The popular job site resumebuilder.com recently conducted a survey of 1,250 currently employed American adults. The results revealed nearly one in four workers plans to seek a new job with a different employer in 2022. While most reported they want to search for better pay and benefits (50%), next was their desire for a position they feel more passionate about (42%). Of those who are planning employment changes, 61% are already actively applying. With the continued labor shortage, 2022 may be a wakeup call for organizations to evaluate what they can do to improve employee retention.
In his book, Employee Leaps: Leveraging Engagement by Applying Positive Strategies, Kevin E. Phillips writes, “When a person is engaged, dedication to their craft, desire to achieve, and relentless commitment to make a difference is palpable. You can see it, hear it, and feel it, and it is contagious!”
While the term employee engagement may be used interchangeably with employee satisfaction or employee happiness, the phrases are different in terms of a company’s success. While happy or satisfied employees may enjoy their workplace, happiness does not necessarily indicate they’re emotionally invested in its success.
Employee engagement, however, describes the level of enthusiasm and commitment workers feel toward their jobs. Their focus is not solely on their paycheck or the next promotion, but rather on the organization’s goals. In short, they are enthusiastically invested in their work and the company.
Benefits of engaged employees include:
- Customer loyalty and engagement
- Productivity (sales)
- Productivity (production records and evaluations)
- Lower turnover
- Fewer safety incidents (accidents)
- Less absenteeism
- Less shrinkage (theft)
- Improved quality of work
- Improved wellbeing (thriving employees)
- Higher levels of organizational citizenship (participation)
Despite the value of employee engagement for business outcome, I should note that a recent Gallup survey showed a decline for the first time in more than a decade during the second half of 2021, with managers and health-care workers having the steepest drop in engagement.
How to increase employee engagement
Employees reported one of the largest declines was in basic needs, such as knowing what is expected of them, having the right materials and equipment to do their jobs, and opportunities to do what they do best. Reviewing duties and expectations of each role should be an ongoing ritual to best leverage strengths.
Open and frequent communication from leadership
The role of supervisors has become even more important during the pandemic. They must help employees navigate the frequent changes throughout the pandemic, while preserving team morale. Clear messaging from the top helps avoid confusion among team members.
Engage your leaders
Managers who are not engaged in the business cannot effectively lead others. It’s the owner’s responsibility to ensure that leaders receive the information, tools, and support they need to excel. Rather than using energy to find new hires, invest time and attention in your current employees and this will provide immeasurable dividends. Now is the time to focus on employee retention and what your current team needs to feel committed to the success of your practice.
- 1 in 4 workers plan on quitting in 2022, as Great Resignation continues. Resume Builder. Updated January 3, 2022. https://www.resumebuilder.com/1-in-4-workers-plan-on-quitting-in-2022-as-great-resignation-continues/
- Kruse K. What is employee engagement? Forbes. June 22, 2012. https://www.forbes.com/sites/kevinkruse/2012/06/22/employee-engagement-what-and-why/?sh=477339947f37
- Harter JK, Schmidt FL, Agrawal S, Blue A, et al. The relationship between engagement at work and organizational outcomes. October 2020. https://documentcloud.adobe.com/link/track?uri=urn:aaid:scds:US:7aa07949-b049-45ab-9ad6-79c1ea023bb9
- Harter J. U.S. employee engagement drops for first year in a decade. Gallup. January 22, 2022. https://www.gallup.com/workplace/388481/employee-engagement-drops-first-year-decade.aspx