Employee Engagement and Staff Retention in a Recovering Market

It may seem like the hard work is over once an employment contract has been signed at the end of a tough recruitment process. However, the hard work is just beginning for many employers as retaining staff becomes increasingly difficult in a recovering market.

Too often employers can lose momentum to manage a strong relationship with an employee once the hiring process has finished. Managers may become complacent and subsequently disillusioned with an employee’s loyalty to a job role and company. High turnover is primarily associated with the employee being offered a better salary elsewhere but it seems that this is not necessarily the case. Non-financial reasons seem to be the root cause of dissatisfaction within the work place.

One of the key reasons for employee disengagement is the mismatch between an employee’s expectations and the reality of a position. It may be that these expectations are unrealistic or it could be that, through a fast-moving recruitment process, vital information has been left out or misconstrued. Pace is important when it comes to recruitment but it must always be paired with vigilance, care and honesty. Shying away from revealing the day to day reality of a role, no matter how unattractive, could lead to greater ramifications.

A discrepancy between the job and the person is counterproductive and often employers mistakenly think that, with training, they can transform the wrong people into the right people. Training must be appropriate to the role and the role appropriate to the employee. If there is a disparity between the role and the person then, even with the best intentions, the time spent training them will be wasted for all involved. As such, employers are advised to seek a more strategic approach from the outset and only hire the most suitable individuals.

One way of achieving a successful match is through the support of psychometric testing. These tests can divulge more information than interview questioning alone and give the employer a real indication of someone’s suitability, not only for the role but for the company. At Summit, we utilise Thomas International PPA (Personal Profile Analysis) assessments to further identify general work behavioural, communication and leadership skills. This information is then used in conjunction with our interview feedback to form a more well-rounded and objective view of each candidate.

Employees that feel devalued and unrecognised will undoubtedly seek new opportunities. This notion is by the far the most prevalent when considering the root cause of employee disengagement. The desire to be recognized, praised and considered important is an innate craving, yet many employees say they feel taken for granted. Unfortunately employees are viewed by some companies as interchangeable and easily replaceable. Taking time to invest in an employee can prove highly rewarding as well as cost effective; a member of staff who is happy and motivated also tends to be more reliable and productive.

Creating an attractive work-life balance is also crucial when considering employee satisfaction. Companies that work in a “culture of sacrifice” lack desirability and impose unhealthy work loads. By being sensitive to staff needs and commitments outside of work, employers have more chance of creating a healthier and happier environment during working hours.

In general, it is worth remembering that after the hiring process has ended, the battle for employee engagement goes on. As much as the employee shares responsibility for remaining engaged, the emphasis is on the employer to maintain strong relationships and ultimately retain content, driven employees.