By Lindsay Zajac | Ahern, Murphy & Associates, Leader Exchange Facilitator
“Engaged employees are a company’s greatest asset.”
Engagement can be defined as the level to which employees are motivated and committed to do what is best for the organization. This concept is relevant now more than ever as two thirds of all employees are not engaged at work. This disengagement causes some to leave and others to stay but underperform. A highly engaged workforce can reduce a company’s turnover rate by 25-59%.
It can be challenging and competitive for a business to attract top-tier talent, and even tougher to retain them. The training and onboarding you devote to a new employee can be costly and time-consuming. With a heightened focus on the factors that motivate employees, a healthy company increases its productivity, boosts engagement, and reduces turnover. One way to help drive employee engagement and retain your top talent is through clear and inclusive communication. Here are six ways you can help reduce turnover by improving internal communication.
1. UPDATE YOUR EMPLOYEES ON STRATEGIC DECISIONS
Employee involvement is a sign of respect, which is a key driver in employee engagement and the first line of defense in reducing turnover. With an appropriate internal communication plan, team members feel “in the know,” and feel more involved and included with the changes being made. Sharing the company’s strategic plans and decisions gives employees a sense of belonging and identity, and energizes them to make a difference. Furthermore, taking the time to explain why certain decisions are being made, even unfavorable ones, will foster transparency and help to get employees on board with any proposed changes.
2. CLEARLY COMMUNICATE YOUR VALUES, MISSION AND VISION
Engaged employees are motivated when they have a clear understanding of the mission, vision, values, and goals of the organization. In addition, employees need to know how their roles support and advance the mission. To do this, start on Day 1 with each new hire, sharing the company’s values and explaining how they’ll be contributing to the overall vision. Periodically review your mission with the team, so employees are inspired to evaluate (and possibly adjust) how and what they’re doing to ensure they are contributing to the company’s purpose and success. It is often said that employees join an organization because of the vision and leave because of a bad boss. Make sure that your organization has a compelling vision that employees can see themselves playing a part in. This will help with your recruitment efforts and serve as a “north star” in uncertain times. Lastly, it is imperative that all companies take the time to train their people managers and evaluate both their behavior and results to make sure people aren’t leaving the organization due to poor leadership.
3. ACKNOWLEDGE SUCCESSES PUBLICLY
In addition to knowing what’s happening in the company, employees want to feel valued and appreciated for their hard work. We all appreciate a pat on the back for a job well done! Publicly acknowledging, celebrating and rewarding individual success inspires your team to continue being creative, dedicated, and on top of their game. The recognition could be a simple “Let’s give a hand to Ashley for …” in your weekly meeting or a fun all-hands lunch. Consider implementing a program in which your employees can nominate each other for going above and beyond. Furthermore, what gets rewarded, gets done, so be sure to recognize the kind of results and behaviors that you want to see more of. Many organizations highlight employees who have demonstrated one of the organization’s core values because this serves as a helpful reminder that employees need to bring these values to life in order to create an intentional culture.
4. CONNECT YOUR WORKERS TO THEIR PEERS
One of the primary drivers of engaged employees are the meaningful relationships that they have at work. Your employees like to feel and stay connected with one another. Enable them to connect with their peers via peer-to-peer collaboration platforms like Slack. Sometimes just a quick message among colleagues (“Happy National Ice Cream Day!”) helps to foster a sense of community and cohesiveness. Scheduling virtual team trivia with tools like Kahoot is another idea. This is especially important if some of the team is working remotely or located in multiple physical locations. Intentionally prioritizing time to boost team relationships will help your employees build trust, feel connected to something larger than their individual tasks, and collaborate more successfully with their colleagues.
5. DISTINGUISH YOURSELF THROUGH THE LATEST TECHNOLOGY
Another great way to retain engaged employees is to have the right and most recent technology. In particular, up-to-the-minute technology solutions are attractive to Millennials, who will make up close to 50% of the workforce in the next two years. High-tech systems keep your company’s projects and processes running smoothly and help to maintain a consistent flow of communication. As many organizations are trying to do more with less, investing in the right technology to streamline workflows or outsource unnecessary steps, can make a big impact in helping to reduce turnover.
6. SOLICIT EMPLOYEE FEEDBACK ON A CONTINUOUS BASIS
There are many ways to obtain feedback from your employees including anonymous surveys, 360 degree reviews, focus groups or quarterly round tables led by a neutral third party. Regardless of the method you choose, a 360-degree feedback loop should be one of the most crucial parts of your internal communication system. Providing a safe venue for employees to share ideas, ask questions, or bring up concerns is vital to a healthy organization. When employers take the time to listen, acknowledge and respond to what their employees have to say in a supportive way, it demonstrates their commitment and investment in their employees which helps reduce the turnover rate. When your workers feel both heard and valued they feel respected, which fosters more loyalty.
THE BOTTOM LINE
As you work your way to success, reducing turnover should be a significant area of focus in your company. It’s more preferable and cost-effective to retain your valued employees rather than frequently having to replace them. With the right resources and tools, it becomes easy to enhance your company’s operations and improve employee engagement through improved communication, recognition, transparency, and fostering good relationships with managers.
Lindsay Zajac: BNP Leader Exchange Facilitator:
Lindsey A. Zajac is an experienced, Human Resources professional with a demonstrated history of excelling in fast-paced organizations including PepsiCo, Eaton Corporation, Saab Sensis and Next Jump. Training and Development, Talent Management, Employee Relations, Recruiting, and Succession Planning are Lindsey’s areas of expertise. Learn more about Lindsay.