The Art of Employee Engagement and Retention

By Darian Mavandad
May 31, 2023
5 min read

In the evolving business landscape, the role of employee engagement and retention can’t be emphasized enough. In an age where talented individuals have numerous opportunities at their disposal, it is the organizations that foster a culture of engagement and satisfaction that stay ahead in the game.

There is no cookie-cutter approach to a successful employee engagement and retention plan. As the employer, this is an issue that deserves the undivided attention of the executive staff. You need to know your employees, set appropriate goals and have the right measurables in place. 

Setting Employee Engagement Goals

When we talk about employee engagement goals, we’re referring to the roadmap that outlines how your organization plans to increase the motivation and productivity of your staff. These goals help you to identify the key drivers of employee engagement and to set the stage for a thriving work environment.

At the end of the day, your employee engagements strategy should lead to the following:

Employee Retention

Employee retention is the direct result of successful employee engagement. Numbers show that one in every three new employees quit after 6 months. Moreover, individuals tend to resign from their positions due to five primary factors. Interestingly, 66% of these factors are directly related to management and HR practices, indicating that employers possess the ability to address and rectify these issues.

When your employees feel valued, recognized, and part of a fulfilling work environment, they’re more likely to stick around. Retention is more than just keeping employees—it’s about fostering a sense of loyalty and dedication, creating an environment where they choose to stay and contribute to the organization’s success.

Improving Workplace Satisfaction

To improve workplace satisfaction, start by understanding what your employees value the most. Is it recognition, opportunities for growth, a positive work environment, or work-life balance? Once you’ve identified these, ensure they are incorporated into your employee engagement strategy.

Creating a Safe Space for Employees

A major factor in employee engagement and retention is the creation of a safe space where employees feel comfortable expressing their thoughts and ideas. This requires building an environment of trust and open communication, where everyone feels heard and respected.

Promoting Work-Life Balance

Work-life balance is a vital component of employee satisfaction. Employees who can balance their personal and professional lives are more likely to be productive, satisfied, and engaged. Employers can support this by offering flexible working hours, encouraging time-off, and fostering a culture that respects personal time and commitments.

Setting Employee Engagement Benchmarks

Setting employee engagement benchmarks provides a tangible way to measure the success of your engagement initiatives. These could be based on employee feedback, retention rates, or specific engagement metrics. Having clear, measurable goals helps to keep your strategy focused and to track progress over time.

Once you have benchmarks in place, you can begin to follow employee engagements best practices and measure the success every month, quarter, or semi-annually.  

Download Now: The HR Guide: 12 Ways an Intranet Can Help You Create an Efficient and Engaged Workplace [Free eBook]

Key Drivers of Employee Engagement and Retention

Understanding the key drivers of employee engagement and retention is akin to holding a compass in the wilderness of corporate dynamics. These drivers serve as your guide, pointing you in the direction of enhanced productivity, reduced turnover, and a highly motivated workforce.

Freedom and Flexibility in Roles

Imagine a bird enclosed in a cage. Now, imagine the same bird soaring in the open sky. Which scenario do you think the bird prefers? The answer is quite straightforward, isn’t it? The same applies to your employees. When they feel a sense of freedom and flexibility in their roles, they tend to perform better, and the likelihood of them staying with the company increases.

Transparent Leadership

Transparency in leadership is like a glass wall. It allows employees to see the mechanisms of decision-making, understand the ‘whys’ and ‘hows,’ and feel included in the process. This breeds trust, a crucial ingredient for employee retention.

Cultural Alignment

Culture is the invisible thread that binds the organization together. When employees resonate with this culture, they feel a sense of belonging, fostering engagement and promoting retention.

Shared Success Perception

Success, much like happiness, is subjective. However, when employees perceive that their success is intertwined with the company’s success, it fuels engagement and retention. This shared success perception is a potent driver in the pursuit of organizational goals.

Flexible Work Options

The concept of 9-to-5 has been fading away, replaced by flexible work options. In an era where work-life balance is highly sought-after, offering such flexibility can be a game-changer in retaining your talented workforce.

Organizational Agility

In an ever-evolving business environment, agility is not just a trait but a necessity. It’s the role of management to constantly have their finger on the pulse of the workplace ecosystem. Not just internally, but globally. Strategies could include opting for better health and wellness programs at work or adopting a digital workplace strategy.

It’s All About Motivation

Proper motivation propels employees towards greater heights. The question then arises, how can we use employee engagement to increase motivation?

How to Use Employee Engagement to Increase Motivation

Employee engagement and motivation are two sides of the same coin. A highly engaged employee is likely to be more motivated, and vice versa. To foster this symbiotic relationship, organizations can leverage various strategies such as recognition and rewards, personal and professional growth opportunities, and fostering a positive and inclusive work environment.

The truth is, employee engagements and retention isn’t a pure science. There is no one formula to success, otherwise we would see 0% turnover across North America. 

This is a complex issue that deals with personal relationships and individual psychology. It takes a ton of effort to understand each individual at your company, but it can pay dividends if done the right way. Employee engagement and retention are not just short term activities, these are lifelong endeavours that a company must take on.

By Darian Mavandad

Darian has a degree from McGill University, and joined IC to empower internal communicators by creating content that inspires. In his free time, he loves traveling, reading, and skiing.