Employee Engagement: Best Practices for Talent Retention

Improve workplace satisfaction with a strategic employee engagement plan.

In today’s world, change is the new norm. In college, I vividly remember my favorite professor telling the class that we would soon enter the workforce with job titles that didn’t yet exist, and boy was he right. Change is constant – even in the workplace. With new faces, technologies and ways of working, it’s important to keep a pulse on how your employees are feeling and how their level of engagement is affecting your business.

Of course, this is easier said than done; but staying on top of the changing workplace trends, and adapting your employee engagement strategy accordingly, can improve employee satisfaction, retain talent and keep your business running smoothly. In 2016, PricewaterhouseCoopers published a consumer intelligence series focused on understanding how we’ll work next. Here are some key takeaways from that series, as well as some suggestions to help keep your employees engaged.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Face the facts: your employees may not be as engaged as you think they are.” quote=”Face the facts: your employees may not be as engaged as you think they are.”]

There’s currently a discrepancy between how employees feel and how employers think their employees feel. This is a dangerous place for an organization to be. While employee surveys alone are not enough, they can be one way to start identifying potential areas to address. Try sending a quarterly pulse check survey with the same 2-3 questions to gauge satisfaction, and be sure to use that data to actively address any areas of concern.

Three in ten workers say they expect to change jobs within six months, and 38 percent expect this change to happen within the next year. And nearly one-half of Gen Zers and one-third of millennials say they are very or somewhat likely to change jobs in the next six months. Employees are motivated by a wide range of workplace factors. It’s important to understand how your employees’ age and career stage can impact their engagement, so you can tailor your engagement approach to each audience. At Padilla, we call this the “Ages and Stages” approach. In addition, employees tend to leave managers, not organizations. Make sure your managers have the tools they need to do their jobs effectively. Require quarterly check-ins with their direct reports to help them better understand employee satisfaction.

Workers in small businesses are 16 percent happier and more engaged with their peers than employees in large businesses. Culture is everyone’s responsibility. Big organizations shouldn’t have to suffer because of their size. Make an effort to get your employees together for planned or impromptu activities, meals or mid-day breaks. On average, we’ll spend 90,000 hours at work over our lifetime, so help your employees form connections that’ll make them love coming to work each day.

Small businesses, those with 50 employees or less, exhibit more flexibility, which boosts morale and shores up productivity. Try offering flexible schedules for working parents or employees with health issues. They’ll work harder for you if you respect and support their need for flexibility.

Employees at large businesses, those with 1,000 employees or more, feel there is a lack of a career path, and they lose motivation because of it. Make sure your employees have clear expectations of their roles and responsibilities from the beginning. Have conversations with employees about the necessary steps to move to the next level, and you might be surprised with the great work as a result.

It’s time to ditch the suits. Looser regulation around dress codes leads to greater personal comfort – and with that comes employee satisfaction. Already, nearly one-third of companies allow casual dress every day. If casual dress every day is a stretch, it doesn’t mean it’s completely out of reach. Many organizations have recently adopted a “dress for your day” approach. This allows for more casual, comfortable dress when employees are simply working in the office without client or customer meetings.

Remote offices are becoming increasingly popular. Not only have cubicles come down in favor of open floor plans, but the 9-to-5 day has changed form in the 21st century. With today’s technology, telecommuting is fully possible for many employees. Consider offering flexible work schedules for sick days or employee travel. This type of change can really energize a workplace, increasing satisfaction and productivity – which can lead to increased engagement, as a result.

Younger employees want a sense of purpose. It’s no longer just about creating a good experience; it’s about designing a more engaging and rewarding employee experience, too. One way to do this is to make corporate responsibility a priority. It’s time to recognize that newer generations are looking for a deeper meaning behind what they do, which can be a powerful trait to harness.

How is your organization planning to keep employees engaged amidst these changing workplace trends?

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