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How Managers Can Start Driving Performance and Retention Through Employee Engagement

May 2, 2023

Every leader wants a high-performing team with low turnover and high morale. But knowing how to get there can be a different story.

On the surface, performance and retention may feel like separate issues. However, in actuality, employee engagement is at the heart of both of these concerns. When companies begin focusing on employee engagement, they start to see an increase in performance and retention.

So, how can leaders start driving performance and retention through employee engagement? Here, we discuss 5 employee engagement strategies.


How Engagement Impacts Performance

Countless studies have found a correlation between engaged employees and higher performing companies.

A study by Gallup found that companies with more engaged workforces have higher earnings per share. This study also found that companies with more engaged workforces tended to recover from the 2008 recession at a faster rate, as well.

Another Gallup's report on employee engagement shows that companies with a highly engaged workforce have 21% higher profitability. Conversely, these companies also have 17% higher productivity than those with a disengaged workforce.


How Engagement Impacts Retention

Employee engagement is one of the strongest predictors of employee turnover. Engaged employees are connected to the company's mission - they believe their work has meaning and purpose. These employees are also more likely to be connected to the company's culture and values.

So much so, it's estimated that highly engaged employees are 87% less likely to quit. Conversely, disengaged and actively disengaged employees always have one foot already out the door. And unfortunately, it's estimated that 68% of employees are either disengaged or actively disengaged.

It's clear to see how engaging employees can improve retention. But because employee engagement is impacted by all aspects of the employee experience, it's not always a simple area to improve.

RELATED: Employee Engagement and Retention – Are They Connected?


How to Start Driving Performance and Retention Through Employee Engagement

While it may not be as simple as offering more Annual Leave, you can begin to increase performance and retention through effective employee engagement strategies.

According to Forbes, one study of over 10 million workers worldwide found there are 12 areas that directly correlate to employee engagement - and they all relate to leadership.

These behaviors are:

  • Future vision - Does the manager communicate the organisation's goals and strategy in a way that makes employees feel confident about the future?
  • Psychological safety - Does the manager create an open and trusting environment where employees feel free to speak their minds without fear of negative consequences?
  • Trust - Does the manager keep their commitments? Do their words and actions match?
  • Feedback - Does the manager give employees actionable feedback that helps them improve performance?
  • Meeting Efficiency - The manager's meetings are a productive use of the team's time.
  • Autonomy - Does the manager provide the autonomy employees need to do their jobs? Do they not micromanage?
  • Care - Does the manager show that they care about employees as a people?
  • Recognition - Does the manager show appreciation or give recognition when employees do good work?
  • Career Development - Does the manager have meaningful and frequent discussions about career development?
  • Accountability - Does the manager hold people accountable for their performance?
  • One-on-ones - Does the manager meet with each employee one-on-one at least twice a month?
  • Two-way communication - Does the manager listen to ideas and opinions?

How to Improve Employee Engagement (From the Top Down)

Knowing these areas are what have a significant impact on employee engagement, they're a good place to start making improvements. Here's how.

1. Take Record of Current Trends

First, determine which areas of performance you're trying to improve. Consider productivity, efficiency, revenue, absenteeism, turnover, morale, etc. Then, record these metrics.

Because the goal is to start driving performance and retention through employee engagement, these metrics should reflect key areas of performance and turnover for your company.


2. Survey Employees

Then, send out a pulse survey to your employees asking about their managers' abilities in regard to the 12 areas above. You'll quickly be able to gauge which areas each manager needs some coaching in. Then, discuss the results with each manager.

Be clear that this is a company-wide initiative to improve employee engagement. Ensure you're both on the same page about goals, areas to work on, and a timeframe for doing so.


3. Develop Training Plans and Reminders

These training plans typically don't need to involve time-consuming seminars or management classes. In many cases, this training can occur in the small, everyday choices managers make.

For example, a manager learning to give more recognition might benefit from an automated reminder to say "thank you" to their team members for their continuous efforts. As with many things in life, sometimes the little things are the most meaningful.


RELATED: How to Build an Effective Employee Recognition Program



4. Follow Up with Managers

Remember to send that same survey back out to employees after 6 months or so. Ideally, this time you'll see scores improving in all areas.

These numbers can help show objective improvements. Not only will this act as motivation for managers to continue their efforts, but it will also positively impact employees' performance and retention overall.


5. Measure Performance and Retention

Lastly, recheck the original metrics you gathered in step one, like productivity, efficiency, revenue, absenteeism, turnover, and morale. Consider adding a comments section to this survey too. You might find your employees felt changes you hadn't expected.

This is the only way to ensure your efforts have worked. And if they haven't, you'll likely need to adjust your training plans and survey again in some time.


Pro Tip: Promote Wellbeing

Get employees more engaged at work with employee wellbeing programs. Your company can create a friendly step, or activity challenge where teams can take on different departments company-wide. This is a unique and powerful way to build camerarderie and connect employees to a mission.


Improve Employee Engagement and Retention with Terryberry

Terryberry provides solutions to help drive performance and retention through effective employee engagement. These solutions include:

  • Service Awards and Performance Awards: Recognise and reward employees based on years of service awards, anniversaries, or performance.
  • Social Recognition: Empower your employees and managers to recognise their peers and celebrate successes with an easy-to-use social recognition application.
  • Wellbeing Programs: We make it easy to run wellbeing programs and activity challenges that increase engagement, expand corporate health, and build team camaraderie.

Ready to learn more? Schedule a demo with our team to get a hands-on walkthrough of how Terryberry can transform the culture of your workplace.



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