The American workforce is not engaged. And it’s costing businesses money, time, and employee turnover.
It’s not really a surprise either. The COVID-19 pandemic is far from being over and millions of employees are quitting their jobs for new opportunities. A massive Gallup survey of American workers found that only 34% were engaged in 2021 — and alarmingly, that number appears to be trending down.
What can employers do to get employees engaged and reduce the chance they will look for other positions? With employee retention and turnover cited as the top challenge by 47% of HR professionals, this is a major issue that needs solutions.
That’s why we created a list of seven employee engagement and retention strategies to help employers get started. Employers can implement them without breaking the bank, such as giving shout-outs to employees. Other strategies include preparing for turnover before it happens, and offering payroll alternatives. It’s also important to train new workers thoroughly, and schedule employees with stable or flexible shifts.
But first, let’s talk about the most important approach to improving employee engagement and retention: Fair pay.
1. Offer Competitive Compensation
Because workers are in short supply, it’s vital that employers do what they can to retain the employees they have. A key factor of whether an employee will stay at their current job is if they receive a competitive wage or salary. Paradoxically, paying a competitive salary saves you money in the long run, because you’re saving on recruiting and onboarding.
Want an easier way to distribute employee wages or salaries? Try Juice, the modern payroll solution for employers.
By offering higher than average compensation, an employer will:
- Improve employee satisfaction and give them less incentive to quit.
- Attract quality applicants for new positions — word gets around if workers are paid fairly!
- Contribute to a positive company culture.
- See an increase in engagement, loyalty, and productivity.
If you’re interested in learning more about how higher wages can drive a business forward, check out this article: Advantages of Paying Employees Above-Average Salaries.
To ensure workers are paid fairly, employers should research salary or wage ranges. Platforms like Payscale offer employer-focused research tools, while more employee-focused tools like Glassdoor or LinkedIn Salary can also help inform your benchmarking. It’s also important to have a conversation with potential workers regarding their compensation before they are hired to avoid misunderstandings.
The next strategy to improve employee engagement and retention is to acknowledge employees’ contributions.
2. Recognize Employees
According to a 2022 survey of more than 30,000 global workers, 41% were considering leaving their current employer within the next year. The number one reason that employees leave their job? It’s that they don’t feel valued by their organization.
To stem the tide on this potential loss, employers must improve their approach to employee appreciation. No longer are giving employee of the month shout-outs or posting about their wins on social media enough. Employees expect more personalized and thoughtful forms of recognition.
That said, giving out employee recognition and rewards doesn’t need to break the bank. A gift card or extra paid day off can make a real difference between one happy worker and one that is feeling unappreciated.
However, for newer workers who might not have had a chance to shine, employers can encourage retention by making sure they’re prepared.
3. Thoroughly Train New Employees
Turnover is often high among new employees. In fact, it’s been found that as much as 30% quit their job within the first ninety days. So, employers need to take precautions when hiring and training new employees.
If a new employee is unsure how to do their work, it will dramatically affect their engagement. And when only 20% of the global workforce is engaged, keeping newer employees engaged is key.
When employees are in training at a new job, it’s important that they understand their role and how they fit into the company culture. If a worker isn’t given sufficient time to get used to a new position they weren’t expecting, they won’t be as productive, and feel disengaged. This puts them at higher risk of turnover.
To keep both new and current workers engaged, it’s also important to consider their scheduling needs.
4. Offer Flexible Scheduling
COVID-19 forced new forms of work that have given employees more flexibility than ever: hybrid and remote. While this might not be possible at all businesses or franchises, flexible scheduling is a major benefit for employees.
A survey of more than 7,300 workers found that 16% are currently searching for a new job because of flexibility issues. When workers have flexibility, it enables them to have a better work/life balance and lower their stress.
Think about what you can offer employees if remote or hybrid work isn’t an option, like a compressed workweek. If employees need to be at work during specific times, there are still ways to offer flexibility, such as varying lunch times or breaks.
If flexible work is not possible, then try offering a regular schedule for employees that doesn’t change often.
5. Or Maintain Stable Work Schedules
Erratic scheduling causes worker stress, which leads to low engagement and retention. Stable schedules allow employees to know exactly how many hours they are working, and if they need to request more. It also gives them the consistency to manage their personal life around their shifts.
For example, if an employee made an appointment and then received a schedule conflict the day before, it might be hard to get shift coverage. This inconsistency can force employees to decide between paying groceries or going to the appointment – which results in significant job resentment.
One study revealed that, for half of hourly workers in retail, hospitality, logistics, healthcare, and banking, missing one shift meant 27% would be unable to pay rent on time.
When given a stable schedule, employees feel like they can safely have a life outside of work, and this increases retention. Of course, offering benefits like flexible scheduling might not be enough to eliminate turnover.
6. Prepare for Turnover
40% of American workers are actively searching for a new job right now.
Because turnover is bound to happen at some point, employers need to prepare. There are a few ways to do this:
- Optimize the recruitment and hiring process
- Arrange optional exit interviews or surveys to reveal turnover risks
- Promote an open-door policy for employees to address issues before they quit
- Train managers to become leaders for their teams
The best way to increase employee engagement and retention is to become the employer of choice. One contribution to becoming that is offering early access to wages.
7. Pay Employees How They Want to be Paid
Paying employees in cash or paper checks every two weeks used to be the only way to pay employees, but that’s no longer the case. Modern technology such as employee paycards offers employers options to pay their employees how they want (and need) to be paid!
In 2021, one of the top reasons why workers quit was to find better compensation and related benefits. Diminish the risk of turnover by giving employees more choices in their compensation. Paycards can allow employees to avoid dealing with paper checks, and even get early wage access as they earn their pay. Doing so can reduce their financial stress and improve their satisfaction, leading to higher employee retention.
Employee Engagement and Retention is the Heart of Businesses
During these challenging times, it’s more important than ever for businesses to invest in engagement and retention. These seven strategies are proven, reliable ways to reduce turnover and get employees more engaged.
If you’re unsure where to begin, we recommend starting with the most important factors to engagement and retention — compensation and how it’s received. That’s why Juice is committed to helping employers improve retention with early pay and reloadable paycards.
Sign up now for Juice to start seeing higher employee engagement and loyalty!