Unemployment is at its lowest rate in nine years and talented candidates are harder and harder to find for open positions. Recruiters are probably already calling your best people or reaching out to them on LinkedIn. Let’s face it. These days, most employees have a choice about where to work. What’s your strategy for employee retention? And what’s engagement got to do with it?

In most organizations, the annual pay raise simply isn’t enough to compete with the salary offered by a competitor for a new hire. But research shows that money matters less to people than opportunities and relationships. As the Harvard Business Review reports, “In fact, if we want employees to be happy with their pay, money is not the answer. In a nutshell: money does not buy engagement.” A lack of engagement is what drives people out the door, or – and maybe worse – leads them to stay and not give their best effort.

When it comes to retention, there are a number of factors that employees consider when weighing their options, including:

  • Career opportunity and development
  • Meaningful, purposeful work
  • Relationship with immediate supervisor
  • Community


When the recruiters call, they are not just offering the bigger salary and possibly offering a bump up in title. They’re talking about the organization’s values and mission. They’re talking about the opportunities for growth and development. And they’re talking about the company culture.

So what are you doing to increase employee engagement and retain your current employees? It’s essential to become an employer of choice, focused not only on meeting the financial and productivity goals of the organization, but also on the needs and interests of your team.

Some ways to boost employee engagement and compete for retention:

  • Get senior leaders and managers on board and spread the word about the importance of connecting with people if you hope to retain them. Make expectations clear and provide the tools for recognition.
  • Launch a social recognition platform to give your team a virtual community and to ensure that the employee experience is consistent across the organization.
  • Recognize and reward frequently and publicly. Be sure that every member of your team knows when he or she has done something great.
  • Celebrate successes as a team. Most wins have many contributors.
  • Keep an eye on the data. Your recognition platform is a repository for engagement history. Who’s being recognized and who is not? What managers are using the tools you have provided? When used with your other HR performance metrics, this data provides a telling view into the employee experience at your company and provides talking points for development and coaching discussions.

A thriving culture of recognition and engagement will help you retain your best people and attract top talent to open positions. They are more likely to stay when they have friends and colleagues they can rely on, a boss who appreciates them, and a sense of shared purpose every day.

Check out Applaudit, our social recognition platform, which can help to build a community that engages and retains employees.

?>

About the author

As Vice President of Engagement at Next Level Performance, Susan serves on the board of the Incentive Research Foundation (IRF), and chairs the IRF Research Committee. She has also served on the board of the Incentive Marketing Association (IMA) and is a past president of the Recognition Council, and a past member of the Performance Improvement Council and the Incentive and Engagement Solution Providers (IESP). She is interested in the strategies and benefits of employee engagement, incentive, and recognition programs. An avid traveler, she is also passionate about the art and science of incentive travel. Favorite travel destinations: Costa Rica, Iceland, Switzerland, and Maine.

Susan Adams
Vice President of Engagement
sadams@nxlperformance.com