This article was updated on July 18, 2018.
Employers must work to engage employees if they want to keep valuable workers. Fifty-three percent of U.S. workers surveyed feel positively about working where skills are needed, as opposed to remaining loyal to one employer, according to the ADP Research Institute® (ADP RI) report, The Evolution of Work: The Changing Nature of the Global Workplace.
Because employee turnover is expensive, and a competitive talent environment makes it increasingly difficult to find and hire the workers many organizations need, HR leaders should work to keep employees engaged and feeling needed to increase retention.
Let Employees Know They Matter
Employees are likely to be more engaged — and willing to stay with their current employers — when they feel that their work is meaningful to the organization and makes a difference. Of course, many employers believe that every position is vital to their work, but employees may not inherently see their value to the organization. You can help your employees feel valued and understand their impact with these three tips.
3 Ways to Engage Employees
1. Clarify Each Employee's Position in Relation to the Organization as a Whole
It's ideal to take this step when new employees first join the organization. During the onboarding process, HR leaders should explain each employee's role in the whole scheme of the organization. However, if that hasn't been done before, it's never too late. Through staff meetings or one-on-one conversations, talk to each employee about the importance of their roles and the part they play in the overall work of the business. Consider putting this in writing by developing job descriptions that fully detail each position in relation to its role in accomplishing the organization's objectives. Rather than assuming employees understand their impact, make it clear.
2. Seek Employee Input
It's not enough for employees to understand how their role fits into the big picture of the organization — to be engaged and loyal to their employers, the way they're treated must also make them feel valued. One way leaders can show employees that they matter is by asking employees for their ideas, suggestions and input. This can be done anonymously through a suggestion box, in departmental meetings, during one-on-one conversations or through other avenues.
Even if leaders don't always act on the suggestions or ideas presented by employees, taking time to listen to and consider those ideas can make a difference in employee engagement. With automated talent management software, organizations can align and grow their employees. In fact, 72 percent of employees feel positive about businesses using technology to measure their well-being, according to The Evolution of Work.
3. Show That You Trust Employees
Employees are likely to be less engaged in their work and loyal to their organizations when they feel micromanaged and constantly second-guessed. Rather than tightly managing employees, HR leaders should focus on hiring people who can be trusted to do a good job — and then give them the space to do it.
Organizations can exhibit trust by affording employees the freedom to make some decisions on their own without consulting higher-ups, and by providing employees with goals or benchmarks but letting them determine how to reach those goals. In addition, policies that allow for remote work or flexible schedules send a message that the employer trusts employees to get their work done and understands their needs for work-life balance. According to ADP RI, 78 percent of employees feel positive about defining their own work schedule and 81 percent feel positive about employees being able to work from anywhere in the world.
When organizations make it a habit to continually emphasize the positive impact of their employees' work, they do more than just engage employees — they also actively cultivate loyalty to decrease turnover.
For more information, download the full (and free) ADP Research Institute® report: The Evolution of Work: The Changing Nature of the Global Workforce.
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