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Engagement Equals Higher Retention

You rarely hear that someone loves their job so much that they decide to look elsewhere. If your retention rates are lower than you want, it is worth your time and money to find out why.

In September, 2016, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported the median number of years that employees (of any age) remain on a job is 4.2 years, down from 4.6 years in January of 2014. Since then, the job marketplace has become more fluid, leaving employers in a crunch to find talent. After your recruiter or HR managers welcome new candidates onboard, how do you fight the common marketplace strategy for new hires to hop scotch between jobs to leverage their experience and improve their salary? In a word? Engagement.

Where does recruiting end and HR begin?

For some companies, the scramble for scarce talent results in front-loading resources to attract and pay hires whose positions are based on projected growth. If overall productivity drops due to drivers like poor engagement, the growth doesn’t happen, momentum is lost, and that high-priced talent may quickly move on.

Engagement means different things to different employers and strategies to support meaningful work vary across industry. Regardless of your service or product, if you do not have end-to-end engagement strategies in place, the chances are good you cannot remain competitive in recruiting or retention.

Lack of engagement shows up in lower retention figures, but also drains off energy elsewhere. A Gallop survey suggests engaged workers in the US take an average of 1.25 sick days per month, while actively disengaged (the portion of your workforce that is probably spending their office time at your company looking for a job elsewhere) workers take 2.17 sick days per month. Having the wrong engagement strategies or workers costs a lot.

Since retention figures give you a good idea of the level of engagement of your workforce, it makes sense to understand how company attention to retention can pay off in productivity and recruiting.

Nurture your workforce and recruits are sure to follow

Your workforce is the engine that keeps your company running. If that engine is maintained, has access to resources, and retains resiliency, your company can meet internal and external challenges—plus create an unbeatable recruiting profile. The days of hiring in candidates without revealing big problems in company management are pretty much over—new hires deceived in this way leave and your brand reputation goes with them when the word gets around.

Steps you take to improve retention are closely related to how engaged your employees feel throughout the employee lifecycle. Outside of specific engagement programs or strategies, you can improve retention by being candid about the job, and your company, during the recruiting phase.

During onboarding, quickly introduce new hires to their team members and provide access to company resources and information. Throughout the employee lifecycle, make efforts to respond to all employees as they face personal or professional challenges, and compensate and reward fairly. Finally, pay attention to performance management and training and ensure top-down commitment to your workforce, individually, and as a group.

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