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New Year doesn’t have to be a new start for engaged employees

With the start of the year, staff can feel compelled to search for new horizons rather than climb the ladder within their own organisation. For the employer, this can have an impact on the culture of the company, as well as on its finances – so here's how to keep those engaged employees from leaving.
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The cost of losing engaged employees, added to the recruitment and training costs for someone new, not to mention the loss of productivity, is considerable. It will also take substantial time to find someone new who fits well within the team.

An additional concern is the ripple effect within the organisation, where other employees suddenly find reasons for leaving that are relevant to them. It takes one unhappy person to spark a change that can result in multiple employees questioning whether they are valued and still want to be in the company.

What makes your company less appealing?

Studies of employees often report that they feel their job lacks at least one of the following: training, effective leadership, open communication and supportive relationships with management. These all play a significant role in the engagement and satisfaction of a company’s workforce. Millennials in particular, according to Gallup, are considered the job-hopping generation. Some 60 per cent are consistently open to job opportunities that come their way. So, it’s vital to take a look at these pain-points in order to give employees a reason to stay.

How do you keep engaged employees, well, engaged?

Managers and executives alike need to create the right opportunities for staff and the only way to do this is by communicating effectively and keeping them engaged. It is crucial to create a culture of open communication, in which employees are encouraged to voice their ideas and observations, and where it is clear that all opinions, and not just those of the c-suite, are valued.

A great way to start communicating is to create an idea generation scheme. Platforms are available that encourage employees to contribute their thoughts about tackling business challenges or initiating improvements. Using this type of platform gives staff the opportunity to get more involved in the business, and prompts line managers to provide feedback, set up rewards and recognition processes and select ideas to be put into production. All of this has the potential to keep engaged employees happy and feeling valued.

A case in point

Waitrose, which uses an idea generation platform, has noticed a substantial change in its operations. Of this, Stuart Eames, Waitrose’s operational improvement manager, said: “Small ideas are here to stay, and generally impact and mean so much more to partners (employees), than the next big strategic change. Therefore, using a system that allows any partner, working anywhere in our business, whether driving a van, restocking shelves or managing the marketing POS we use, to submit an idea is very important.”

Through its idea sharing scheme, Waitrose improved employee engagement, satisfaction and retention, and collected ideas that it calculates have saved the organisation over £3,000,000. The same principle can be applied regardless of the size of the company, since idea sharing is as appropriate to a small and medium sized business as it is to a multi-branch retailer like Waitrose.

The message is simple. If companies take the initiative to communicate with employees and ask them for their thoughts and ideas, those employees will feel more involved and engaged and are much less likely to look elsewhere for job satisfaction.

Simon Hill is founder and CEO of Wazoku

Image: Shutterstock

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