Employee Engagement: 8 Tips for Retaining Top Talent

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Greta Cline, CFO
Greta Cline
Partner, CFO/COO
August 4, 2021
Engaging your best employees amid the post-COVID “turnover tsunami.”

Engaging employeesAs you’ve likely heard, the “quit rate” in the U.S. is at an all-time high. After a sharp downturn during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the national quit rate as of April 2021 was 2.8%, the highest it’s been since rates first started being recorded at the turn of the century.1 Across industries, employees are optimistic about finding new opportunities post-COVID, confident even without a firm position lined up. 

And how does this impact employers? Rebounding from the pandemic recession as a business may seem difficult, but with the many lessons learned from working through the pandemic remotely and emerging as a stronger community, you too can retain your best employees with some simple changes. Check out our top tips to keep your current employees engaged and attract new talent as well.

1. Attach meaning to your employees’ work.

American workers want to feel like they are doing meaningful work. They want to feel that they are part of something bigger than themselves, something significant. Convey this significance by regularly sharing company-wide and departmental goals, having open communication lines, and giving positive feedback whenever possible.

2. Celebrate together.

Boost morale and build employee relationships by having fun together as a team. Whether it’s an informal after-work get-together, a Zoom party for remote workers, holiday celebrations, or the acknowledgment of a big win at work, make sure you regularly celebrate together.

3. Be flexible.

Inflexible policies and rigid schedules can be a nightmare for employees, breeding discontent and low morale, especially in a post-COVID world. Be fair and reasonable when it comes to when and where people are allowed to do their work. Fully remote or flexible working schedules are a priority for many workers right now. Be compassionate and open-minded when employees face unexpected happenings in their lives such as sickness, personal crises, or even positive opportunities like a chance to further their education or go on a trip.

4. Treat your employees well.

This sounds like a no-brainer, but it’s easy to overlook when you’re in the day-to-day grind of things. It might be as simple as remembering someone’s birthday or writing personalized notes to your team for a job well done. Remind yourself regularly that your employees have lives outside of work, just like you, and make it a point to engage with them on that level too. 

5. Set a good example.

It’s critical for leaders and managers to lead by example. Make sure you as a leader are modeling the kind of behaviors and attitudes you desire your employees to have. Some workers are feeling especially burnt out post-pandemic, and you can set a good example by not overworking yourself or your employees.

6. Lean into employee strengths.

Upwards of 80% of American workers reported feeling disengaged at work, according to recent Gallup’s 2021 Report.2 Despite engagement trending higher over the last decade, 2020 saw a two-point decrease in engagement, likely exacerbated by the impact of COVID-19. One way to turn this around is to spend time discovering the natural strengths of your employees, and do everything you can to tailor job duties to leverage these strengths. People almost always thrive when they are doing what they were naturally wired to do well. 

7. Invest in culture.

Create a desirable workplace by looking for ways to inject fun and corporate pride into work. Lighten things up when you can and provide incentives for top-notch performance. When managing remote workers, find ways to keep them engaged with on-campus excitement too. 

8. Don’t skimp on perks.

With unemployment as low as it is, now’s not the time to be stingy with benefits, remote-friendly opportunities, professional development, competitive pay, or other perks. Be creative and come up with ways to make your workers’ jobs more desirable.

The labor market may be tight, but you can still hold on to your star employees. Remember as well that many economists believe that the quit rate is high due to the market correcting itself after employees remained in jobs during the uncertainty of the pandemic. As the economy evens back out, make it a priority to implement our top tips to both retain and recruit your top talent. 

Need help in the hiring process? Get in touch today!