Simple Tips on Retaining Your Most Valuable Resource
In last week’s blog post, we explored best practices for leaders to create a positive employee experience by focusing on what is within your immediate control. This week, we want to continue on the same theme by focusing on how to engage and retain your most valuable resource – your people.
Your organization’s employee engagement and retention initiatives depend on your type of business, what you hope to achieve, and will be driven by the current engagement levels of your staff. However, we can offer some simple actions you can take as a leader to help engage people on a consistent basis.
According to a recent Gallup study, the most concerning decline in employee engagement has been in the lack of clear expectations for employees.
A lack of role clarity makes all other engagement elements less impactful. Employees cannot perform at a high level when they are confused about what they are supposed to do. As such, confused employees are more likely to look for other work and eventually leave the organization.
What could be causing this lack of clarity?
- Leadership not clearly communicating the organization’s cultural values and strategy in the new world of work.
- Managers not being in touch with the ongoing work-life challenges.
- Not being clear about how the employee’s role contributes to the overall organization’s success.
Be intentional and purposeful about communicating expectations for each employee. Then collaborate on how to achieve the corresponding goals, objectives, and expectations. Be sure to emphasize the value their role brings to the team and the organization’s success.
In every interaction, ensure you are creating a safe space that fosters open two-way communication. Convey your expectations clearly, and ensure your people have a means of sharing their concerns openly with you.
If something is not working within your organization, you will likely be the last one to know unless you encourage your people to speak up. Doing this not only keeps you in the loop with your finger on the pulse of your business, but it also gives your staff a stronger feeling of ownership and accountability while also feeling valued.
Deliver on Your Commitments
Creating engagement and retaining your people is an ongoing process and needs to become part of the way you do business if you want to create a high-performing organization.
Your job is not done once you have asked your people what they think about their role, leadership, and the business. Show your staff that you have listened by taking action that they can see and appreciate.
If someone has a good idea that may not be a fit for the current situation, explain why. If someone has an amazing idea that you plan to implement immediately, make sure they get the credit they deserve.
Remember, your people are watching your every move so ensure you deliver on the commitments you make.
How many times have you been to a meeting where the only purpose was to schedule another meeting? Meetings need to be productive sessions that allow you to connect meaningfully with your people, and vise-versa.
You can improve engagement (and employee retention) considerably by streamlining your meetings (e.g. stick to your agenda and allotted time frame). Ensure your time together is focused with a purpose and desired outcome giving everyone the opportunity to contribute. Additionally, encourage the quieter team members to contribute and offer their insight and perspective. Be careful not to dismiss any ideas – even the most off-the-wall ideas contain kernels of brilliance.
Learn How to Lead Your People
If you're a manager, your job title comes with certain responsibilities, all of which are important to the success of your company. Being a leader requires you to transcend your duties as a manager so you can truly inspire your people to perform at their best.
One mistake that managers make is to jump in and do all the work during crucial times instead of giving people the responsibility and opportunity to solve problems and perform important work themselves.
Hold your people accountable for the work they’ve been assigned, and you'll notice that they'll become much more engaged on the job. That's part of being a real leader, and not just a day to day manager.
Ongoing Verbal Recognition
This connects back to my first point on two-way communication but through the lens of recognition. You might think that you're saying “thank you” enough to your people, but they may have a different perspective.
According to a survey conducted by Globoforce, nearly 40% of employee respondents stated they feel unappreciated in the workplace. Nearly 70% of them said that they would work harder if they received the proper recognition. Almost 80% voiced that recognition from their leaders provided direct motivation.
If you're losing people, and employee engagement is lacking, then you're probably not recognizing and appreciating your people enough. Find out what they value as it relates to recognition and change your approach so you can give them what they need to feel valued and appreciated.
Establishing effective employee engagement initiatives isn't about setting up new policies and procedures, it's about creating an environment where people feel comfortable sharing their thoughts openly and freely. It is about being engaged in your business and with your people. When it comes to improving employee engagement, you cannot be passive and wait for it to happen. You must be proactive and lead the charge.
What are your thoughts on fostering an environment where employees can thrive while contributing to the organization’s mission and bottom line?
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