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Attracting & Retaining the Right People

Neil McDonough, CEO

According to Deloitte, nearly nine out of 10 executives rate employee engagement as either an important or a very important business priority. The reason? Engaged employees are happier, more productive, and more likely to stay with the company, and that translates into higher revenue. In fact, Aberdeen notes that companies with formal engagement strategies are 67 percent more likely to improve their companies’ revenue.

As business leaders, we understand that our most valuable assets, without question, are our employees; the people who, day after day, produce and promote the product. Hiring the right people, then, is paramount. The challenge, of course, is finding candidates who not only possess the needed skills, but who are also a good fit for the company’s culture. Without a similar mindset, a new employee is not likely to engage and will, therefore, be less productive, less satisfied and less successful. It’s not surprising, then, that a lot of our attention and resources are focused on hiring the right people, making sure we connect with these future employees and feel confident that they will thrive in our environment.

Attracting People

Similarly, we strive to give existing employees every reason to stay with us. To help ensure longevity, it’s crucial that they know they are valued partners, and that they know that their individual success and the company’s overall success are linked. Additionally, we must recognize that they are individuals, with their own unique personal and professional goals, and work to ensure they can be attained.

Our efforts, however, do not always yield the desired results. Despite our investments and commitment to these processes, fewer than a third of all employees feel engaged at work, according to Glassdoor. The same study found that even fewer millennials feel connected to the companies where they work. The result is a less engaged, less productive staff, many of whom are likely to look for opportunities elsewhere. When they do leave, we lose the tacit knowledge of their experience, and we incur the expense and effort needed to find and train their replacements.

So, what do we need to do?

First and foremost, employees want to feel as if they are doing meaningful work and contributing to a larger goal, both for the company and for themselves. They want to know that their work matters, and that management both recognizes and appreciates their contributions. For this to happen, certain things are key:

Development. It’s important for companies to have a strong internal training program in place to both recruit and retain employees. The younger generations, in particular, are looking for leadership development as well as training in their specific job functions. Many employees want to know there is somewhere to go within the company beyond their present position.

Recognition. Employee recognition continues to be a vital aspect of employee engagement, satisfaction and longevity, and numerous psychological studies provide empirical evidence to support this notion. We all want our efforts to be noticed and appreciated.

Flexibility. It’s important to take the time to understand the needs of our employees and possibly adjust internal practices to accommodate those needs, which may be different for different generations of workers. For example, work life balance and flexibility are highly valued by millennials, while options for health insurance and retirement plans may be more important to older workers.

Continuous Improvement. Finally, continually improving processes and gaining efficiencies that help alleviate frustrations and overwork can have a big impact on job satisfaction. This goes back to creating meaningful work and minimizing the time spent on tasks that don’t add value.

The goal is to have a culture where employees are coming to work for more than just a paycheck – a culture where everyone is encouraged and expected to innovate and continually improve; a place where employees are committed to achieving the goals the company has set, and can be excited about their contributions to their teams, the company and the greater good. This comes through training, coaching and mentorship, and with leadership pulling the best out of employees with an eye toward helping them achieve their full potential.

Naturally, we must offer competitive salaries and benefits, and FLEXcon’s human resources professionals seriously consider these factors. However, the truth is that attracting and retaining great employees goes far beyond compensation and must be a priority for the company as a whole through continual coaching, improvement and career development opportunities. Creating a culture that embodies these values takes time and effort, but the potential impact is far-reaching. It’s an investment in our future that we can’t afford not to make.