Employee engagement key to retain talent in 2021

A new Achievers Workforce Institute report aims to help HR and business leaders connect the dots on engagement and retention to reduce turnover.
By: | April 5, 2021

While unemployment continues to afflict many countries because of the pandemic, many organisations may be surprised to learn that many of their employees may be looking to seek alternative job opportunities in 2021.

Driven by factors such as compensation and benefits, work-life balance and recognition, 52% of employees will actively look for a new job year, reported Achievers Workforce Institute in its 2021 Engagement & Retention report.

Based on a survey of 2,000 employed respondents conducted in February 2021, the fourth annual engagement and retention report from Achievers Workforce Institute called for increased engagement to decrease turnover in 2021.

Natalie Baumgartner, Chief Workforce Scientist, Achievers Workforce Institute, explained, “Organisations must focus on balance to attract and retain employees. Knowing whether your employees are satisfied with their current balance should be your first stop.”

With only 21% of respondents saying they are “very engaged” and are planning to stay with their company for a long time, organisations clearly need to rethink their employee engagement strategy.

66% of employees believe that improving company culture will make them more engaged at work, while 52% wanted their employer to improve diversity and inclusion within the organisation.

Being recognised and appreciated at work also ranks highly with employees. One in five of employees feel underappreciated for their contributions, while more than two-thirds (69%) think their relationship with their manager would improve if they recognised them more.

While 60% of employers have solicited feedback on how to improve the employee experience, many are not actively implementing actions.

More than a third (34%) of employees say their manager/employee is ‘okay’ at acting on feedback and make a few changes based on it, while 18% of employees say their manager/employer is ‘horrible’ at acting on feedback and do nothing to act on the feedback.

For those who continue to work remotely, more than half (51%) worry that their manager or supervisor doubts their productivity, leading to the risk of burnout. Nearly half (44%) of employees say this concern has in turn prompted them to log into work earlier or stay online later.

More employees (42%) are also feeling increasingly disconnected from their company and colleagues, compared to just 38% saying they feel more connected since the start of the pandemic.

42% say company culture has diminished since the onset of the pandemic, with most employees blaming a lack of communication (26%) or lack of effort to make remote employees feel connected (25%).

Baumgartner added, “HR leaders are facing unique challenges right now and need to prioritise the top factors to improve engagement, retention and employee satisfaction.”

Achievers Workforce Institute recommended organisations to implement technology that unites the employee experience. For instance, an all-in-one employee experience platform brings together the resources, tools and technology employees need to become and stay engaged.

Next, organisations need should invest in tools to support action following feedback. Feedback tools that incorporate action planning as part of the feedback process will support managers and leaders in turning employee feedback into actionable insights.

READ: Kellogg fuels their global workforce with frequent recognition

Work-life balance is crucial for both recruitment and retention, Achievers Workforce Institute highlighted. Organisations can start by asking employees, either in one-to-one meetings or through a quarterly pulse survey, whether they feel they are able to balance their work and personal commitments. If they are not, ask how they could be better supported.

Lastly, organisations need to build a culture of recognition, because this is the easiest and most effective way to improve engagement company-wide. A culture of recognition, supported by a robust recognition platform, ensures that a simple “Thank you” goes a long way.

Organisations also need to train managers to understand what effective recognition looks like and hold them accountable for recognising their teams regularly.

Click here to download the report and find out how your organisation can improve employee engagement and reduce attrition.