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  • Improving Employee Engagement is Crucial to Success

    Discretionary turnover is bound to happen to even the best of businesses, but many employers understand that retaining talented employees can be the difference between success and failure.

    Happy employees tend to boost productivity.The problem that many employers are now faced with is the growing trend of people who are not satisfied with their work. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, employee job satisfaction has consistently decreased in recent years. In 2009, 86 percent of U.S. employees claimed they were satisfied with their current jobs. In 2012, that number dropped to 81 percent. With a better outlook for the job market, the Society for Human Resource Management reported the rate of employee replacement appears likely to climb as people view the job market as more welcoming to prospective employment seekers.

    John Baldoni, chair of leadership development consultancy N2Growth, told Business 2 Community that keeping employees engaged is crucial to a high retention rate.

    "People want to come to work, understand their jobs and know how their work contributes to the success of the organization," he said. When this type of engagement isn't prevalent, employees tend to have problems relating to a company, which includes the work they are completing.

    How to keep employees engaged?
    Don Rheem, a founding partner of the consulting firm Engagient, has advised thousands of CEOs on how to keep employees happy in the workplace. The main theme surrounding Rheem's tips to keep employees enthused about work is that culture is king. Rheem told Entrepreneur that company culture might be more vital to success than most business owners or HR leaders ever thought.

    "Culture is a social ecosystem - it's rarely in a perfect state," Rheem said. "It's either thriving or it's in the hands of the gossipers and the rumormongers and the cynics and the grudge collectors."

    Rheem claimed that engagement is the main cause of voluntary effort. He said it's the difference between a worker who does the bare minimum and one that goes beyond the call of duty to complete his or her work in terrific fashion. Rheem reported that the majority of employees are much more likely to go above and beyond when they fall in line with company culture.

    "We're trying to create a work environment where employees see their own progress in the company's progress," he said, "where it's not just a career but 'a place I go to find meaning and purpose in my life.'"

    Rheem likes to keep up to date with employees whenever he is consulting for a particular company. He said Engagient provides a 26-question poll of employees asking them questions such as if they think their opinions count or if they trust their manager.

    "If you see you're trending down, you know with great certainty that every goal you have is going to be harder to achieve, whether it's about customer loyalty, profitability, the wellness of my employees - all of those things are on the decline," he said.

    Engagement by the numbers
    According to a poll from Gallup, a business posting scores in the top half of their sector in employee engagement has nearly double the odds of success when compared with those in the bottom half. Businesses in the 99th percentile of employee engagement have quadruple the success rates with those at the opposite end of the spectrum. To calculate success, Gallup used a formula of data ranging from financial, retention, safety, quality, shrinkage and absenteeism metrics.

    Employee engagement impacted several different performance outcomes. Comparing the top performers in engagement to companies lacking solid employee engagement, the top-quartiles have 48 percent fewer safety incidents, 37 percent lower absenteeism, 21 percent higher productivity and 22 percent high profitability.