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How to Enhance Employee Engagement to Reinforce Retention

Employee Engagement White Paper Download PDF cirlce-arrow

Attracting and retaining talent is one of the most significant ongoing challenges for HR professionals in today’s job market. With a skilled labor shortage and historically low unemployment, it’s more crucial than ever to focus on retention. So how do you set up your retention program for success? Be sure the foundation of the program is rooted in your employees.

Engaging your current employees is a great line of defense against losing the top talent you’ve already found. After all, you’ve put in a lot of work to get them! But how do you know if your employees are engaged? How do you get started in developing an actionable employee engagement program? How do you know if you’re moving the needle? It all starts with understanding the foundation and importance of employee engagement.

1. Know what you are up against
Survey your employees to learn what their thoughts and concerns are. That survey should be composed of questions that will get to the heart of their opinions. With these, you can arm yourself with as much information as you can in order to get a holistic view of what the strengths and challenges are in your company. Consider having an outside entity like QTI administer the survey to ensure anonymity; your employees will likely be more honest with feedback when there is a third-party, which means you can obtain more accurate results.


2. Make a plan
Once you have your results, it’s time to analyze them. After you identify patterns and common trends within the data, those themes can help inform what actions you can take to start making a change. A tool, such as QTI’s Engage platform, can help bring those themes and action items to the top, so you can avoid manual analysis. During this phase, it’s also important to determine what is brand-right and what you can achieve immediately versus goals to work toward in the future. Just as important is keeping your third-party consultant involved; this consultant can help you uncover the trends in the data, derive actionable next steps, and advise on how much to break off at once.

3. Update your strategy
Pick the best route to enact change. Would further training address the concerns of your employees? Does the pay scale need to be adjusted? Could the company culture benefit from a morale initiative? What is the timeline for your initiatives? Be sure to document the need, how it will make an impact, the plan to roll it out, and how you plan to measure change at a later date.

4. Communicate, communicate, communicate
Communications can range from company wide “state of the union”-style meetings, distribution of an updated company handbook, emails, town hall Q&A sessions, or whatever works best within your walls. Regardless of the channel, make sure any concerns are addressed, new policies or programs are introduced, and questions are answered promptly. Transition can be hard for people, but keeping the line of communication flowing between you and your employees will establish trust and open dialogue.

5. Measure progress annually
With time comes change, and you need to keep up on how your previous changes are being received, and what new concerns may be lurking so you can address them. Measuring employee sentiment at the same time every year shows continued care for their thoughts and feelings, and gives you an ongoing platform on which you can build strong HR strategy and employee engagement.

What is Employee Engagement?

Employee engagement is a measure of human potential within the workplace. Gallup defines it as “those who are involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to their work and workplace.” A simple way to remember it is how much an employee is willing to go above and beyond their day-to-day responsibilities to build a connection between themselves and their work and/or workplace. When an employee is engaged, they are no longer working for a paycheck but for the company’s goals and the results can be significant.

Strong Engagement Supports Retention

Perhaps one of the most important impacts of more engaged employees — especially in today’s employment market — is engagement’s role in recruitment and retention. If retention rates remain high because employees are engaged, the investment you made in training them starts to pay off exponentially. And, if you can keep people around longer, that can significantly reduce your constant need to recruit and onboard — saving you time, energy, and money.

Developing Your Employee Engagement Program

You know that employee engagement is important. But even the savviest HR pro can struggle with developing or enhancing their engagement programs. “Where do I even start?” “What actionable steps can I take right now?” “I always hear people discussing employee engagement, but it seems a little too abstract for me.” Sound familiar? Maybe these are thoughts that cross your mind on a daily basis. What you really need to be asking yourself is, “How can I be forging a stronger connection between my employees and their work experience?”

Ask Yourself:  "How can I be forging a stronger connection between my employees and their work experience?"

If it's time to update or create an employee engagement program for your company, take these five steps: 

Know what you are up against. 

Survey your employees to learn what their thoughts and concerns are. That survey should be composed of questions that will get to the heart of their opinions. With these, you can arm yourself with as much information as you can in order to get a holistic view of what the strengths and challenges are in your company. Consider having an outside entity like QTI administer the survey to ensure anonymity; your employees will likely be more honest with feedback when there is a third-party, which means you can obtain more accurate results.



1. Know what you are up against
Survey your employees to learn what their thoughts and concerns are. That survey should be composed of questions that will get to the heart of their opinions. With these, you can arm yourself with as much information as you can in order to get a holistic view of what the strengths and challenges are in your company. Consider having an outside entity like QTI administer the survey to ensure anonymity; your employees will likely be more honest with feedback when there is a third-party, which means you can obtain more accurate results.


2. Make a plan
Once you have your results, it’s time to analyze them. After you identify patterns and common trends within the data, those themes can help inform what actions you can take to start making a change. A tool, such as QTI’s Engage platform, can help bring those themes and action items to the top, so you can avoid manual analysis. During this phase, it’s also important to determine what is brand-right and what you can achieve immediately versus goals to work toward in the future. Just as important is keeping your third-party consultant involved; this consultant can help you uncover the trends in the data, derive actionable next steps, and advise on how much to break off at once.

3. Update your strategy
Pick the best route to enact change. Would further training address the concerns of your employees? Does the pay scale need to be adjusted? Could the company culture benefit from a morale initiative? What is the timeline for your initiatives? Be sure to document the need, how it will make an impact, the plan to roll it out, and how you plan to measure change at a later date.

4. Communicate, communicate, communicate
Communications can range from company wide “state of the union”-style meetings, distribution of an updated company handbook, emails, town hall Q&A sessions,or whatever works best within your walls. Regardless of the channel, make sure any concerns are addressed, new policies or programs are introduced, and questions are answered promptly. Transition can be hard for people, but keeping the line of communication flowing between 

you and your employees will establish trust and open dialogue.

5. Measure progress annually
With time comes change, and you need to keep up on how your previous changes are being received, and what new concerns may be lurking so you can address them. Measuring employee sentiment at the same time every year shows continued care for their thoughts and feelings, and gives you an ongoing platform on which you can build strong HR strategy and employee engagement.

It’s Time to Take Charge of Employee Engagement

Your people are what drive your company. They take care of it, from accounting to sales to management. In turn, you want to show how you take care of them. Digging into their emotions and experience to find the root of how to make their work life better is an invaluable investment for your company. Investing time, understanding your work community in-depth, and pushing for change to address their concerns is hard, but not insurmountable. QTI can help bear some of that burden. From being the line of sight into what your staff is really thinking by administering your employee surveys and giving them a sense of security in sharing feedback, all the way through analyzing the data and providing an actionable plan and strategy, QTI has a team of experts and custom tools at the ready to help you build your best employee engagement program yet. Contact us to learn more.

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