Employee turnover is one of the toughest things to navigate as a manager and one of the most common drivers of employee turnover is a lack of engagement. Talented people want to work in an environment where they feel valued and purposeful about their work. They want to feel engaged!
To avoid the recruitment merry-go-round, you need to hire the right people, develop them in a way that allows them to grow in their jobs, and create a culture that allows for strong employee engagement. While it’s simple, it’s never easy! Here are a few sure-fire strategies that will help.
Establish the Core Values that define what success looks like.
The first step to reducing turnover is to work with your leadership team and identify your core values, which are the behaviors you value most as an organization.
Once locked in place, these core values will serve as the guidelines for how employees will treat each other and your customers, and how they will communicate, work together, and accomplish their tasks.
With a strong set of core values firmly in place, employees are clear on which behaviors will put them on the path to success and which ones will not be tolerated. Establishing clear expectations and communicating exactly what success looks like is an important part of an employee retention plan.
Your core values will also help future candidates make smart decisions about joining your team. Take a moment to picture two very different companies and a job candidate who has applied to both.
Company A is a fast-moving, risk-taking start-up that values employees who are “Future Focused, Innovative, and Driven.” Their company culture will feel very different than that of Company B, a legacy company with a strong brand in the industry, whose established core values are “Accurate, Striving for Excellence, and Reliable.”
While they may both be growing companies and good places to work. The job candidate is likely to thrive better in one than the other. Because both companies are clear on who they are and what they expect of their employees, the job candidate can make a better long-term decisions, reducing turnover.
Manage each person as an individual
The principles of strength-based coaching tell us that when we use our strengths in our work, we can grow by as much as ten times, and we feel energized. That's where the word "strengths" comes from – when we do those things, they make us feel strong. On the other hand, when we are forced to use our areas of weakness, over time, we feel depleted and "weak."
Consider the unique strengths of your employees and think about how you can help them use those innate talents more often. Also, determine whether there is an area of weakness that may be getting in the way of their success.
Provide Effective Feedback
It can be very difficult for a person to review their performance and identify exactly what they did well in their work. That is why coaches will record practices and games and then play the film back during a coaching session. Seeing yourself on film allows you to better understand exactly what you did right – or wrong – and take steps to repeat or change those behaviors in the future. Our jobs are not as conducive to that, so the next best thing is to paint a picture in their mind by describing exactly what you saw or heard.
To do this well, you will need to get very specific, but at the same time, filter out things that are trivial or unrelated to your expectations. For example, we have all developed a style for doing things over time and the person you are coaching may have a very different style. It’s hard to do, but you want to ask yourself whether the stylistic differences are getting in the way of their success. If not, try not to get too hung up on how you would do things.
So, for example, instead of saying, “Great job on that presentation!” you want to say something more like, “You did a great job warming up the group before jumping into your presentation. I also liked the way you provided them with that additional information on slide three and then paused for questions. That is a technique I think you should continue to use.”
Human nature makes us want our hard work and accomplishments to be valued by others. Not everyone wants or even enjoys public recognition, but no one wants to work in a vacuum. Consider each individual you work with and how they enjoy being recognized. If you aren’t entirely sure, ask them! When you get the method right, whether you use private acknowledgment, public praise, or even awards, the appreciation will go a long way in keeping morale high and helping people feel energized.
Consider who may need a pat on the pack for a job well done today. Giving that pat on the back will immediately make them feel more valued in the organization.
Build strong two-way communication
Strong communication in the workplace is essential to creating an environment of "Psychological Safety." When you openly share important information with your employees, you demonstrate trust and you make them feel valued.
In turn, your people will be more likely to share their ideas and concerns back with you which will give you a more complete understanding of the inner workings of the business and allow you to make better decisions as a leader. A win-win situation. In contrast, when employees feel their manager is judgmental or confrontational, they are more likely to keep their problems contained which leads to feelings of frustration, lack of control, and disengagement.
Consider how you can improve two-way communication on your team, sharing more important information with them and allowing them to share their thoughts, ideas, and concerns back with you.
Establish a strong sense of purpose
Remember that engagement is the emotional commitment and willingness to give your best at work. If employees are engaged, they feel as though they have a stake in the game and a sense of purpose. This allows them to want to give their best at work. When they know what they are playing for and understand the value of their role, they are willing to put in the effort to achieve success.
Improve engagement by looking for ways your employees are contributing to the purpose and mission of your organization –– and acknowledge when you see them in action.
Autonomy allows your employees to have more control over their work and be more flexible. It also increases employee engagement and boosts confidence. People who feel restricted and unable to exercise personal control over their environment and daily decisions tend to be at greater risk of leaving. Take a moment to consider whether you can provide increased autonomy to the people you manage, discussing their work in your one-on-one meetings to provide the necessary support but allowing them to own the day-to-day plan.
Build these strategies into your regular routine to increase employee engagement, slow down any turnover you are experiencing, and increase performance!
Reach out if we can help!