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Ideas for Boosting Employee Engagement and Improving Retention

Explore the benefits and impact of employee engagement and retention on business success. Learn the main strategies and metrics that drive talent retention.

An engaged workforce is a successful one. Researchers have shown that companies whose employees are more engaged employees outperform those with disengaged employees by a phenomenal 10% in customer ratings, 21% in productivity, 22% in profitability, and up to 147% when it comes to higher earnings per share (EPS). 

Low engagement leads to low performance and incurring high costs – totaling in the trillions globally. Adding to the cost: businesses with low employee engagement are also at risk for higher attrition, as employees are less likely to remain with a company if they are not engaged. And in this age of “quiet quitting” and “The Great Resignation,” companies are spending one-half to double an employee’s annual salary just to replace them.  

Taken together, what this means is that one of the most powerful ways that company leadership can change the trajectory of their business is by impacting employee engagement and improving retention.   

What is employee engagement? 

Employee engagement is a measurement of the nature of the relationship between employees and employers, including how committed employees are to their jobs, and to the company as a whole.  

Employee engagement generally includes the following four elements, where the employee: 

  • Feels committed to an employer  
  • Identifies with their organization 
  • Feels satisfied with their job 
  • Is energized at work

Engagement is traditionally measured by asking employees to fill out surveys or questionnaires. Modern platforms can measure employee engagement and retention based on their interactions with the platform. For example, products that incorporate gamification for employee engagement and retention can easily see exactly which employees are most engaged, and flag where certain employees seem less engaged.  

What is employee retention? 

Employee retention refers to employees staying with the company, as opposed to leaving voluntarily or even involuntarily. It can also refer to the employee engagement and retention strategies employed by a company.  

Employee retention is critical for a number of reasons, including: 

  1. Low retention, or high employee turnover, is expensive 
  2. Organizational learning is lost 
  3. Attracting new talent is challenging 
  4. Low employee retention often indicates deep underlying problems within an organization 
  5. Low employee retention negatively affects productivity and performance 

Employee engagement and retention are clearly incredibly important, and intimately related.  

The correlation between employee retention and employee engagement 

Employee retention is very closely related to employee engagement. According to Gallup, work units with the highest employee engagement rates had 25% less employee turnover in high-turnover organizations (which jumped to 65% in low-turnover organizations), and 37% less absenteeism.  

In fact, highly engaged employees are 87% less likely to quit their job.   

This is one of the biggest “secrets” to high employee retention rates: ensure you have highly engaged employees. 

Click here for a quick preview of the Centrical platform 

Why is employee retention beneficial for business? 

Why is employee engagement and retention important? There are several reasons why implementing employee engagement and retention strategies is beneficial for businesses. These include

  1. A high employee retention rate means that companies must expend fewer resources on hiring new employees, training and onboarding them, and upskilling these new employees to the level of those employees that left.  
  2. Companies with high employee retention often have a better name in the market for talent – there’s usually a good reason employees choose to stay at a company. 
  3. With fewer employees leaving, the institutional knowledge gained by current employees is kept within the company, resulting in a long-term, sustainable advantage. 
  4. Management is incentivized to invest more in relationships with employees when retention rates are high. 
  5. Low employee turnover is great for company culture, where the feeling of being a team can be cultivated.

These are just some of the many benefits of employee retention. Next, we’ll look at successful strategies to improve employee retention, by boosting employee engagement. 

10 strategies to improve employee retention via employee engagement 

Improving employee engagement and retention can be achieved by following tried and tested methods that have been used successfully by leading organizations worldwide.  

Promote a positive corporate culture 

A nurtured, positive culture, according to Deloitte, can result in revenue that is 516% higher over ten years, versus companies that do not proactively manage their culture. Additionally, the majority of employees rate company culture as more important than financial compensation. A positive culture results in employees that are more engaged because they actually want to be a part of the company – they are also more likely to stay for this reason. 

Flexibility of working schedules 

Since the Coronavirus epidemic, employees have realized that flexibility in terms of work schedule is high up on their priority list. In today’s connected world, most work can be performed from almost anywhere. Companies are therefore offering more flexibility, and getting more engaged employees, with better rates of retention.  

Create a culture of creativity and innovation 

People will want to leave a static, potentially boring setting. Employee engagement and retention levels will be low in this type of environment as opposed to a culture of creativity and innovation. By allowing employees to release their inner creativity and ideas, and supporting this with a culture of innovation, organizations can boost talent engagement and retention. 

Focus on the company vision 

People are prepared to go the extra mile if they believe in the cause. By having an inspiring vision, and uniting employees behind this vision, high engagement, and retention rates will naturally follow. Some great examples of this are the likes of Tesla (“To create the most compelling car company of the 21st century by driving the world’s transition to electric vehicles”) and Wikipedia (“Imagine a world in which every single person on the planet is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge. That’s what we’re doing.”).  

Offer meaning at work 

People seek meaning. It’s what makes everything else worthwhile, even the more challenging periods. By offering meaning in employees’ work and connecting what the company is doing to something meaningful, company leadership can strengthen employee engagement and retention.  

Coach and give feedback 

Feedback is one of the most valuable commodities out there. People crave feedback – it’s how we assess where we are, where we’re going, and how to improve. By offering coaching and feedback that’s as near to real-time as possible, employees will be more likely to be invested in the company for the long term.  

Communicate company goals and progress effectively  

By making employees feel like they are truly part of the company’s journey and progress, you can help them be more engaged and to stay in the company for longer periods of time. For example, by regularly sharing company goals, progress towards those goals, and other key information, company leadership can help employees feel more invested. 

Offer rewards and recognition 

Rewards are highly effective when it comes to reinforcing behaviors and incentivizing outcomes. Rewards can be physical rewards such as cash bonuses, or company swag – or can be acknowledgment such as a shoutout at the company all-hands meeting.  

Make it social 

A big reason why people care about – and stay at – their company, is their colleagues. By creating a social context, such as group chats, knowledge contributions, and fun challenges along the way, the social atmosphere can be enhanced, and employees’ connections to one another (and in turn, the company)strengthened.  

Gamify goals 

A sales team with targets to hit will be somewhat engaged. A sales team that is taking part in a virtual racing game, where every call and every deal closed earns virtual points, will be super engaged. Gamification is one of the secrets of successful employee engagement and retention, and implementing fun employee retention ideas can go a long way to moving the needle here significantly. 

How to measure employee engagement and retention: tools and metrics 

As we touched on previously, you can always measure employee engagement using internal surveys and questionnaires. But these are historically inaccurate and often incentivize the wrong behaviors. 

A key tool here is a modern employee engagement and retention product – one that incorporates interactive elements and leverages employees’ mobile phones to create highly engaging and sustainable experiences.  

When using a more modern employee engagement and retention platform, you can track all kinds of engagement metrics – from clicks to opens, to how active employees are on the platform, to leaderboards, levels, points, and more. 

What’s more, you can incentivize employees to get and stay engaged using advanced gamification, virtual rewards, and personalized growth tools.  

Centrical solutions for measuring employee engagement and retention 

Centrical is the leading gamified Workforce Engagement Management platform. When it comes to improving employee engagement and retention, the Centrical platform offers everything you need in one place, including targeted microlearning, AI-powered coaching, real-time performance management, and Voice of the Employee. This ecosystem boosts employee engagement and retention while driving measurable impact across your organization. 

Crucially, the Centrical platform takes a gamified approach– which is proven to have a massive impact on employee engagement and retention. It’s no wonder it’s trusted by the leading organizations across the globe, including HP and Microsoft, to boost these critical metrics. 

To see the Centrical platform in action and learn how it can benefit your organization, book your personalized demo here. 

Final thoughts 

We’ve seen just how important employee engagement and retention is, and key strategies to boost these measurements. A few key takeaways:  

  • There is a documented effectiveness of an engaged vs disengaged workforce;  
  • The relationship between employee engagement and employee retention is intertwined 
  • High engagement and retention rates offer many benefits, including lowered costs, better performance, and keeping institutional knowledge within the company 
  • There are many ways to improve employee engagement, including the 10 proven strategies to boost employee engagement and retention that we outlined here 

To achieve your full potential when it comes to employee engagement and retention, try Centrical today. To see what it’s all about, you can check it out for yourself as part of a quick preview.  

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