An ongoing business challenge!
As the industry comes out of the recession, employers are feeling the effect of a more fluid labour market. Last week at EP’s Leadership Conference, Georgia Gray joined a panel speaking on employee engagement within the hospitality industry. In this blog Georgia discusses the 10 top ways to retain employees and ensure that they are highly engaged. For those interested on the topic of employee engagement EP, in partnership with AMEX, will be hosting a breakfast forum on October 29th discussing different initiatives within the industry.
In a report by Towers Watson, the 2014 Global Talent Management & Rewards Study, nearly half of global employers indicate that hiring activity has increased compared to last year and for 15%, hiring has jumped significantly. In addition, more than one-third report that turnover is rising. It shows that employers are finding it difficult to get and keep talent, including top performers and high-potential employees.
Yet for a business to achieve its objectives, employers need to attract and retain talent and ensure employees are highly engaged which, in turn, increases productivity and profitability. To impact engagement positively, employers must get the employment offer right. That is they must offer and deliver an employment deal that is formally articulated, is tailored to the needs of the different workforce groups and is one that is differentiated from the competition.
So, here are 10 top ways to retain employees and ensure that they are highly engaged:
1/ Ask your employees what they want: Don’t underestimate how effective this is. Often employers do not ask and do not always understand the rewards workers value most, which can in itself make it difficult to develop a winning employment offer.
2/ Career development: this is a key driver to employee engagement, attraction and development. In the Towers Watson report, it was reported that high potential employees say it is a top reason for joining a company. Although this is improving the Towers Watson report suggests that less than half of organisations report are effective at providing traditional career advancement opportunities for employees.
3/ Act as a leader: Effective leadership is critical – inspire your teams, be visionary and cultivate a culture of trust. Despite the fact that employees cite trust in senior leadership as a key retention driver and leadership is a top driver of sustainable engagement, only 62% of employers say they have a formal leadership programme in place. To develop effective leaders organisations must ensure that their leadership programme goals are aligned to the overall business strategy.
4/ Rich incentives & pay: Being absolutely clear on what the incentive is and how the basic pay is determined is critical to success. Clearly articulating what objectives have to be met to qualify for the incentive is imperative. Differentiating your offering from the competition is also key. Many employers today are failing to differentiate themselves resulting in lower employee engagement & higher staff turnover.
5/ Job security: Many employees are still focused on job security as a key driver of engagement. This ranks as highly among the top reasons to join or leave an organisation. By underestimating this, employers are missing a golden opportunity to fully engage key talent. This is hard to do without a promise of the traditional ‘job for life’ but employers can start by providing an environment where the long term is discussed and plans/career development etc organised to ensure that the employee is developed becomes more productive and therefore ‘valuable’ to the organisation and at the same time feeling valued themselves. Other areas that employers should focus on are communicating business results more frequently and highlighting how individuals contribute to the overall success of the business. Communication by line managers plays a key role here.
6/ Promote benefits that support good health: This is a key driver of engagement, organisations that have highly engaged teams have benefits in place that provide subsidized gym membership/free on site membership, time off to attend doctor’s appointments.
7/ Promote benefits that support philanthropy: Again a key driver of engagement, especially for Gen Y. This generation decide on what company to work for based on how active they are at supporting charities and ‘giving something back’. Days off for charity work & supporting charities in a number of ways is a key driver of engagement.
8/ Care about the customers: If employees feel that the company genuinely cares about the customer then they are more likely to be engaged. Ask employees how the customer experience can be improved goes along way to ensuring that the employee feels ‘involved’, is making progress and delivering a service that the customer wants.
9/ Effective communication: Keeping the employee well informed, updated and ‘in the know’ about business performance and their role is this is critical. This instils a sense of trust, confidence and respect. This also engenders a sense that people are ‘valued’. A Forbes report suggests that of the people that want to leave an organisation, 65% of them want to leave because they do not feel valued.
10/ Random Surprises: give out random rewards for a job well done and for doing the right thing. Thoughtful gifts are appreciated and instil loyalty and high levels of engagement. As an example: an employee was working abroad on a high profile project and away from his family. The company he worked for sent a large bunch of flowers and a box of chocolates to his wife to say ‘thank you for supporting your husband at this busy time’. That employee still talks about that some years on. Other examples include, days off, excursions, cinema tickets, theatre tickets etc. Making a reward appropriate for the individual and being thoughtful is key!
It is a challenge for most companies these days but the results speak for themselves. Companies with a highly evolved employment deal are three times as likely to report their employees are engaged and 1.5 times likely to report achieving financial performance above their peers.
References: Global Talent & Reward Study, Towers Watson 2014
For more information on EP and the different events occurring, please contact Arlene McCaffrey