Engagement isn't just a warm and fuzzy buzzword-it represents a real connection between an employee and the organization, and has tangible results in increased productivity, more passion for work, lower employee turnover and higher profitability. Employee engagement doesn't just happen-it needs to be nurtured with a supportive culture, an easy-to-use toolkit and a plan. The top three things that high-performing employees are looking for are feedback, recognition and compensation.
Most driven people want to know what they can do better, to improve their career and to continue to contribute to the organization, but so often performance reviews for good employees are a cursory "keep doing what you're doing."
Most of the average 210 hours managers spend on annual reviews are usually spent addressing problem employees, not nurturing the growth and development of high-performers. How can we give employees the feedback that they crave, feedback that will make them better, be more productive for managers and produce valuable information for HR?
The key is to introduce continuous coaching and feedback, encourage constructive peer-to-peer feedback and use one-on-one meetings to connect and provide career-planning guidance.
Replacing annual reviews with monthly or bi-weekly check-ins is a much better use of everyone's time, allowing manager and employee to review performance in the moment, discuss successes and failures and offer feedback that drives performance in the moment.
Peer-to-peer feedback can connect peers to one another and help break down silos. It also reinforces to employees that their work has impact, driving them to continue to build on those connections. When peer-to-peer feedback is visible to managers and HR, it also provides great insight into the employee's value to the organization.
Employee recognition can take many forms-from investing in professional training or memberships to show that you see their potential, to nurturing a badging and impression program to foster public recognition by managers and peers, to meaningful conversations about career plans, showing that the organization values the individual's growth and contributions.
When compensation is a factor in employee disengagement, it can put them at risk of departure. Employee turnover has an associated cost that can make trying to save money on salary a losing proposition. To help advocate for adequate compensation funding, calculate the cost of retention at a higher salary level to compare against the cost of replacement. Studies show that cost of replacing a salaried employee can cost between 6 months and 18 months of the associated salary. When you factor that high-potential employees can be 200 percent more productive than average employees, investing in compensation makes a lot of financial sense.
How do you know if you have an engagement problem at your organization? Too often the information that management gets is piecemeal and either biased, filtered or inaccurate. Organizations have traditionally tried to get around this with annual surveys, but these take too much time develop, disseminate and analyze, not to mention the time it takes employees to respond.
Saba Pulse 360 surveys are designed to continually solicit feedback with a couple of pointed questions. This "always on" survey tool provides the C-suite with the ability to continually monitor the mood of the organization. Better still, as you roll out some of the initiatives described above, the Pulse survey will enable you to see how you're moving the needle on performance engagement.