Some might argue that the term “Employee Engagement” was a result of organisations starting to explore the concept of retention. Retention became a popular business term at the height of the talent wars. During this time, companies would literally throw money, benefits and other rewards at potential team members who would come on-board... and then a few months later be offered a better deal some place else.
This practice was not only an expensive exercise in terms of cash, but also in less tangible measures like lost business, decreased productivity and morale. Engagement was almost a new way to think about retention. Instead of putting up a fence around the office to keep them in, the smart companies started to look at ways to make the work more interesting and rewarding to the individuals.
In today’s business environment, retention is seen as more of a by-product of engaging team members - the focus is on strategies, case studies and research on how to engage - rather than retain per se.
Engagement is a powerful contributor to help reduce employee turnover, since people are less likely to leave a place that is allowing them to be at their best. Some of the ways that engagement can help with retaining talent are outlined below.
People Need More than Money If you have ever had a job that you despised, you will know what we mean by this. If someone offers you money to do a job that you can't stand, even if it is great money, you will find it difficult to fully engage in that job. You will do enough to get your pay and be left alone, but you wouldn't be able to pledge your blood, sweat, creativity and heart to that job. While a little more cash might keep us happy in the short term, once we are used to the new wage we will start looking for more meaning in our role. According to the Corporate Leadership Council, engaged employees are 87% less likely to leave the organisation.
Engaged People are More Resilient In trying economic conditions (and even in good economic conditions) engaged team members are more likely to take bad news in their stride. Because people who are engaged are committed, go the extra mile and see the organisation's goals as their own, they will accept the good with the bad and get on with the job. Engagement can enable organisations to retain their employees support while taking and executing difficult decisions.
Engaged People Recommend Their Company Engaged team members are more prepared to recommend their organisation to others as a good place to work. When they talk about the business with others, they express pride and enthusiasm in their products and the company as a whole. People who are engaged by their work attempt to leave a workplace in a better state than it was. That is, if they should decide to leave, they do not try to negatively impact the business on their way out.
While retention is an important factor to consider in any talent management system, it is important to first ask the question: what is the point in having them stay if they are not engaged?