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Last year, thousands of UK workers left their jobs, in a move dubbed the “Great Resignation”. Thought to have resulted from the economic and psychological impact of the pandemic, total job-to-job moves increased to a record high, primarily driven by resignations rather than dismissals from July to September 2021.  

This trend looks set to continue throughout 2022. A January survey of 1,000 UK workers conducted by business communication platform Slack found that almost a third (29%) are considering moving to a new job this year.  

The impact is evident, with February data from the CIPD revealing that 41% of employers have faced increased employee turnover or difficulty with retention over the last six months. 

 

Rules of engagement  

Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace: 2021 report identified a global employee engagement rate of 20%, down from 22% in 2019. It concluded that teams with low engagement levels typically endure turnover rates 18% to 43% higher than highly engaged teams. 

The correlation between low employee engagement and increased job moves is no coincidence. If a person is not engaged at work, there is little incentive to stay. On the flipside, engaged employees are more likely to build a stronger bond with an organisation’s mission, vision and values, be more productive, build stronger relationships with their colleagues and, ultimately, become effective brand ambassadors.  

Of course, the concept of engaged employees being happier ones is not new. However, with people more empowered than ever to take advantage of a candidate-driven market and explore their options, as well as a post-pandemic craving for greater job satisfaction, now’s the time for employers to act. Here, we look at some of the ways employers can actively increase engagement and, in turn, strengthen the connection between their employees and the organisation. 

 

 1. Onboarding

Ensuring new employees are comfortable and have all of the tools they need from the outset is pivotal for building engagement. While some employers treat onboarding as a one-day or one-week process, it should span a lot longer to ensure people are set up for success. 

Onboarding tasks often fall to HR departments, but line managers play a critical role in the process. Managers have a better working knowledge of the requirements and the team, enabling them to provide helpful insights and eliminate potential issues that may arise. Plus, managers typically spend more time with the employee than HR teams, so their onboarding can help create a more personal, relevant and, crucially, engaging experience.  

 

2. Listening and acting

Employees want their opinions and concerns to be heard at a strategic level. Providing the opportunity for people to have a real say in how they work and the organisation’s direction can go a long way in improving engagement and retention. Encouraging discussion is one thing, but employee concerns should be taken seriously, and their feedback turned into action.  

Providing the space for employees to share candid opinions, whether in a one-on-one setting, as part of a group, or anonymously through online surveys, is valuable for both them and the organisation. Giving employees a voice, can help leaders identify issues they weren’t previously aware of and open the door to diverse perspectives that can shape future decisions. It may also provide insights into what’s driving employees to leave, offering an opportunity to act and improve as an employer.

 

3. Showing appreciation

Employees who don’t feel valued are more likely to disengage from their employer. According to the CIPD, organisations facing recruitment challenges in 2022 are responding by raising pay (48%), offering flexible working hours (46%) and upskilling employees (44%). 

Additional perks and benefits help employees feel valued, but their efforts and achievements must still be acknowledged. Managers are integral to this, which can be challenging for those focused on the task at hand and are used to just interacting with their team to delegate tasks or receive status updates. It requires a culture shift to celebrate and share successes with the wider organisation and give people the praise they deserve for a job well done.  

 

4. Providing opportunities

For maximum engagement, employees should be constantly challenged and upskilled in the workplace. Everyone is different, and leaders must determine where each person wants to go in their career so they can establish the right learning and development opportunities. For example, not everyone is interested in a linear path to a management role, but perhaps they have ambitions to switch their skills set into another department or service line further down the line.  

Accommodating employees by providing the tools they need to self-direct development will help empower them to try new things and trust that they have the organisation’s support. The challenge managers face is accepting they could potentially lose a member of their team should they want to transition their skills at some point. In an era where specialist skills are harder to come by, encouraging internal mobility and developmental freedom requires a shift in management style and approach. 

 

Tailored support for leaders and managers 

Omni understands that the effectiveness of your management teams impacts recruitment, performance and retention. The areas of focus for your leaders can be changeable, so you must provide them with the proper training to support and engage their teams.  

Omni’s Management Training programmes provide a comprehensive and tailored solution to developing and upskilling managers of all levels, from team leaders to heads of department and directors. Find out more about our tailored remote or face-to-face management training solutions, or contact us on 0161 929 4343 or email enquiries@omnirms.com today.