9 Ingenious Ways to Engage Employees & Improve Retention

Never before has employee retention been so important. The ‘great resignation’ of 2021 left many companies struggling to meet quotas, perform required services, and get products out the door. It’s estimated that when a business loses an employee, it can cost them between 6 and 9 months of that employee’s salary before a suitable replacement is found. These costs include the costs of training a new employee, hiring, recruiting, and any overtime performed by current employees.

It’s clear why employee retention is first and foremost on employers’ minds, because in addition to the financial effects there are heavy impacts on morale, as well. Over time, coworkers form a special bond that can often blossom from mere acquaintance into friendship. And, murmurings of worry and distress within the company among employees can create detachment, disloyalty, and low productivity.

1. Foster an Atmosphere of Respect

Regardless of the position an employee holds within the company, there should be an overall sense of appreciation for everyone’s contributions. The best ways to foster a culture of respect is to ask for their ideas, consider their thoughts, encourage creativity, create teams for collaboration, and be available and open to critical feedback.

2. Connect Everyone

While people go to work to, well, work, there should also be a sense that, on occasion, they are able to laugh and have fun. Consider implementing monthly breakfasts or lunches, celebrating various holidays with parties, and regularly rewarding employees with incentives. Some of these incentives might include four “free” work hours, an afternoon off, goody baskets, and gift cards that can be used for convenient purchases at many retailers like Walmart, Target, Bed, Bath & Beyond and more.

3. Promote a Work-Life Balance

In the past, working long hours was the key to successfully climbing the corporate ladder and being and giving it 100%, as a society we are realizing the importance of balance, in a way that wasn’t truly explored previously. When employees are well rested and spiritually revitalized, they perform better, which means, of course, that the company benefits. Place appropriate restrictions or guidelines on regular work hours as well as clear cut directives for working on the weekends.

4. Identify Employee Strengths – Beyond their Current Position

Most people identify completely with advancement, and this usually means using their knowledge, skill, and strengths in a higher or better defined position at their company. Train managers to identify individual strengths to help align employees with not just the job they have now – but their dream job within the company.

5. Pay for Volunteering

It’s been proven that giving back to society builds a strong sense of happiness and fulfillment. Allow your employees to spend a few hours or an entire day at a volunteer opportunity of their choice. If you’re able to provide this to them four or five days a year, they will not only feel personally satisfied, they’ll also believe even more in the positive spirit of the company.

6. Actively Prevent Employee Burnout

Sick days are in place for a reason – because sometimes, despite all safeguards, people get sick. And what’s more, the rest of the office does not want the sick employee at the office with them if they are! Don’t pressure individuals who are out sick to return to work. Whether it’s a physical illness or a need for an emotional break, the time away will serve to rejuvenate them so they can once again be productive. Consider offering employees resources to counseling, fitness, and dietary support services.

7. Keep Track of Highly Productive Employees

Not everyone in the company is going to be as productive as another. Who are the highest producers? Monitor them and analyze why they are so productive. Make yourself available and open to their insights and comments, and always recognize their hard work. Apply what you’ve learned about your high achievers to the lower achievers. You might also consider putting the high achievers into mentoring roles.

8. Discover and Acknowledge each Position’s Pain Point

For those who work with the public, the pain point is obvious. But, for everyone else, the pain point – the stress of the work that the employee takes home with them – may not be as clear. Find this pain point as it applies to those working in your industry and address it, offer solutions and support to ease that inevitable stress.

9. Send Employees Home Early

No, you don’t want to send your employees home early every day, of course. But, if a deadline or quota has been met, a big contract signed, a holiday approaching, letting them know they’ve done a great job and that you’ll “see them on Monday” will go a long way in building morale. They will feel honored, valued, and respected.