Retaining existing employees is important for several reasons. It can help with team morale, lower costs and improve profitability for starters.

As soon as employees become disengaged with their role and disillusioned by the whole organization, the prospect of quitting seems more appealing.

So how can you improve retention rates and boost engagement in one fell swoop? Here are a few strategies that work.

Be proactive in asking tough questions

Don’t just wait for an employee to voice their concerns or their intention to quit before taking action. Instead, find out what’s wrong by asking them directly about the concerns they might have or the problems they’re facing.

That way, you’ll have a better sense of what steps you can take to clear up any conundrums and improve their experience. In short, don’t shy away from difficult conversations, but tackle them in the right way sooner rather than later so that feelings of disgruntlement don’t fester.

Use software that lets you easily recognize employees for their contributions

There are entire software platforms available to standardize and codify employee recognition, meaning you’ll be able to celebrate the achievements of the entire team in a consistent and conspicuous way.

Employees will be more engaged if they know that their efforts will be recognized and rewarded, so try any of these solutions if you feel like levels of engagement are flagging at the moment.

Highlight a path to career progression

One of the main causes of disengagement in a professional context is a lack of an obvious way for an employee to progress.

As soon as it feels like you’re only treading water, stagnating in the same old role with the same set of responsibilities day in, day out, enthusiasm will ebb.

It’s the responsibility of a manager to understand the career goals of every team member, and to do their part to help them move towards them.

Don’t just give vague promises of promotions at some indeterminate future point; provide them with the resources, training and support that will allow them to flourish.

Align personal responsibilities and ambitions with work life

It’s a staple recommendation that to improve employee engagement, you need to think about the work-life balance of individual team members.

However, we’ve now reached the point at which this won’t make the cut on its own. People don’t just want jobs which they can fit around their free time; they want jobs that are aligned with what motivates them in their personal lives as well. And the rise of telecommuting is influencing this further.

It helps to demonstrate how the skills and benefits which come with having a job at your business can be applied outside of this sphere. In addition, you can consider rethinking the remit of roles entirely, so that they are built around employees as individuals, rather than being a rigid box that they have to squeeze themselves into.

Show that they have your trust

One catalyst for engagement is trust, since employees will be encouraged to tackle everyday duties and ongoing projects with more vigor if they’ve got a greater degree of autonomy to leave their mark and influence the outcome.

It’s unhelpful to manage and control every little aspect minutely, when you’ve got a team in place that’s more than capable of taking the initiative. Release the reins and trust in employees, and they’ll relish the opportunity to prove themselves.

Review company culture and improve it where necessary

If your company culture isn’t up to scratch, then efforts to bolster employee retention rates might not work because bigger problems are at play.

You need to explore how the overarching goals of your organization match up with the way teams are managed, and investigate how employees are brought into the fold in terms of understanding the aims and ambitions of the entire business.

People want to feel like they’re part of something important, and are making a meaningful contribution to a collective drive towards progress. If this isn’t ingrained in your company culture, change is needed.

The bottom line

When employees are on the path to departing, you can’t just sit back and watch. Fixing engagement issues here will have benefits across the entire business, so it’s worth pursuing.


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