From Employed to Engaged

Cathy Baniewicz
June 12, 2009 — 1,986 views  
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Mary Weather is one of your key employees. The customers ask for her by name and she is one of your best team leaders. Today she comes into your office and tells you that she has accepted an exciting opportunity. You are taken aback. What happened, you ask yourself? Of course, you'll have an exit interview, but it's too late to save Mary.

Turnover is costly:

At least one and a half times an entry level employee's salary - much higher for management level staff. Affects other employees - someone will have extra work until the new person is hired· Delays the company in meeting its goals Upsetting for the customers - they don't like to "train" new people The latest buzz word with regard to employee retention is "engaged". Will we recruit another body to be "employed", or do we want someone committed to the organization, "engaged".

What are the characteristics of an engaged employee?

They love with they do - job content is the key· Engaged employees are leaders as well as team players· They have a positive attitude - enthusiastic for new opportunities Engaged employees understand the importance of customer service· They are committed and will go the extra mile. What is the secret to building and maintaining an engaged workforce.

1.) Recruit carefully

Define the job - know what you're looking for· Determine performance criteria· Don't hire in haste! Leave the position open until you find the right fit. 2.) Make "Onboarding" meaningful

Appoint a coach or mentor to ease the new employee's transition into the workplace· Communicate what is expected during the introductory (probationary) period and who the employee can go to for assistance· Little things mean a lot - have all the basics in place like computers, office supplies, business cards, etc. 3.) Provide opportunities

Employees will leave a job if it doesn't offer career development and challenges· If you are a small company and promotions are not readily available, important project work that provides for skill development should be considered to keep employees motivated.· Offer opportunities for continued professional development, i.e., seminars, membership in professional organizations, etc· Where possible, offer flexible work schedules/telecommuting. Today's diverse workforce faces challenges regarding child care, elder care, etc. A flexible employer is an employer of choice. 4.) Get the Wrong People Off the Bus!

From Good to Great: Why Some Companies make the Leap...and Others Don't by Jim Collins advises employers to get the right people in the right seats, and to get the wrong people off the bus. People get frustrated with co-workers who do not pull their weight. Companies who tolerate poor performance will drive off the good employees

5.) Senior Management

Needs to "walk the talk". So often it's do what I say, not what I do.· Make a decided effort to know the employees on an individual basis.· Identify and weed out poor supervisors· Communicate on many levels, not exclusively by e-mail and text messages. 6.) Also Important

Reward employee contributions - do this in creative ways and do it often!· Recognize the generational differences and provide opportunities for employees of all age groups to work together. Conduct period employee surveys - CAUTION - do not ask for suggestions if you have no intention to do anything with the feedback. This doesn't mean you must act upon every suggestion, but surveyed employees need to have their input acknowledged.· Make certain that your salaries and benefits are competitive. Strive for an Engaged Workforce. Your turnover will be lower, your customers will be more satisfied and your profitability will increase!

Cathy Baniewicz has over 30 years experience in human resources. Her career began at Beatrice Foods Co., where she progressed to Assistant Director of Affirmative Action and Corporate Personnel Manager. Prior to joining EffortlessHR, Cathy was Assistant Director of Human Resources at Golden Eagle Distributors, Inc. (Budweiser). Cathy has her B.A. degree from DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois, and MBA from George Williams College, Aurora, Illinois. Cathy obtained her Professional in Human Resources (PHR) certification in December of 2004.

EffortlessHR is an online Human Resources Program for small businesses. This program will guide you through the maze of human resource laws and issues. You will have access to your employee information anytime, anyplace. Federal and State laws, personnel forms, "How To" guides, posters and reports are at your fingertips.

For more information, go to http://www.effortlesshr.com/ , or call us at (520) 546-3947. We now have business forms available at http://www.effortlessforms.com/

About the Author

Cathy Baniewicz has over 30 years experience in human resources. Her career began at Beatrice Foods Co., where she progressed to Assistant Director of Affirmative Action and Corporate Personnel Manager. Prior to joining EffortlessHR, Cathy was Assistant Director of Human Resources at Golden Eagle Distributors, Inc. (Budweiser). Cathy has her B.A. degree from DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois, and MBA from George Williams College, Aurora, Illinois.

Cathy Baniewicz