Recruitment, Hiring and Engagement: You found a great employee, now how do you keep them?

Bridging the Gap Series

Written by: Noel Poulton, Consultant Engagement Specialist – Manifest Solutions 

Over the course of the last two years both employees and employers have felt the strain of working in a pandemic. The workplace as we know it has changed forever; some would say for the better while others would claim we have lost ground. I tend to believe that if we continue to hire, train, and invest in our companies and employees we will stay the course and come out on top. How do we ensure that our most valuable assets stay engaged as employees for future?  

Many surveys, polls and news outlets have studied the “Great Resignation” or the “Great Reshuffle” in pursuit of why so many people are quitting their jobs. There is interesting new data here from Pew Research Center showing why 47.8 million workers quit their jobs in 2021: 63% cited low pay, 57% said they felt disrespected, and 48% cited child care issues. How do we address these issues plaguing the workforce?  

Manifest Solutions believes that there is a roadmap for us all: create advancement opportunities and foster a culture of respect. Seems simple, but is it? Human nature tends to not feel the need to react to something until it becomes near emergency. It comes down to the “golden rule” – treat others the way you would like to be treated. Here are some actionable strategies for keeping employees engaged in workforce.  

  • Ask for feedback and follow it with action – the best way to get feedback from your employees is to create a culture of open and honest communication. If you have hired the right resources, who value your company culture, this should be an easy one. Show interest in in who they are, where they want to grow in their careers and be genuine in your interest. Find commonalities in their belief system and your company culture and foster those similarities. There are many ways to get feedback, the simplest of which is to survey your employees to ask for feedback. If you consistently survey and follow through on making changes as a result, you will create a confidence for them to believe that you will do as you say you do. Other tools to use for the feedback process is regular employee reviews as well as exit interviews. These are self-explanatory, however if you as an employer focus on the long-term benefits of these tools they can be highly valuable. Remember that successful communication goes both ways, as much as you should listen, you should also share company direction, successes, and failures.  
  • Invest in learning & growth – Employers are finally beginning to understand that employee development is essential to keeping workers engaged, developing an internal talent pipeline, and retaining top talent. When a job seeker sees that a company invests in employee development, they know that the company is much more likely to value them and want to see them grow both professionally and personally. Disengaged employees are less productive and are more prone to burnout. They do not feel a sense of connection or loyalty to their workplace and are more likely to leave. Investing in employee development creates opportunities for employees to feel excited about learning and growing. It also creates opportunities for employees to form greater connections with one another by practicing new skills together. 
  • Train leaders how to lead us –Beyond simply keeping employees at the company, investing in employee development creates a clear path for employees to have upward mobility. Investing in leadership, and developing future leaders is paramount at Manifest Solutions. It is not necessary to re-invent the wheel here, there are many great leaders that have developed solid curriculum around the topic. One such leader is John Maxwell, a favorite here. He developed an entire system of how to become a leader, develop leaders and how to influence people. Listen to a great podcast here: 
  • Ask “how are you?” – its’ funny how such a simple act, of asking a co-worker how they are doing can change the trajectory of the conversion. A simple smile, and hello when walking down the hallway can brighten your day. Empathy in the workplace is an underrated skill. Empathy is a desirable skill that many employers look for among potential employees. Asking questions and practicing non-verbal encouragement, such as eye contact, are helpful in letting people know that you are listening to them. Everyone wants to be heard and know they have a voice in their career, and sometimes it is just this simple.  

Employee engagement and retention has become a priority for most companies, now more than ever. With the US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics releasing their 2021 quit data, an average of more than 3.98 million workers quit their jobs each month, meaning 2021 holds the highest average on record, topping the 2019 average of 3.5 million. Most companies are looking to increase their commitments to retaining their employees and keeping them happy. Hopefully, these insights help you as you guide your managers and employees through this.