You’ve likely heard the terms ‘engagement’ and ‘retention’ used when discussing a business’s people strategy, but what do these terms mean and why are they important to the success of a business?

The concept of employee engagement is relatively new to the business world but with research continually showing strong links between employee engagement and a range of business outcomes, including customer loyalty, profitability, safety and performance errors, it’s clear that employee engagement is essential to a thriving organisation.

When employees are engaged, they’re working for more than a pay check.

Engaged employees have a connection to their job (and the organisation they work for) that is on a physical, cognitive and emotional level contributing to job satisfaction, loyalty and a genuine interest in the success of the organisation. When people are engaged in their job, they will go above and beyond what is expected of them because they feel part of a purpose that goes beyond themselves.

Taking steps to improve engagement in your workplace will have myriad benefits across the business. A higher level of employee engagement has been shown to reduce absenteeism, and contribute to overall improvements in motivation, focus and performance. This then contributes overall to improved safety outcomes, team culture and of course, increased productivity, which when combined with other business strategies, generates higher profitability. Everyone wins.

How can you improve employee engagement?

There are many factors contributing to employee engagement and the best strategy will be unique to the business, however when thinking about employee engagement it’s important to consider:

  • Having a clear and compelling vision for the business
  • Sharing business goals with the team
  • Hiring the right people for the roles in your business
  • Providing opportunities to actively work on interesting projects, business improvements, and innovations
  • Consistent and clear expectations and accountability
  • Having career progression pathways and opportunities to develop in a role or within the organisation
  • Regular recognition and rewarding of high performance or specific achievements
  • Celebrating milestones and successes!

What about retention?

Keeping high performing and valued employees in a business is key to business success, and investing in employee retention is important. The direct and indirect costs of an employee leaving the business is considerable and we talked about this in our recent article on improving employee retention.

While increasing the level of employee engagement will contribute to higher retention rates, a high level of employee retention doesn’t always indicate a high level of engagement.

Sometimes we see businesses with a workforce comprising many long term, loyal employees, which can be a positive attribute of the business of course, however the reasons for people staying are not always linked to job satisfaction or a drive to grow and improve the business. Sometimes factors such as complacency, poor management, a lack of accountability, or salaries far exceeding the market average can lead to high retention rates, and its easy to see how these motivators for employees staying in their job are not the same motivators that will contribute to productive and successful business outcomes.

Understanding your team and the unique motivators driving individuals’ behaviours and performance can be helpful in determining the best strategies to improve engagement and retention in your business. Whether that is through performance reviews, interviews, surveys or using tools like DiSC profiling, this step is critical in ensuring your efforts to improve engagement is going to be effective.

If you’d like assistance in developing engagement and retention strategies in your business, get in touch with our team today.