How to Engage and Retain Top Employees

The labor market for top talent is never slow. The key talent of your business may be leaving your company tomorrow if you cannot engage them today.
How-to Engage and Retain top Employees
Nowadays, it is easy to find managers placing less emphasis on employee engagement as soaring unemployment rates often lead to the notion that employees are happy to be employed at all, and that further engagement is unnecessary. This behavior led to employee engagement in countries such as the US nearing all-time lows. In the US more than two-thirds of workers or 71% are not engaged in their current positions. Further 19% of the US workforce is “actively disengaged.” In fact, It is estimated that the US economy is presently running at 30% efficiency with only one-third of US employees being fully engaged in their current positions. However, according to studies conducted by GallupConsulting engaged employees have:
  • 37% lower absenteeism
  • 25% lower turnover (in high-turnover organizations)
  • 65% lower turnover (in low-turnover organizations)
  • 28% less shrinkage
  • 48% fewer safety incidents
  • 41% fewer patient safety incidents
  • 41% fewer quality incidents (defects)
  • 10% higher customer metrics
  • 21% higher productivity
  • 22% higher profitability

How can companies engage top employees?

1. Define what's a talent for your company

Contrary to the old adage "people are your most important asset," people are not your most important assets; the right people are. The first step to engaging your employees with your business is to define what talent means for your organization. Who has a set of skills, competencies, and experiences that make a positive impact on your business? It is vital to integrate talent management into business processes.

Related post: Should Companies Invest in Innovation or Leaders?

2. Invest in the professional development of your employees

A major cause of job dissatisfaction for UK workers is not getting the training and guidance required for their role from management. According to Lane4 only 1 in 10 employees gets training from his or her company. High talents are looking for collaborative atmospheres where training, skill transfer, and knowledge sharing are encouraged. Companies must foster managers to give career tutorship and guidance to high-potential employees, and help them develop a structured potential career evolution within the company even if it means they will have to leave their team.

3. Open line of Communication

Studies have found that over half of workers (57%) don’t believe they are being communicated with clarity about their own career progression. 78% of staff feel their company does not communicate with them effectively, leaving them wanting to know more about the organization they work for. The way people communicate today has changed dramatically. People are not only used to easily accessing large amounts of information through the Internet but also, to using new technologies to connect to other people and get work done. Employees expect communication flows to be open and unrestricted and companies must deliver this, especially during economic instability, to engage talent.

4. Compensation matters

An increase in base pays is an effective engager, in any type of company and for any type of employee. On average its engagement effect, on high talent, is higher than the one generated by traditional bonus programs and training programs. Companies must take into account that top performers are usually pursued by offers from other companies; A non-competitive wage can make employees feel undervalued. Research has shown that performance-based compensation increases employee engagement and ultimately decreases attrition rates. Key employees like to feel that there are rewarded for what they achieved for the company. As they know they are giving more than others they are expecting more from the company. The reason why benefits granted to all employees do not motivate high talent is as they need to be differentiated and acknowledged by their results.

5. Connect employees to the "Big Picture"

Jean Martin and Conrad Schmidt state, for the Harvard Business Review, that the engagement of highly talented employees increases by 40% when an employee understands how what he or she does helps or can support the company to accomplish its objectives. They need to know how they make a difference and be asked to do more in order to achieve this goal. It will give them a purpose and prevents them from thinking their work is meaningless. They need to know how they make a difference and be asked to do more in order to achieve this goal. Let your employees clearly understand their roles and objectives, and what the company is expecting from them. Set tough but realistic goals.

6. Acknowledge achievements and ask them to fix what's wrong

Finally, do not worry if given the economic outlook, you cannot give bonuses or remunerative benefits to employees. the main motivation of high talent is to get recognition for their work and achievements. From their point of view being publicly recognized for their achievements promotes their ability to evolve in the long term in the company. According to Mckinsey Quarterly, a survey on non-cash motivators, financial incentives fall short of adequately motivating employees. It is also recommended, that during times of crisis when many things need to change, you reengage high-potential employees by asking them to fix what's wrong and get them involved in finding a solution.

McKinsey Employee Engagement Survey Results

Source: Mckinsey Quarterly

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