Jane McNeill, a director of Hays, points out: “While strategies such as career progression, rewards and recognition, mentorships and flexible working have been the focus of many retention plans in the past, staff engagement is also now recognised as a very important tool.”
Research by Hays has revealed a disparity of up to 13 per cent between what people say engages them and what employers think engages their employees.
“We found that being valued, recognition for a job well done and understanding how their success will be measured are the top three engagement factors for employees,” says McNeill. “Yet employers believe that ensuring staff understand how their role contributes to the organisation’s success, how their role helps the organisation achieve its objectives and feeling valued are most important. This explains why 97 per cent of employers believe staff engagement is important, yet just 40 per cent say their staff are engaged.”
Staff engagement, motivation and retention involves so much more than offering staff the chance to leave early one day a week or providing a gym membership.
It’s vital for managers to put aside some time to talk to employees, really listen to them and find out what motivates them, and then put in place strategies that will actually work.
“After all, staff engagement, motivation and retention involves so much more than offering staff the chance to leave early one day a week or providing a gym membership,” McNeill explains.
She adds that good retention starts with great recruitment. Put simply, managers should hire people who fit with their organisation’s culture. And if money is tight, McNeill advises asking employees what else would make it worthwhile for them to stay (this is something that could be done through an anonymous feedback system).
The kind of non-monetary benefits people see as valuable can change with their age. For instance, the GWS study found that employees aged over 50 valued having good relationships with their managers and less stress in their work much more than workers aged 30 to 39.