Qualities that Engage and Retain Employees
What qualities typically motivate employees to continue working for their employer?
By David Cox, SHRM-SCP | May 08, 2018
The most respected employers I’ve known throughout my career have been those who consistently demonstrate their ability to engage and influence their employees. These employers gain more than respect from their employees, they gain loyalty.
As an employer, you can demonstrate your efforts to engage and influence your employees through getting them to “buy in” to the mission of your organization by building trust, earning their respect, and helping them feel that your vision and strategies are in everyone’s best interests, including their own.
Employees demonstrate their loyalty not only in day-to-day interactions on the job, but by their willingness to remain committed to the job and their employer long-term. As such, employers typically enjoy a more experienced staff, greater consistency in the quality of customer service, and a reduction in expenses typically associated with higher employee turnover.
How do employers achieve these desired results? I offer these five qualities that employers can effectively demonstrate to engage and influence their employees. These qualities promote positive employee engagement in small businesses and multinational organizations alike.
Make sure you do the right thing for the right reasons. As an employer, you’ll be called on to make difficult decisions. If you conduct yourself with integrity, your people will respect you. Some may disagree with your decisions, but if they know you act with integrity, they will accept your direction.
It takes courage to be an employer in today’s competitive business environment. Courage is required when change is necessary, in challenging the status quo within your industry or the marketplace, in adjusting to constantly changing regulations, making tough decisions, taking calculated risks, or managing a crisis. If you act with courage, you will attract, engage, and inspire your employees.
Lead by Example
Don’t ask anyone to do something you wouldn’t do yourself. If you ask others to stay late, you should stay too. When you lead by example, this means that you’re playing by the same rules as everyone else. If a rule or policy is adopted, whenever possible, the rule needs to apply to employer and employees alike. As an employer, you must be a role model to more effectively engage and influence your employees.
You can’t understand what’s going on throughout your business unless you listen. Listening is how you learn; it’s how you gain perspective. Listening is how you understand what’s important and what’s not.
Throughout my career, the best ideas I’ve seen for solving problems and enhancing customer service have come from people directly involved in the operations we were striving to improve. If you’re trying to solve a problem, you can’t determine the best solutions unless you ask a lot of questions of the employees directly involved in the situation, and then listen carefully to the answers.
As a communicator, an employer must learn to motivate, educate, and influence others.
- Motivate: Your words should motivate your employees to the actions you desire.
- Educate: You must educate them as to why you are asking them to do something. It’s tough for employees to be enthusiastic if they don’t understand why they’re being asked to do it.
- Influence: Employers who influence use their words to have a positive impact on the attitudes, behaviors, and practices of their employees.
If you practice effective communication, you will encourage your employees to engage in ideas and solutions that will enable them to accomplish things they otherwise might not have attempted.
If you’re an employer, the qualities I’ve described above are worth the investment of your time and effort. As you master them, you will enrich your employees’ work environment, encourage more positive engagement, increase employee loyalty, reduce employee turnover, and position your business for greater success. Furthermore, the development of these qualities represents a cost-effective investment that offers potentially huge dividends.
Up next: Are You Sending Your Employer the Wrong Message?