The Shift to Engagement

I was reading a post on 2010 (originally attributed to Joyce Gioia, but without a link).  ((Quick note to my fellow bloggers, Even though I don’t always link, I do almost always footnote.  It’s a pain, but we live in an age where viral communications threaten the attribution of thought generation and innovative thinking.  People always deserve credit and appropriate attribution, and a link if possible.  Turns out I could not find this one, so I’m guessing it was in print or a newsletter somewhere.  Thanks!!))  I write this on the plane, so I can’t look it up.)  In it, there are a few 2010 predictions that keep the momentum of driving HR organizations to realize that it’s about engagement, not about retention.

6. Focus on Engagement will replace the Focus on Retention Recognizing that with engagement comes not only retention, but greater productivity and profitability, too, employers will change their focus. We will see Directors of Retention morph into Directors of Employee Engagement. The next step (coming much later than 2010) will be to recognize the importance of the total “Internal and External Customer Experience”.
10. Burned out Employees will begin Leaving Employers Over 80 percent of today’s employees feel overworked and under-appreciated. Too many organizations have survived and maintained some level of profitability by over-loading their long-term employees. Once we begin to see positive job growth in the second half of 2010, some employees will feel confident enough to leave their companies.

If I may write it mathematically (ok, I’m a geek), f(x)=(Employee Engagement)*(Compensation)*(Employer Brand)

If you want to drive employee retention, you really have to be looking at how your organization presents itself to your employees and the public market of candidates.  I have to throw compensation in there as part of the equation because even if you don’t have a philosophy of leading in the comp area, you still need to have a solid philosophy and execute it so that you have the right mix for your employees.  Lastly, employee engagement is the leading contributor to retention.  If employees are engaged to their work, managers and their environment, they will usually stay no matter what.  Leaving an employer for the sake of higher compensation is a great risk if you like your work, manager and peers.  There is probably an 80% or greater chance that you won’t love your job in your next employer if you already love your job in the current.

At the end of the day, if you can engage employees and make then love working for you, you have won the battle.  Having someone figure out how to improve retention does not address the issue because the reality is that in order to address retention, they need to address employee engagement.  All too often, people addressing retention end up having the wrong focus.  You go out with a survey and you’ll find out all the wrong things.  People want more pay, or they want to work from home, or they want more growth opportunities.  The truth of the matter is simple – they just don’t love their jobs, and when you increase their pay or whatever else, they are still going to leave anyway.

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3 thoughts on “The Shift to Engagement”

  1. Excellent point – that retention is a function of engagement. Of all the contributions HR can make to an organization improving engagement is perhaps the most strategic.

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