Strategic Engagement! Influence employee longevity in your organization



Strategic Engagement! Influence Employee Longevity in Your Organization

By Traci Scherck , MPA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

Are you sick of the Great Resignation, great shuffle, or whatever you want to call the mass exodus of employees to new organizations? The old adage of what got us here will not get us there. How do we get ahead of this curve without turning ourselves into human pretzels by trying to keep our employees engaged, fulfilled, and productive? It all starts with a solid foundation in best practices and a thorough knowledge of the four great drivers to employee engagement:

1. Job- Fit to Role
2.  Manager
3. Team and
4. Organization

Let’s see what the industry giants have to say about the definition of employee engagement:

  • Quantum Workplace defines it as, “The strength of the mental and emotional connection employees feel toward their places of work.”
  • Willis Towers Watson states, “Engagement is an employee’s willingness and ability to contribute to company success.”

If you want those amazing business outcomes and if you want your employees to stay when it seems like everyone else is resigning, your employees must be engaged in their work!

Fit to Role:  Conducting a fit/ gap analysis of the natural behaviors of a person to what the job needs allows organizations to easily see where the round pegs are in the square holes. Next step is to determine where these employees would be a natural job fit and offer a shift, even on a project basis, that aligns their natural strengths with the natural needs of the job.  These shifts create increased productivity along with more engaged employees that want to stay. Winning!

Manager: What mindset is does your management team have?

  • “We have to do this”
  • “We want to do this?”

Our attitudes in HR and the leadership team impact the culture of the organization and inspire our staff into wanting to be at work and performing at their highest level. Yet, each of us is different. Part of wanting to work is being managed the way we need to be managed based on our natural skillsets. Another mindset shift:

  • No longer the Golden Rule: Treat others the way I want to be treated.
  • Platinum Rule: Treat others the way THEY want to be treated.

How do we this? Ask! “Hey, employee, what do you need today to be successful?” When you get the blank stare, give them a couple of options in story form. “There have been times in my career that I needed a tool, others where I needed a sounding board, and others where I just need my list prioritized. Other times, I needed to celebrate my success. I want to acknowledge you for how you contributed to our client win last week. Let me know what else you need!”

Team: A strong Team can raise each other up much higher than an individual can on their own. Everyone wants to feel that they are contributing something meaningful to their team. If a team is always competing against each other, they can start poking at each other’s weaknesses instead of playing to each other’s strengths. Nobody wants to get up every day and work in an environment like that! When you build your team, you want to generate collaboration and elevate the performance of every individual.

What happens when there is no collaboration on your team and just one person is doing most of the work?

  • Ekta Sahasi, of, says, “For the individuals who have come to be relied upon for doing the lion’s share of the work, the unintended consequences may be exhaustion, increased stress, and work and family conflict.”.
  •  Adam Grant, also from, shares that these same individuals experience the lowest engagement and career scores. Why does this low engagement matter? The chance of these employees moving on to another organization is high. They are also likely to “spread their growing apathy to their colleagues.”
  • Source: Three Scientifically Proven Ways to Inspire Your Team

The litmus test on if you are part of great team is this: How do you feel on a Sunday afternoon? Do you have knots in your stomach about going to work the next day or do you feel excited that you get to go to work and accomplish something amazing! Ask your staff how they feel about work! They may not give an honest answer but at least you are getting that question out there and in the open about what they need from you!

Organization: This brings us to the last driver of engagement: the Organization. This is essentially the culture- where is the organization heading and how we are holding individuals accountable? An organization’s leader needs to have, according to Brene Brown, “a strong back and a soft front.” Leaders need to be authentic! How does that tie into your culture? A leader needs to be strong with the direction that the organization is going but soft in how we connect with others and motivate them. Research has shown us that a key part of gaining an employee’s trust is by being authentic! Let your employees see you acting as your real, empathetic self.

One way you can demonstrate this authenticity is by sharing personal stories with your team. Let them peek into a time when you were vulnerable or share with your team a story about when you were faced with a difficult circumstance and how you overcame it! “Increasing realness in humanity by sharing powerful stories is one powerful way to build trust.” This is a quote by Gia Storms of the  Harvard Business Review.

What got us here will not get us to keep our staff if they are not engaged. Let’s focus on what we can do and make a significant difference in the lives of our employees, their families, our communities, and our organizations.