Posted on August 31, 2018
Losing employees is expensive.
But just how expensive? According to the Center for American Progress, mid-range employee turnover costs 20% of annual salary and up to 213% of annual salary for higher-up employees. According to SHRM, it costs six to nine month’s salary on the low end and up to two years salary for high earners...wow. Either way, those results are costly and pretty alarming, especially because they don’t perfectly account for lost productivity, lost engagement and cultural impact.
Maybe you just got back the results of your eNPS survey and are blindsided by the low engagement, or maybe you can feel there’s a lackluster attitude around the office and something is missing. While these tips won’t automatically solve all your employee engagement problems, they will put you well on your way to having a more engaged and loyal workforce, that won’t only earn more money for the company, but enjoy doing it.
When employees enjoy working for you and believe in your product or service, two things happen: they work harder and they work for you longer—increasing profits and reducing the costs of churn in the long run.
7 Simple Ways to Increase Employee Engagement & Loyalty
1. Respectful Treatment of All Employees
This one goes without saying. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, respectful treatment of employees at all levels was rated the top contributor to overall job satisfaction in their 2015 study. Not only is it important for everyone to be treated with respect, but it also sets a precedent when employees across all levels see the standard for treating both superiors and inferiors embodied.
This also means if you have one employee—high up or not—making the workplace intolerable for everyone else through bullying, rudeness, being obnoxious, etc., it’s in your best interest to terminate your relationship with that employee, because it could end up costing you two or three solid workers.
2. Value & Appreciation
Make your employees feel valued and appreciated, not only for what they contribute to your company, but for who they are.
Everyone wants to feel valued in the workplace and believe what they do for a living is meaningful. Sure many employees are replaceable, but it’s important to get to know your employees and the unique contributions they make that are not replaceable; be it making everyone in the office laugh or having a way with difficult clients. When people are encouraged to be themselves and somehow incorporate their personal passions into work, they find meaning in their work that otherwise isn’t there in many industries.
3. Give More Responsibility
Give employees more control so they are making decisions instead of taking orders.
If you want someone to rise to the top, give them more responsibility. When you give someone a lot of responsibilities, it shows them that you believe in them and trust them and often helps them realize they are capable of more than they ever thought. If you have employees who you don’t trust with a lot of responsibility or believe they are capable, you should not be their employer. When someone if given a great responsibility, it makes them feel important. Someone is way more likely to give their all and take ownership when they actually own their work and receive recognition.
4. Clear Expectations & Honest Feedback
Set clear expectations and give honest feedback.
Transparency is crucial if you want employees to stay with you through thick and thin. It’s important to have the hard conversations with employees early on, because if you don’t, you’re the only one to blame. If there’s one employee who consistently turns in subpar work but you tell them they are doing everything great in their quarterly reviews, they are going to be pretty confused and upset when you deny them a promotion. Great employers take the time to train employees, teach them new skills, correct them, and help them grow.
5. Know Your Workforce & Hiring Needs
Hire carefully. Over-hiring leads to employees feeling useless and undervalued, “Why should I work here when there are three other people doing my same job?” Growing too fast is very dangerous when team growth is not truly needed.
Tap into your own team first. Knowing your workforce and each individual’s skill set pays in more ways than one. Each employee has personal interests, passions and networks. Give current employees more responsibility and when you do need to hire more people, you’re better equipped because you’ll know exactly which employees to go to for referrals. Try to get referrals from top employees that believe in your company and come out as Promoters (those who have an employee net promoter score of 9 or 10).
6. Culture is Everything
Establish your core purpose, values, and vision and build your culture around it. This means hiring very selectively—team members that don’t align with your company culture will dilute it.
Great culture means no one is micromanaged and everyone is enabled to make the most of their time because they are making empowered decisions and not constantly asking permission. Your employees are real people with real lives and they need to be treated like high-functioning adults.
The things that make a healthy life also make a healthy workplace. Create a culture that fosters flexibility, openness and connection. Trust that your employees will get their work done even though they need to pick their kids up from school or take a day off just because. Set aside time during the week for employees to socialize or plan company-sponsored social events.
7. Challenge Ideas
If you want to get an employee’s absolute best, make your company a safe place to challenge ideas (yes, even the boss’s) and fail.
Your employees need to know you have their back and you believe in them. This kind of support causes people to step out, be creative and disagree. You want a team that wants the absolute best for your company, even if that means challenging leadership. Of course this should all be done in a respectful and peaceful manner, but you want employees who are willing to dream big and fail. That's how companies like Apple start out.
8. Provide Training & A Path for Growth
If an employee can’t see a future beyond their current role within your company, they’re as good as gone.
Create each role with a path for upward mobility, and if you don’t know the path yet, let your employee create their own. It’s crucial that employees know their hard work isn’t for nothing and it will all pay off one day—literally and in the form of promotions.
9. Measure Engagement With Employee Net Promoter Scores
Ask your workforce how they feel about the company and its products/services.
Use eNPS surveys and get the most out of them by being transparent about the results and actually taking action on areas with room for improvement. Encouraging your staff to be open and honest on the upcoming eNPS survey and then not taking any action on the results is a slap in the face to staff and shows them that you really don’t care about the quality of their work life. eNPS scores offer invaluable intel on the quality of your culture, product and company as a whole. Use them for good.