As workers become more transient in their careers, businesses need to fight the trend by investing in initiatives that will engage their employees and, as a result, improve retention rates.
According to a recent report from Allegiance Inc., solid training, mentoring programs and programs to retrain ineffective managers can help accomplish that. Bringing these changes to the workplace will have a positive domino effect by increasing employee loyalty and ultimately impacting revenue and profit.
“Employees who are committed to success, emotionally attached and socially involved with a company are more productive at work, take less sick days and are less likely to leave,” said Kyle LaMalfa, Allegiance best practices manager and loyalty expert. “In short, engaged employees are the best employees.”
Employee engagement is more than just loyalty or job satisfaction, it’s an emotional bond between the employee and the workplace, and it can arise from something as simple as training. Training boosts an employee’s confidence and facilitates career advancement in the workplace.
“When I say training, I don’t always mean job skill training, but [I mean training on] how to resolve problems,” LaMalfa said. “For managers, [have training on] how to conduct a meeting [and] how to reward and recognize your employees. In our world, that [employee] engagement, that emotional bond, is all about people.”
Providing mentoring programs for employees also will help employee retention rates. It’s a double win, as mentoring programs engage both mentees and mentors.
“Those who are mentoring, they get a lot out of it too: a sense of accomplishment and also contributing to the cause in ways that are personally meaningful [and] rewarding,” LaMalfa said. “The company wins too not only because of their engaged employees, but also from the productivity and quality of work that comes as a result of workers who are learning informally.”
Unfortunately, few companies have mentoring programs, LaMalfa said. To begin one, he suggests starting small and finding mentors “who are less materially motivated and have the flexibility in their job to work with an individual or a small group of people.”
Another aspect that is critical to improved employee engagement is retraining bad managers.
“Everyone at some point in their career has worked for a bad manager,” LaMalfa said. “One thing that we see time and time again is that employees aren’t leaving the company they work for when they quit, they’re leaving the manager. It’s not that the company is not aligned with their goals. It’s not that the pay is bad. It’s that their manager has got lousy people skills, anger management problems, problems with reward and recognition [or] problems with project management. Any of these things can lead to a premature separation between employee and employer.”
The highest performing employees are the ones who are most sensitive to poor managerial behavior, LaMalfa said, so one bad manager can not only affect a whole team, but also cause you to lose your top performing people.
“Before you let someone go, you [should] explore the opportunity for retraining,” LaMalfa said. “It’s skills that everyone can use, but maybe specific managers just have a hard time with their people skills, with their reward and recognition abilities [or] with their anger management. These are learned behaviors; we’re not just born with these kinds of skills.”