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Viewpoint - Bob Gershberg - February 2022

Employee Engagement can Help

by Bob Gershberg, CEO/Managing Partner, Wray Executive Search

In our current work environment, burdened by the Great Resignation and the need to adapt to ‘hybrid” work force, focus on employee engagement is paramount in overcoming our human capital challenges. Understanding why employees are leaving, what is attracting them and how best to retain and develop them will be requisite in creating a successful post pandemic organization.

A recent McKinsey study queried employers as to why their people had quit, they cited compensation, work–life balance, and poor physical and emotional health. These issues did matter to employees—just not as much as employers thought they did. By contrast, the top three factors employees cited as reasons for quitting were that they didn’t feel valued by their organizations (54 percent) or their managers (52 percent) or because they didn’t feel a sense of belonging at work (51 percent). Executives who don’t make their people feel valued can drive them from companies, with or without a new job in hand. Now, more than ever, we need leaders who motivate and inspire their teams and lead with passion and empathy.

Attaining a high level of employee engagement can benefit an organization in myriad ways:

  1. Engaged employees are enthusiastic, will participate and may even go beyond expectations. Their attitudes will be contagious for both clients and coworkers. It is common for engaged employees to become advocates for their companies – 33% of them post unsolicited, positive comments about their work on social media.

  1. When an employee leaves, turmoil can be the consequence. Revenue will suffer until a replacement is found, trained, and becomes acclimatized. This process is one of the reasons why it costs approximately nine months salary to hire a replacement. Reduced turnover is the mission.

  1. Enhanced effectiveness is a product of engagement. If a team member is interested in maintaining or even improving their output, they will do a better job. Attitude is always important particularly when it comes to customer service. We’ve all dealt with engaged customer service staff – they are polite, positive, want to help, and know how to do so. The result is a fast interaction and a happy customer.

  1. Increased engagement really benefits an organization in the areas that can’t be measured – areas in which employees take the initiative to improve their operations and their communities

According to a recent Gallup analysis 48% of America's working population is actively job searching or watching for opportunities. Businesses are facing a staggeringly high quit rate – 4.5 million Americans resigned in November alone -- and a record-high number of unfilled positions. And Gallup discovered that workers in all job categories, from customer-facing service roles to highly professional positions, are actively or passively job hunting at roughly the same rate.

To engage workers, managers must fulfill many essential elements of engagement. Those elements range from knowing what's expected at work to having opportunities to learn and grow. And because engagement has a reciprocal relationship with wellbeing, engaged employees are healthier, more resilient and better performers.

They're also more loyal. One Gallup client that focused on propelling organic growth through effective workplace culture found that engagement reduces turnover in critical high-turnover roles by 36 percentage points and reduces the 100-day attrition rate by nine points.

Delivering the elements of engagement and wellbeing isn't difficult, but we must do it right. Development teaches managers how to conduct meaningful conversations, set expectations and create accountability, individualize performance management to get the best out of people -- and create an employee experience that retains workers.

Ultimately, research indicates that highly engaged organizations tend to be single-minded in their approach to employee engagement. They tend to prioritize it, measure it, act on those metrics, as well as train managers on how to achieve it.

In the end, organizations that go all in on engagement are most likely to emerge from the so called Great Resignation in good shape. Higher rates of engagement should help them attract and retain good employees while keeping their customers happier and their operations performing more smoothly.

Be well! Stay safe!

All the best,

Bob Gershberg |CEO|Managing Partner|

727 244-4113

Finding tomorrow’s leaders today!

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