The 12 Ways to Engage & Retain Staff – Part 5 – Growth and Profit

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The 12 Ways to Engage & Retain Staff – Part 5

The 12 Ways to Engage & Retain Staff – Part 5

By Andrew Cooke | September 13, 2012

The 12 Ways to Engage & Retain Staff – Part 5

by  Andrew Cooke, Growth & Profit Solutions

12 Ways to Engage & Retain Staff, Image (c) People Insight
In the first blog in this series we looked at why employee engagement is so important and provided an overview of Gallup’s findings from its extensive research.  This was summarised in the following 12 ways to engage employees.
In the second blog we examined the first 3 elements in further detail.  This included:

  1. I know what is expected of me at work.
  2. I have the right materials and equipment I need to do my work right.
  3. At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day.

In the third blog we continued looking at the second triad of elements including:
4. In the last seven days, I have received recognition or praise for doing good work.
5. My supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person.
6. There is someone at work who encourages my development.
In the fourth blog we looked at the next 3 elements:
7. At work, my opinions seem to count.
8. The mission or purpose of my company makes me feel my job is important.
9. My associates or fellow employees are committed to doing quality work.
In this blog we look at the final 3 elements:
10. I have a best friend at work.
11. In the last six months, someone has talked to me about my progress.
12. This last year, I have had opportunities at work to learn and grow.
Tenth Element – A Best Friend at Work
What does it mean?
This element is a strong predictor of performance, describing friendships which are supportive. With people it is human nature that will always win over company policy – so it is important to create, capture and leverage the power of friendships.
What is the evidence?
People look out for their friends; tolerate disagreements better, and are more likely to invite and share candid information, suggestions, and opinions, and to accept them without being threatened.  Gallup research indicates that as trust between employees increases, employee engagement increases, employee performance increases, camaraderie between employees increases, and employee happiness increases when workers report having a best friend on the job.
What should we do?
Best managers encourage friendships in the workplace by creating the conditions under which such relationships thrive.  As such managers need to get to know people in their team both individually and in terms of the dynamics that exist between them.  This then allows managers to put together people who probably could communicate, first of all, but secondly be or become friends.  To achieve this there needs to be good communication between all people, and objective criteria for the team.
Eleventh Element – Talking About Progress               
What does it mean?
Here the manager provides regular, insightful, and personal feedback to staff on both a formal and informal basis.
What is the evidence?
Staff need a clear picture or mirror of how they are performing to avoid the “Double Curse” where people ether over- or under-estimate their abilities in the following ways:

  • Self-analysis on performance is poor – people to tend to overestimate how they have done.  They lack the skill or knowledge to estimate properly – a form of unconscious incompetence.
  • Also undue modesty – people who do well know they have done well, but do not know their accomplishment is unique.  They tend to err in their estimates of others – consistently overestimating how well people do on the same test etc.

Gallup research indicates employees are more likely to believe they are compensated fairly when their manager gives them regular performance reviews. Additionally, employees who receive regular performance reviews tend to stay with the company longer and are twice as likely to tell others that their company is a great place to work.
What should we do?
Firstly, understand that the type of information that motivates a given employee, and realise that it may be different from the types that motivate others or the way that you yourself prefer.  When appraising performance for it to be effective it must be tailored for specific tasks, occupations and even personalities.
Focus on people’s strengths to stop them becoming actively disengaged, but provide constructive feedback on their weaknesses.  The appraisals are more meaningful, and perceived as more objective by staff, if they are held on a regular basis and the feedback is about relatively recent things.
Informal and on-going feedback is also important.  When discussing things with people get them to think what the options might be, don’t give them the answer right away.
A key question to ask yourself as a manager is “What can I do to improve, to coach, the person, to help him, to teach him?
Twelfth Element – Opportunities to Learn & Grow
What does it mean?
When employees feel they are learning and growing they work harder and more efficiently – this has a particular strong connection to customer engagement and profitability.
The importance of learning and growing is best appreciated when they are not there.  A lack causes frustration, and dissatisfaction as their enjoyment of work is lessened with no meaningful new challenges causes them to languish professionally and personally.
What is the evidence?
People perform when they are working toward specific difficult-to-attain targets rather than told to “do your best”.  These stretch goals are psychologically invigorating and good for business.  We need to look at the accomplishment not just in absolute terms, but also relative to what might have been and how people construe the results – especially the individual himself.
What should we do?
To match a worker with the right opportunities you need to have a deep understanding of the individual’s strengths and hopes for the future.  You need to have regular and meaningful conversations with them to develop this.

Employee engagement is crucial to retain key employees, to raising productivity and enabling the business to grow profitably.  If you don’t engage employees the best will leave, and those who are disengaged will quit and stay!
How good are you at using these 12 ways in an effective way:
Which of these 3 elements have you used and to what effect?  If you were to rank them which would you use first?  Would you use them with everyone, some of them or with no-one? What are you favourite ways or preferred ways to engage employees?
Until then share your thoughts and ideas here, and feel free to share this blog and articles with any colleagues, clients or friends you feel may find this of value. If you have any particular areas of interest you would like article on then please let me know.
Share your ideas, and share the wealth!

Click here to find out more about Andrew Cooke and Growth & Profit Solutions.


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