As the economy rebounds, more and more buzz surrounds the topic of the currently employed seeking new positions. Some have asserted that the ‘buzz’ is actually causing the statistic to inflate. Whether the statistics are accurate or not, employee retention should not be ignored. The first step is ensuring that employee’s concerns, complaints, and requests are heard.

In our experience, regular feedback, dialogue and praise from superiors is the most important factor contributing to employee engagement. This includes:

Clarity of job expectations- If an employee is never taught how to handle the responsibilities of their job, what is expected of them, or if the policies change frequently, the employee can’t focus and succeed. They see their role as ‘surviving’ in their role as opposed to helping the organization succeed.

Career advancement/improvement opportunities- Supervisors should be aware of their employee’s goals and seek to help them achieve those goals: identifying training, internal promotions, or special projects.

Company Culture- The perception of the values of the organization and commitment to ethical contributions to society: diversity, volunteering, charity, environmentalism, and education.

The responsibility of employee engagement cannot end at the direct supervisor. Most surprisingly, studies have shown that senior management plays a much larger role in engagement: “Half of employees who trust senior leaders are engaged compared to 40 percent of those who trust their direct boss and 33 percent of the North American workforce overall.” (BlessingWhite)

An engaged employee is motivated by their work, by what they can contribute to the company. A disengaged employee is motivated by what they ‘get’ from the company: raises, bonuses, vacation, etc. Rewards for high performance are important to both engaged employees and their counterparts. Without regular feedback, employees will focus more and more on the tangible rewards which can be found in any organization.