Motivating Employees and Managing Turnover: Building an Engaged Workforce

by Susan Haddad, VP of Operations – Professional Search, ACA Talent

As every growing company knows, what separates you from the competition isn’t always your product or service. Often, it’s your people. Because of this competitive advantage, it’s essential not only to continue hiring talented individuals, but also keeping them engaged and motivated.

Why is employee engagement and motivation critical to a company’s success? A big part of that is because these factors are linked to turnover.

Call centers strongly illustrate these issues. Typically, call centers have high turnover rates, as well as lower salaries and the frustration of dealing with unhappy customers. Some companies, recognizing an opportunity to improve these conditions and retain their workforce, have bolstered their incentives programs by increasing wages and offering a pleasant work environment. Companies have also expanded their health benefits; they may even offer tuition reimbursement, training, and career advancement. While advancement may not always mean moving up the ladder to a supervisory position, it might also mean a transfer to a department that requires higher skill levels.

Some managers, however, may not relish losing their employees to higher-level jobs. However, the benefit to the organization is clear: why risk losing a great employee to a competitor and giving away that key competitive advantage. Promoting from within also establishes a sense of continuity and stability that is both comforting and motivating to newly hired employees.

The flip side of managing turnover, is determining why employees leave. Some companies, like Costco, promote an open door policy to help executives keep an ear to the ground, while giving employees a platform to express concerns. By consistently taking a temperature check of the organization as a whole, you can see the full picture behind your workforce’s likes, dislikes, strengths, and weaknesses,  so you can create and implement meaningful action plans.

Part of these action plans should include helping managers transition from a merely supervisory role, to one that mentors and coaches employees. By taking an active interest in their workforce, managers can help lead companies to the next level of success. In this sense, a little motivation go a long way by creating a happier and more stable workforce.

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