Simple Ways to Drive up Employee Engagement and Retention



Our latest article is shared with us from our newest contributor to our site: Halogen Software. Halogen’s Centres of Excellence has a wealth of wonderful resources which they are happy to share with our readers. Here is one of their articles on my personal favourite subject and one which I am passionate about – Employee Engagement!

Engaging and retaining skilled employees is imperative to organizational survival, let alone success. Almost all the current research on employee engagement tells us that there are a few basic things a company can do to increase employee engagement, satisfaction and retention. They include:

Give employees meaningful feedback on a regular basis.
Be clear about goals and expectations, and help employees see how their work matters to the organization.
Reward, recognize and appreciate your employees in a fair and consistent way.
Give employees opportunities for growth and development.

These can seem like simple things to do, but without the right tools and support, your managers may not be giving employees what they need.

Give employees meaningful feedback on an ongoing basis

Research consistently shows that employees want meaningful feedback on an ongoing basis. So how do you encourage this dialogue, and even better, make it part of your work culture?

Increase the frequency of employee reviews
Some companies find that building quarterly reviews into their performance management process helps to give managers and employees a regularly committed interval for dialogue and feedback. These quarterly reviews don’t need to be as long or as detailed as your annual performance review session; their goal is to provide a structured forum for giving employees feedback and for checking on progress.

If the inefficiencies and burden of a paper-based process are holding you back, look into an online employee performance review system like Halogen eAppraisal™ that makes it easier for everyone.

Gather feedback from others
Another way to provide employees with more meaningful feedback is to gather input from others. Feedback from multiple sources is broader and more objective, and helps both the manager and employee get a more accurate view of their performance. This can be as simple as requesting feedback from another manager or supervisor that the employee works with, or from a third-party who has knowledge of the employee’s strengths and weaknesses. A more thorough approach involves gathering multirater, 360 degree feedback from peers, other managers, customers and more.

A tool like Halogen eAppraisal allows you to solicit feedback from a third-party or other manager, and automates the task of gathering and analyzing multirater feedback — it even lets a manager view the results in a split screen along with the employee’s review. Or you can use Halogen e360 Multirater™ to run separate 360 degree evaluations any time you want.

Keep ongoing notes on performance
Keeping and sharing notes on performance year-round helps to not only better document performance, but also to open up the dialogue between a manager and an employee. Halogen eAppraisal’s performance journals let managers and employees keep ongoing personal notes on performance and even share them with each other. Highlights, challenges and disconnects that might not otherwise be discovered until the annual performance review meeting can be shared and explored in a timely way. Then, when it’s time to write your annual performance review, you have an accurate and detailed record to consult.

Define clear goals and link them to organizational goals

Another key to employee engagement, satisfaction and retention is the need for employees to clearly know what is expected of them, and to understand how their work contributes to the organization’s mission and success.

SMART goals are broadly recognized as the most effective way to write clear goals. Specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound goals let employees know what is expected of them, how success will be measured, and when they must complete work. With Halogen eAppraisal, you can capture each of these requirements using a separate field on your employee review form, prompting managers to provide all the necessary information.

Another effective way to give employees context for their work so they understand its value, is to link their goals to higher-level organizational goals. Halogen eAppraisal lets you do this visually, right on the employee evaluation form. When an employee or manager updates the status of a goal that is linked to an organizational goal, this information is available to company leadership. Similarly, when the person responsible for the organizational goal updates its status, that information is visible to employees with linked goals. Everyone in the organization gets to how their work impacts the organization.

Recognize and reward your employees fairly and consistently

Employees need to feel that their company rewards performance fairly and equitably. This applies to work/project opportunities, promotions, and awards, but especially to all areas of compensation, including base pay, bonuses, stock options, etc. It’s critical for companies to have fair and transparent compensation processes. Halogen eCompensation™ has a host of features that support equitable compensation management. It allows you to import salary scales, create a merit matrix that suggests bonuses or salary increases based on pre-determined merit criteria and can restrict managers from assigning rewards that are outside of corporate guidelines. But even better, it gives managers access to employee performance ratings while they’re making compensation decisions, so they can truly pay-for-performance.

Provide career development opportunities

Another way to drive up employee engagement and retention is to support employee development and career progression. Employees need to feel as though they have a future with an organization, and a career path that helps them further develop their knowledge skills and abilities. Career development can take many forms, from formal courses, to challenging work assignments, to mentoring programs.

Halogen eAppraisal builds development plans right into an employees performance review. Development plans can be created and linked to a competency to address a skill gap, or created separately to support work on goals or the employee’s general career interests. Managers and employee can easily access a list of available training activities managed in eLearning Manager™, imported from the company’s learning management system, or they can create their own.

Halogen’s award winning succession planning software, Halogen eSuccession™ lets you assess your employees against your company’s defined succession criteria and identify top performers in all areas of the organization. You can then create talent pools with specific performance criteria and development paths, and assign high-performers to these pools for further development and assessment. Being part of a talent pool gives an employee an opportunity for development beyond what’s required for their current role, and grooms them for greater responsibility or for a career move within the organization.

Read how others have increased their employee retention through better employee performance and talent management

O’Sullivan Creel has seen a significant improvement in employee retention and satisfaction, documented by their annual employee satisfaction survey, since they implemented an automated employee performance and talent management system. Now employee get the feedback and development they need to progress, and the firm is saving valuable time and money.

Jelly Belly recognizes that employees are more likely to be engaged and stay with their employer when they feel connected and recognized for their efforts. With Halogen eAppraisal, they’ve been able to standardize their employee review process, make it easier for managers complete, integrate an employee’s training needs with their evaluations, and most importantly, ensure employees are getting thorough and accurate reviews.