Increasing Engagement: The Most Effective Employee Retention Technique

Employee engagement rates have been frozen at pitifully low levels for decades. According to Gallup, employee engagement is 33% in the U.S. But your company could achieve healthier engagement levels immediately by building better manager-employee relationships.

When employees feel happy with their situation, they are much more likely to be fully engaged and remain with their companies. The number one reason they leave? Lack of trust.

Leader accountability — ensuring managers build trust with their teams — underpins all successful employee retention techniques.

Engagement Drives Your Business

The more engaged your employees, the greater your productivity and profits. Therefore, increasing engagement has to be a strategic priority.

Most managers emphasize sales first — rather than engagement. For that to change, they have to realize that engagement is what drives sales AND employee retention.

Consider these Gallup findings:

  • Businesses that score in the top 25% in engagement produce 20% more sales, 21% more profitability, and 17% more productivity than those that scored in the bottom 25%.
  • When salespeople give just 10% more effort, customers spend 22.7 percent more money.

Upset, stressed, and otherwise non-fully engaged employees are unlikely to give that extra 10% effort.

What Hasn’t Worked

Improving engagement with surveys, town hall meetings, newsletters, employee recognition, brown-bag luncheons doesn’t work. Administering surveys and comparing the data to the benchmarks of previous years, then giving managers 30 days to submit an action plan, is bound to fail.

In this approach, we assume that once data has been extracted, solutions can be implemented. But, what if the employees simply don’t trust the managers?

Disengagement = Weak Relationships

Per Gallup, actively disengaged employees are much more displeased with their managers than engaged employees:

  • On a scale of one to five, 65% of engaged employees answer three to five when asked whether their relationship with their manager is “one of the strongest relationships in their life”
  • When asked the same question, 80% of disengaged employees answered one.

Lack of trust is to blame for disengagement and low retention. Nearly all the CEOs I have asked have reported that at least one manager in their companies hasn’t built trust with their teams. Yet, their companies persist in conducting employee engagement surveys — when there is no chance for improved engagement scores!

Trust Comes First

Without a foundation of trust, implementing successful employee retention techniques is impossible. Engaged, long-tenured employees are vital to your business’ critical numbers. Building trust between managers and teams leads to increased engagement and higher retention.