Well, recruiters, recent reports show jobless claims are at a six month low, while job growth is short of estimates. With fewer new positions and fewer new hires, it’s time to focus on developing and retaining the top talent you’ve already got.
Previous surveys have shown that 60% of employees plan to leave their jobs when the market gets better. This may not concern you in light of lagging job growth, but think about this: 25% of employer-identified, high-potential employees plan to leave their current companies within the year. If you want to keep these top performers, you need to focus on engagement strategies.
Engagement isn’t just a warm and fuzzy theory. Engagement is a series of strategic actions that produce real, tangible financial results for businesses. Engaged employees are better for the bottom line; they outperform disengaged employees by 20-28%. In one study, companies with engaged employees showed a 19% increase in operating income over a 12-month period, compared to a 33% decrease in organizations with disengaged employees. In fact, the cost of disengagement to U.S. employers is estimated to be as much as $350 billion per year.
So how do you create a culture of engagement? Here are a few tips:
- Make a strong first impression. Effective onboarding and coaching of new hires allows your employees to get started on the right track, and it has a tremendous impact on morale. The best onboarding programs allow new hires to assimilate into the culture through a combination of training and mentoring. iCIMS’ executives actually sit down and talk with each new hire class. This might not be realistic for larger companies, but the gesture is not lost on our new hires.
- Continue the dialogue and help them grow. Allow for two-way feedback and stay invested in your employees’ development, so they never become bored or complacent. Keep them challenged by offering opportunities for growth and training. Provide clear career development opportunities and conduct frequent career conversations to determine how their goals are evolving.
- Reward exemplary performance. Implement competitive compensation and benefits. If you’re not sure what a competitive salary for a certain position is, utilize a service such as Payscale. You should also consider implementing merit-based pay raises and award programs to keep employees motivated. But compensation doesn’t just have to be monetary in nature; a little recognition can go a long way, too. You should make sure your employees are shown appreciation for their accomplishments, and that they understand their role in the company’s success. Recognition should be given quickly and often. The once-a-year performance review is becoming a thing of the past; many would argue that the future is in more frequent or social performance reviews.
- Foster connectivity among employees. Allow for cross-departmental collaboration that will lead to inspiration and deeper involvement with the organization and its goals. The more invested employees are in your company’s initiatives and the more involved they are in the successes across departments, the more satisfied they will be. iCIMS has implemented a program called iLead, which has been an effective way for our employees to develop leadership and project management skills while working across departments. An iLead is a high visibility, cross-departmental initiative, and the application process is competitive. The skills developed through participation in these initiatives have proven to be invaluable.
- Provide leadership that inspires trust. This is particularly important at the executive level. Executives should provide a clear vision and frequent, thorough communication. They must be consistent and transparent. Large group meetings are a great way for executives to boost morale and give employees insight and awareness of company strategy. Additionally, company leaders should allow decisions to be made at the lowest level possible, so employees at all levels are invested in the company’s initiatives. The more informed, involved, and empowered your employees feel, the more likely they’ll be to stay motivated and satisfied with your company.
As difficult as it may be to discover new talent, the real challenge is retaining the talent you already have in your organization. With a deliberate, active culture of engagement in place, you’ll be sure to keep more of your top talent!