Leveraging Employee Engagement to Attract and Retain Top Talent

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Leveraging Employee Engagement to Attract and Retain Top Talent

Pay and work conditions have always been important factors when it comes to obtaining top talent in the workplace. However, employee engagement has been shown to be one of the key factors when it comes to retaining that top talent.

Employee engagement is all about how you feel, how you are respected, how you are listened to, and how you are an integral part of the day to day operation. We talked with Dave Topor, Custom Research Manager at ERC, about employee engagement, and how companies can be sure to retain top talent.

The whole is greater than the sum of the parts

Employee engagement doesn’t have a set definition. However, everyone agrees that you must have that “it” factor.

“Perhaps the most important thing is for an organization to agree upon what engagement is within the context of their unique business needs, and then translate that definition into action,” says Topor. “It’s an attitude, a belief, and a behavior. It’s a special blend of job satisfaction, organizational commitment, job involvement, organizational citizenship behaviors, and empowerment.”

Measuring employee engagement: It’s a process, not an event

Topor says with all social science cases, the measurement of employee engagement is not an exact science.

“You’ll want to find a reliable, valid, and practical prescriptive measure that focuses on key drivers of engagement, including autonomy, job design, training, and organizational support,” says Topor.

Engaged employees will be more likely to go that extra mile for their customers, co-workers, managers, and organizations.

Research has shown that engaged employees and companies feel a sense of community. Measurement of engagement can be associated with:

  • Higher levels of job performance
  • Higher levels of customer advocacy
  • Higher levels of profitability, growth, and customer satisfaction
  • Higher efficiency, innovation, and creativity
  • Lower turnover
  • Fewer absences and accidents

Disengaging practices serves as barriers for employee engagement

When employees feel disconnected from their work, their managers, and their top leader, some company leaders are not even aware. Also, leaders/managers may not even believe in employee engagement or be Ill-equipped to enhance it.

“Some managers may feel threatened by relinquishing decision making authority and control, even if they’re open to it; and learning how to delegate effectively is quite a challenge. There needs to be less micromanaging of tasks and more focus on the job as a whole, as well as the person doing it,” says Topor.

Some other reasons employees become disengaged are:

  • Reactive decision making that fails to address problems in a timely manner
  • Inconsistent management style, which leads to perceptions of inequality and unfairness
  • Little to no consideration for employee work-life balance
  • Lack of visibility of top leaders
  • Lack of fluidity in all communication
  • A negative attitude of managers, where there is an obvious lack of trust and respect toward their employees

“Other factors could be that managers lack soft skills, that they have little concern for metrics, outputs, and results, and view employee engagement as just a check-box on the to-do list and a quick fix that can be improved overnight,” says Topor.

5 secrets of top companies

Topor says that the successful companies that not only attract but obtain top talent, have these 5 qualities down to a science.

  • Culture:Top leaders constantly promote a strong, transparent, authentic culture,” says Topor. “This gives employees a ‘line of sight’ between their jobs and the mission and vision of the organization.”
  • The Power of Value:Managers sincerely appreciate their employees, and make it known. They will make employees feel valued, respected, and supported,” says Topor.
  • Communication: “Employees feel they are able to voice their ideas and are listened to. This goes for both day-to-day jobs and in other decisions that impact their department or organization,” says Topor. “There is a mutual sharing of problems and challenges and a commitment to arrive at joint solutions. Employees always have a say in what goes on around the work environment.”  
  • Reputation is Key: “There is a shared spirit of trust and integrity. Employees believe that the organization shares their values and integrates them into everything they do. Employees should have pride in who they work for,” says Topor.
  • Personally Tailored Best Practices: “The best practices are those which have been custom-developed for the organization. Employee engagement is not a “one size fits all” process,” says Topor.  “When engagement is tailored to individual employee needs, there is better communication and a sense of appreciation.”

Research shows that high employee engagement leads to increased retention, productivity, and business success. Not only will you be able to attract top talent, but with employee engagement you will be able to retain it.

Interested in learning more about engagement surveys?

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