Engage Employees, Reduce Expense And Turnover

If you’ve managed people long enough, you’ve probably experienced an unexpected resignation from a valued and trusted employee. Given some exciting personal development or once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, we often wish them well and graciously accept their journey into newer and greener pastures. But sometimes we’re completely blind-sided by the loss of a colleague making a seemingly lateral move elsewhere.  At these times, we often comb over what we perceived as their level of contentment, looking for missed clues about their satisfaction with the job. However, recent studies suggest that the confusion betweenemployee satisfaction and employee engagement greatly threatens workforce retention.

Search the web, and you’ll be quickly overwhelmed by the literature, and by definitions and measures of both satisfaction and engagement. In the interest of brevity – the former assesses “happiness.” For employees, this typically means that they are surveyed on a wide variety of inwardly focused topics including relationships with co-workers, autonomy, safety,stability, flexibility, benefits, and pay. For employers, fostering happiness sometimes translates into casual Fridays, a great holiday party, or an employee recognition program. However, evidence suggests that even the happiest employee can be wooed, absent an often overlooked and undervalued trait.  If the idea is to retain staff, the better indicator is engagement.

In fact, a recent Gallup Employee Engagement Survey estimates that failure to engage workers costs the US economy 370 billion dollars annually. Unlike satisfaction, engagement measures focus on the commitment of the employee to the employer. Engaged employees are connected to an organization’s goals, know that their ideas and opinions count, and go beyond their job descriptions in fulfilling company objectives. Further, they often feel that their assignments are appropriately matched with what they like to do. Not surprisingly, engaged workers are almost always satisfied as well,and if not, frequently see the bigger picture, placing organizational gain over personal gain. With that said, what are you doing in order to actively involve your team, reduce employee turnover,and control the cost of doing business? It’s time to get engaged!