Do You Want Me to Stay? Experience and Engagement!

Although there are some signs of weakness—a few small cracks—both the economy and a tightening labor market mean that your talent is free to move and choose where they work.

Remember your talent, that is to say your human capital, has choices!

Given your business objectives and company brand, do you want to actively retain, engage, and advance your talent? Or, do you want to passively assume they’ll hang around because it might be the easiest thing for them do to; and in spite of the fact that pay is no longer enough to attract and retain the best talent.

For those of us who “do” leadership, in order to heighten stronger professional relationships and increased company results, it is important to distinguish between the Employee Experience (that is to say the entire life-cycle of your talent) and your Employee Engagement (that is to say the day to day sense of purpose and performance of your talent).

Both Employee Experience and Engagement are vitally important to capitalizing on your most valued asset: people.

  • Organizations tend to falter when it comes to Employee Experience. Generally speaking, the time and dollars are spent on the external customer experience (which is important); but, not at the cost of a managed and curated employee career journey within the organization.
  • Company functions or units tend to nose-dive when it comes to Employee Engagement. Why? Leaders have not been developed in such a way so as to value that engagement comes mostly from relationships, connection, and clarity of expectations—and with one another. For instance, only 4 in 10 employees strongly agree that when they are at work, they have the opportunity to do what they do best every day.

Most HR professionals agree the employee experience is a means to engagement; in fact, one study says that 83% of these professionals believe that actively managing and curating the overall employee experience is an essential factor for their organization’s success. This means from the recruitment messaging all the way through to the departure of the company, senior leaders have an integrated plan for ensuring a “wow” employee experience.

  • And, if this systematic highly thoughtful employee experience is not a priority, be assured all exiting employees will be happy to identify that reality on LinkedIn or Glassdoor. Companies, today, cannot afford that kind of “brand recognition”.

So, “do you want me to stay”?

Employee engagement is not a by-product or a “nice to have” in today’s global economy and competitive marketplace. Talent wants to know that they can bring their entire person to the office—not just their particular skillsets. Your human capital requires clarity for what is expected of them—fairly and playing to their strengths. And, your most valued assets desire psychological safety and professional development so as to thrive. For instance, consider the following:

  • 65% of millennials say that personal development is the most important factor in their careers; they want and expect to be developed.
  • 3 of ten employees strongly agree they have the materials and equipment they need to do their work right?
  • Engagement level correlates to an employee’s manager providing strength-based feedback (67% engaged) vs. little strength-based feedback (71% disengaged).

Some Suggestions:

  • Senior leaders enhance their emotional intelligence capabilities so as to be more mindful of the “relationship” side of one’s work and role. Audit whether the Employee Experience aligns with relentless and seamless Customer Experience that is typically more pronounced?
  • Managers learn more effective people-leader skills as a means to fostering team purpose, collaboration, and interpersonal safety. The manager of today and tomorrow is less operational and more relational.
  • Engage in an internal forensics on the company’s “brand”—and overall employee engagement. Correlate to your external brand—or desired value proposition.
  • Provide professional development opportunities that include learning agility, growth vs. fixed mindsets, micro-learning, personal wellness, and stretch opportunities (to name but a few).

Leadership has the privileged responsibility of ensuring that their employees have a great experience professionally, and healthy engagement interpersonally. Let’s be sure we prioritize employee purpose, performance, and contribution so they always know “you want them to stay”.

Bill Dickinson

TLG Senior Leadership Advisor