Employee Engagement and Employee Retention: Beyond the Basics

Employee Engagement and Employee Retention, Employee Engagement and Employee Retention: Beyond the BasicsEmployee Engagement and Employee Retention:

Mastering the Theory and Putting the Results to Work


This time we’re going to up the ante with some steps you can start implementing right away – once you get the basic understanding that employee engagement and employee retention really are two sides of the same coin. Engaged employees are not nearly so likely to walk out the door, but keeping them takes some understanding.

Holding onto talent is like plugging a hole in the bottom of your bank account. The loss of talent, experience, company-specific skill-sets – and whatever you put into training – is increasingly quantifiable, and at this stage you probably don’t even want to look at the numbers. We’ll look at them in a subsequent post, but for now let’s look at:

Putting some Teeth into Your Employee Engagement and Employee Retention Initiatives

Our Basics for employee engagement and employee retention were just that; a simple explanation so that you get the idea. There are companies – yes, even big successful companies – who’ve lost millions on ineffective implementations and incomplete campaigns. Both policies and proactive practices need to be in place, understood far and wide and continually tweaked, updated and perfected. Following are some of the most important.


Recruitment & Hiring

You might be surprised how many companies still simply post an ad in the paper for what they think they need and then hope for the best. Like in a lot of areas where much of the process has been outsourced, companies that keep their recruitment and hiring in-house are still learning a lot from the agencies. Even with no relationship, you simply must look at what the professional headhunters – and their agencies – are doing. Do not simply fill any position without fully understanding the implications and the potentials. To do so is simply to throw good money after bad.

Compensation & Benefits

You think you understand this. It’s among the most important ways to demonstrate your commitment to employees and strongly affects their willingness to stay or to be lured away. But seldom discussed and far too seldom implemented are generous changes to time-off policies, flexi-time and similar benefits that cost next to nothing and that seriously enhance your competitiveness in your skills marketplace. Now think about these “Pie-in-the-Sky” benefits (that cost next to nothing):

  • Paternity/Maternity Leave
  • On-site Child Care 
  • Tuition Reimbursement
  • Mandatory Sabbatical or Time-Off
  • Research or Development Trips, Studies and Conferences


That’s a mouthful of soft word – and your star talent will probably be cynical about it too. At least at first. It doesn’t have to be a soft option, and very often, star talent are practicing some kind of “Wellness” regime, already – maybe in secret. It’s not a return to paternalism, but a realistic assessment of people and what people need. Support for healthy and well-balanced lifestyles might mean in-office yoga, but it might also mean some ergonomic exercises, reviewed by your health and legal staff and inserted into your internal newsletter. Diet, stress, fitness, mental health, safety and awareness all show employees that you’re engaged with them. You want engagement from them? Give some back.


Awards, titles and those horrible plexiglass pyramids that clutter desks do not add up to much. Every employee is aware of the restrictions on monetary rewards, raises and compensation. But paying them to not be there, in recognition of what they’ve achieved is a tremendous bonus for every one of them. It might sound expensive at first, but you’re paying now for disengaged and listless employees who aren’t performing.


This one is really where you need to put your big-boy pants on. You want engaged employees? Then be prepared to take a serious look at how they want to run your company and to hear all of their ideas for running it – and managing it. Performance-based pay, outcome based incentives and recognition with time-off for achievement will all pay off big time, – if and only if – management is on the ball to make it work.

Achieve all of the above and you may well find yourself well rewarded. Take some time off and give some to your best performers too. Make sure everyone knows exactly how and why and where they’re going – and you’ll have no problem with employee engagement or employee retention.

Karin Jakovljevic

About the author

Karin Jakovljevic

Karin Jakovljevic is the head of marketing at Ximble, a powerful, cloud-based workforce management system, simplifying employee scheduling and time tracking for retailers, restaurants and small businesses.

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