Tag Archives: engagement

The Top 5 Reasons Employees Leave

In 1998, I moved from my native New York to Washington, DC searching for a fresh start. I needed to get away after some of the toughest months of my life: my parents were divorcing after 25 years of marriage, I had just broken up with my boyfriend, and my grandfather had just died of Alzheimer’s disease. I figured things could only get better. My best friend from college lived in DC, so I quit my job, loaded my Saturn SL with all my belongings, and moved 300 miles away to a new city with no job.

I was pretty new in the corporate world, so I was willing to start near the bottom and work my way up. I took a job at a small technology firm as an office manager. On my first day, the HR director told me they were going to sit me at the front desk temporarily until they hired a receptionist. She also told me that the CEO didn’t like the title “office manager,” so they would be changing my title to “administrative assistant.” Needless to say, the three months I spent with the company were not my happiest. I was disengaged, didn’t trust management, and didn’t feel appreciated.

Have you ever had an experience working in a job you didn’t love? It’s tough to stay engaged if you work for a micromanaging boss, if the work environment is stifling, or there’s no sense of appreciation from management.

Unfortunately, my experience of feeling disengaged on the job is more the norm than the exception for many people.

Studies show the top reasons employees quit include:

  • Not feeling appreciated
  • No advancement opportunities or development
  • Lack of communication
  • Lack of clarity around expectations
  • A bad boss

Most leaders think the reason employees leave is because of money. While being paid fairly is important, for most employees, other factors like a great work environment, a good boss, and work-life balance contribute to better engagement at work.

So, how do you ensure you keep your top employees? Below are three simple tips for increasing engagement on your team.

Upgrade your leadership skills. Being a leader is more challenging today than ever before. Employees have more choices and opportunities. The expectations are higher. Exceptional leaders always look to improve their leadership skills by reading books, listening to leadership podcasts, and attending conferences and training classes to enhance their skills. One of my favorite leadership resources is Success magazine. Each issue is packed with leadership tips and even has a CD with interviews from leadership experts.

Conduct stay interviews. Most organizations conduct exit interviews to gather feedback when employees quit. A stay interview is when you have a conversation before the employee decides to leave. The purpose is to understand what will keep your best employees engaged. If you want to learn how to conduct an effective stay interview, I offer tips in this article: Stay Interviews

Hold regular staff meetings. According to research firm Gallup, employees are three times more likely to be engaged when their manager holds regular staff meetings. Use your staff meetings to set priorities, answer questions, and coach your employees through challenges. Most employees feel they are given little guidance for understanding what is expected of them. Individual coaching sessions and regular staff meetings help to create clarity for your team.

Engagement isn’t just about having happy employees. It’s about having productive employees. And productivity increases your revenues and impacts your bottom line. Productive employees tend to be happier, which decreases your turnover rates. This all adds up to a more profitable business.

Now, I’d love to hear from you. In the comments section below, tell me:

What is one thing you do to keep your employees engaged?

Leadership Lessons From a 2 Year Old

It was another crazy morning of getting everyone ready and out of the house. We were walking to the car and my two-year-old daughter, Olivia, wanted to stop and smell the flowers (literally) in the front yard. I tried to rush her and managed to get her into her car seat. “My do!” she yelled (this is toddler talk for “I want to do it!”). She wanted to buckle her own car seat. Why did these things always happen on the days I am running late? I knew I wouldn’t win the battle, so I tried to patiently encourage her to quickly buckle the strap because “Mommy has to get to an important client meeting”. Of course she took her time; after all, she was on her timetable, not mine.

I was reflecting on this experience a couple of days later, and realized there was a lot of learning for me in this interaction. I like to do things quickly–check things off my list, make the decision, move forward on a project, achieve a goal. I like it when things are organized and go as planned (when I was expecting Olivia, my husband used to joke that when she was born she would come out with a Franklin Covey planner). Sometimes I just have to laugh when Olivia dumps milk on her school outfit three minutes before leaving, runs in the opposite direction when I tell her to get in the car, or throws herself on the floor in a tantrum when I tell her to put on her shoes. But I digress.

Oftentimes in our leadership, we are so focused on getting things done, that we are not present in our relationships. We put off giving that meaningful feedback to our coworker; we don’t get a chance to tell our employee how much we value her work; or we don’t have enough time in our day to get out and interact with staff members. We rationalize that we have important things to do. Yet slowing down and being a deliberate, purposeful leader is what will make us most effective. We forget that building and maintaining these significant relationships is what leadership is all about. It’s the people side of the business that often gets neglected.

Questions to ponder:

·         Who do I need to recognize?

·         What work (or personal) relationship have I not been giving 100% to?

·         Who on my team have I not thanked lately?

·         Who on my team needs more focused development?

I wish I could say that I will never feel the need to rush my daughter again. I can’t change my busy and productive nature, and patience is not one of my strengths. But I have learned a lesson about being present in each moment. She is stretching me in a new direction, and I realize I can learn a lot from a two year old.

Just last week my husband was taking Olivia to school (he’s much more patient than me) and she was slowly walking down the front path. I waved to her from behind the door, anxiously waiting to get back to my office to prepare for a conference call. She must have recognized I still hadn’t  quite learned the lesson of being present. She turned around, put out her arms, smiled at me and said, “”Hug?” Of course I did what every mother would do. I ran outside, threw my arms around her, and gave her a big kiss and hug. That is a moment I wouldn’t miss for any conference call. And then I cried. See, I do have a softer side.

 

Employee Satisfaction vs. Engagement

This year got off to a great start for me. Our family welcomed our second child, Luca, on January 18th.  We are very excited to have him join our family, and big sister Olivia is enjoying him! Here is a picture of baby Luca.

I was also honored to be interviewed for the article, “Coaching Outside the C-Suite” in the January edition of Credit Union Management magazine.

Since I am taking a few weeks off, I asked my colleague, Kerry Liberman, to share some information this month on engaging employees. Kerry is president of People Perspectives, a company that conducts employee opinion surveys, and she has a lot of insight on how to keep your employees engaged. Read below for Kerry’s advice on why you want to measure engagement in addition to satisfaction.

Employee engagement has become a hot topic in companies over the past few years. More and more often, organizations are looking at measuring engagement as a means to improving their company’s bottom line. Prior to engagement, at People Perspectives, we measured employee satisfaction exclusively. However, with the compelling research on employee engagement, we found that the best strategy was to “make room” for both satisfaction and engagement in our surveys.

Here’s why:

Employee Engagement. An engaged employee is someone who is loyal, puts forth extra effort for the company, and remains with the organization for a long period of time. What can engaged employees do for a company? For starters, compared to disengaged workers, one research firm found that engaged employees had 27% less absenteeism, 62% fewer accidents, and 31% less turnover. Moreover, employee engagement led to higher customer satisfaction and higher future spending intentions.

Employee Satisfaction. Literally thousands of studies have been conducted, looking at the impact that employee satisfaction has on the workplace. Over time, researchers have found that employee satisfaction is significantly correlated with higher innovation and production levels of staff, lower absenteeism, and higher levels of employee loyalty and retention.

Using Both. Although employee engagement findings have understandably met with great fanfare within the HR community, it (like employee satisfaction) has its limitations. Engagement doesn’t address issues such as pay, benefits, advancement opportunities, senior management, or organizational structure. On the other hand, employees may be perfectly satisfied with their jobs, but it’s not the same thing as being engaged. Even though the employee’s needs are being met and they’re happy to come to work, they may not promote the organization’s goals and ethics as engaged employees would.

Surveying employees on both their satisfaction and engagement is instrumental to getting a comprehensive view of not only how satisfied they are with different programs in place and the workplace overall, but also how committed they are to the organization. This type of assessment really provides the best of both worlds.

Kerry Liberman is the president of People Perspectives LLC, a company that specializes in conducting employee opinion surveys (including engagement and satisfaction) and internal service surveys. She can be reached at 206-451-4218 or kliberman@peopleperspectives.com

Thank you, Kerry for sharing your expertise!