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Key Pillars of Employee Engagement


If you’ve worked in HR, or even just been a part of the hiring process, you’ve likely heard the infamous statistic: the cost of hiring new employees is over 150% more expensive than the cost of retaining current employees. Considering the time lost due to searching for, interviewing, and training a new team member, it’s more important than ever to take good care of the employees you have right now. 

So if the name of the game is “keeping employees happy,” what are the concrete steps you can take to make sure this happens? How can we, as organizations and people leaders, ensure our employees have the best possible employee experience? To help answer these questions, we’ve wrapped up the top seven areas to focus on in order to create the best employee experience possible.

Pillar #1: Onboarding

First impressions are important, and employee onboarding is no different. Developing a well-thought-out onboarding and training plan is vital. It can truly be the difference between a successful transition to a new career and the employee consoling themselves on the drive home saying “it’s just a job – I probably won’t be here for long anyway.” There are countless ways to make your employees feel welcome on day one, but make sure they include these key three priorities: 

  1. Prepare the employee for what to expect. 
  2. Clearly communicate and execute a training plan to all parties involved.
  3. Ensure your new team member feels welcomed and appreciated by their new team.

Pillar #2: Encourage Friendships in the Workplace

It’s no wonder that Gallup’s Employee Engagement survey always asks about having friends at work. Studies show that having a best friend at work significantly increases employee satisfaction and retention! Friendships at work offer an outlet to vent about issues with trusted allies, and also make work more.. well.. fun! Foster friendships in the workplace for your employees by teaching proper communication skills, encouraging social events outside of the office, and practicing team-building activities regularly.

Pillar #3: Connect to your Values

Vision casting allows your employees to understand and feel connected to your organization’s mission and goals. It’s connecting what we do with why we do it. It’s understanding that we must act as if what we do makes a difference because it does. And finally, it is preparing your employees to continue the original vision of your company into the future. 

Pillar #4: Promote Positive Relationships with Immediate Supervisors

A negative relationship with an immediate supervisor is one of the top reasons employees choose to leave a position. Oftentimes they aren’t leaving the job itself, they are leaving the supervisor. Help foster a positive and open relationship between employee and leader by ensuring the employee feels seen and heard. Make weekly check-ins a best practice, and encourage an open-door policy. And of course, encourage and promote additional training to your leaders so they can feel confident and well-equipped with an arsenal of communication and conflict resolution training.

Pillar #5: Fulfilling Work

Whether you are out in the field as a lineman for your local utility company or sitting behind a desk helping answer technical questions, what your employees do matters. And if they feel that importance – that their work connects to others and makes a positive impact in the lives of those around them, they will feel infinitely more fulfilled. Ask clients for positive stories and reviews, share those stories of positive impact with your team, and take the time to connect the dots between everyday jobs and the folks around them who benefit from the work.

Pillar #6: Growth and Development 

In a national study conducted by ECN Magazine, 80% of employees rated company-provided training as “important or very important” and 70% of employees said training and development could influence their retention. Development & learning opportunities encourage a growth mindset in your employees. Additionally, it benefits your organization by having a more knowledgeable and forward-thinking workforce to lead the next generation! Ensure your employees have plenty of opportunities for growth by offering lunch & learns and encouraging them to attend workshops and classes.

Pillar #7: Employee Recognition

Recognition lifts the human spirit. It is one of the most important factors in creating a positive perception of your organization’s culture. Additionally, it strongly influences how employees perceive their organization’s value of them. There are all sorts of ways to include recognition in your organization from offering a social recognition program for employees to recognizing the star employees at an annual awards banquet. Check out the Top Five Recognition Programs to Influence Company Culture here

Recognition is complex, but focusing on the seven pillars of employee engagement can help make sure your employees have the best foundation possible. Feel free to share below any extra tips you have for each of these areas! 

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