HR Management & Compliance, Talent

Motivation + Engagement = Employee Retention

Today’s workers have more leverage than ever when deciding how long they’ll stay with a job before looking for a new one. When passive jobseekers—your current employees—are contacted multiple times by recruiters, they get more curious about opportunities in the marketplace.


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Because of that, companies are taking a fresh look at what kind of employee experience they offer, with an eye toward not just retaining top workers but also creating an environment that makes them want to stay.

Know What Employees Want

The factors that engage and retain employees might not be what you think. A 2019 Aerotek white paper, “Workplace Satisfaction Report: What Workers Want – And What Doesn’t Matter,” found that employers don’t always have a firm grasp on the factors that engage candidates, noting that “employers need to be responsive to what employees want, not just in compensation but by offering interesting work, growth opportunities, and culture.”

Employers are taking a tactical approach to engagement—finding out what employees are looking for and acting upon the results to drive satisfaction. The report found that employees are motivated when they feel valued and recognized for their work and contributions, for instance.

The report also found that attention, particularly one-on-one interactions, can be a real driver of employee satisfaction. To ensure that happens, managers need to develop a consistent, ongoing cadence of communication with their direct reports and other staff and be available to them when they have questions or need advice.

There’s no reason a manager can’t be a mentor, as well. Although it’s valuable to have contacts outside your regular reporting structure, an effective manager builds coaching into the relationship and takes a proactive approach to helping employees succeed.

Make the Business Case for Employee Engagement

This approach also makes budget sense, according to recent research by Gallup, which found that organizations that have made a strategic investment in employee development report 11% greater profitability and are twice as likely to retain their employees.

But employers also see it as a strategic decision—the right way to invest in their business’s success. Companies recognize the value in supporting their existing employees by increasing their skills, helping them gain experience, and sharing organizational knowledge.

Reimagine the Work Environment

Competitive compensation and benefits are still crucial, but there are other factors employers should consider with regard to employee retention. Workers today expect flexibility, and they might sacrifice higher pay if the environment is good enough. Employers have adjusted their expectations of when and how often employees need to be in the office to get the job done. If they can do the job remotely, it becomes an expectation.

There’s also been an evolution in the way employers think about benefits like working from home. Studies have shown that employees who are able to work from home are actually more productive because workers see themselves as turning that commuting hour into a working hour.

Organizations are also evaluating the effectiveness of many age-old expectations and requirements—dress code, work environment, hiring practices, and qualifications. Progressive organizations are willing to abandon static practices and adopt new ones in order to appeal to an employee’s idealized work experience. Many companies have found that concessions have produced not only similar results but also better results. Companies need to ask themselves why certain requirements are in place and evaluate their effectiveness objectively.

Bottom Line

Companies have a choice whether to be best-in-class employers. Creating a positive employee experience is critical to increasing retention and meeting company goals. If your company’s work doesn’t get done, you won’t be able to deliver on your promises to the customers you serve.

Vinay NayakAerotek Vice President of Strategic Sales and Operations Vinay Nayak oversees strategic initiatives and business development efforts for Aerotek’s largest national customer accounts.

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