activities. Affording them the opportunity to do so, leads to better employee engagement meaning they are more productive and less likely to be looking for jobs elsewhere that afford them the flexibility they’re looking for.
3. Be flexible, where you can
Paying attention to employees personal needs is critical. Not every industry can allow vast levels of flexibility, but it’s important to accommodate staff where possible. Young parents, for example, may appreciate the use of an office day care centre, or even a pet sitting facility.
Facebook deemed the ability to offer staff home comforts and flexibility so important, they’ve invested $120 million into a “life facility” on the same grounds as their offices, which offers day care facilities, health and wellness programs and even a centre to look after employees pets during the day.
Not every company needs to hire someone to look after their staff’s dogs, but accommodating an employee’s lifestyle is known to improve their engagement.
4. Give your staff praise where it’s due!
Giving praise consists of more than just a hearty pat on the back. Providing meaningful recognition to an employee, regardless of how small their role may be, is the single quickest, and most cost effective way of improving employee morale and engagement.
In a recent study, a staggering 82% of employed Americans felt as though their managers failed to recognize them enough for their efforts. What’s perhaps more alarming is that 40% of those Americans believed they would work harder and achieve better results if they were recognized more regularly.
Simple emails, applauding a member of the team personally or reporting their achievements to company leadership are easy ways to not only recognition but also steer your company toward great business results.
5. Clear growth goals can drive great business results
Employees want to know where they could be headed and just how to get there. So show them.
Setting a detailed and clear growth target, that you can review quarterly or annually, for example, will give an employee something to aim for, and help you attach accountability to every staff member roles.
Not advancing in a company is often the reason employees start looking for jobs elsewhere.
A case study performed by the Southern Alpha believes that as much as 15% of people working within the United States cite being passed up for a promotion as the reason they left a company.
That’s not to say that everyone joining your team should and will be eligible for promotions and the perks associated with it.
Ultimately the ball remains firmly in the employee's court. The difference is that, by clearly outlining the path for growth, the employee has a clear understanding of the rules of the game and how to progress.
Setting a clear advancement path for employees helps retain your top performing staff, and stave clear of negative employee engagement creeping into the office space.
Truthfully, lowering staff turnover doesn’t have to be overly complicated. In fact, some would argue that the techniques we’ve covered are essentially what twenty-first management is really about.
In 2018, talent in the workplace is unlikely to hang about cold, stiff and repressive office cultures.
When you consider that HR drive believes as much as 75% of the causes of high staff turnover are easily preventable, why not treat employees as the assets they are to your business?
As with any good investment, your company will reap the rewards of their appreciation in value, happiness and great business results too.