Employee Engagement and Retention in Changing Times

The news is tough these days for organizational managers! They need to redefine the workplace for a more virtual remote workforce; they face daily supply chain uncertainties and constraints; and turnover seems to be at an all-time high. In the face of all this uncertainty and change, how do you best engage and retain?

Here are six tips for moving ahead:

  1. Take care of yourself. Every manager should pause first and assess their own state and needs. If you are feeling stressed, uncertain and disengaged yourself, it is going to be hard to engage others. Identify your own top needs and consider how to meet those.
  2. Be honest about what you know and don’t know. If you don’t have great information right now about what happens next, say that. Share what you know, and explicitly name what you don’t know with your teams. People do better with uncertainty when they know it’s uncertain for everyone, and you are not holding out on them.
  3. Be explicit about allowances. Difficult times call for some flexibility and creativity. Let your team know what they are empowered to do, act on and figure out. Empowerment is key to engagement.
  4. Ask for input. Listen, listen, listen — and — never let a crisis go to waste. Now is the time to ask the team for opinions and input. The benefit of uncertainty is that there can be new space for more options to be seriously considered that seemed impossible before.
  5. Give feedback. Constructive and thoughtful developmental feedback keeps employees engaged. Many managers resist giving feedback — they assume people don’t need it; they get too busy; or they fear the reaction. Feedback, however, is essential to true engagement. We need to grow to engage.
  6. Say thank you. For a completed project, for a good idea, for a positive attitude, for just being part of the team! When we are stressed, it is easy to forget the power of simple appreciation. When it heartfelt, say it — don’t save it!  Everyone needs to feel valued.     

In the rush to solve problems and hire new people, it is easy forget the team that has stood by you through time. Engaging them, and taking care of yourself, are central actions in wild and crazy times.