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Ignoring your Best Employees Could Cost You

8 min read

Being A High Performer Does Not The Mean The Employee Is Engaged.

Perhaps this is why the rate of turnover among high performing employees who are actively disengaged is quite similar to low performing employees who are disengaged. One of the biggest mistakes that organizations commit when framing employee engagement strategies is that they leave out their high performers, assuming that they are already engaged.

According to Gallup’s latest survey, the Voluntary Turnover Rate for the disengaged talent of high performers stood at 10%, while that of disengaged, low talent stood at 14%.

Source – Gallup

What this means is that when your best employees are not engaged, the chances of them leaving your organization is as likely as the chance of an underperforming employee who is also not engaged. Engagement leads to better performance, but there is also a high chance that your best talent is performing well, even though they are miserable at work. Do not assume they can be left alone.

Here are a few ways to address this problem:

1. Hire Better

Love what you do and who you do it for. The rest will come naturally.

~ David Cohen, Co-Founder, Techstars

According to Gallup, when people are a natural fit for their role and assigned to do what they do best, an opportunity for achieving excellent performance gets created. While hiring, managers need to ask the question over and over again – Is this the right person for this job? When employees are a natural fit, their dedication to their work will be higher than when they are left to do something they have no interest in, or worst, something they despise.

Hence, managers always need to hire the right talent, spend time in choosing the best out of the sea of applications and not be desperate. Once the right talent is hired, engagement needs to happen continuously. For managers, it is much easier and effective to engage employees who are a natural fit for their roles.

2. Culture Remains Supreme

Turnover rates are usually measured by looking at tangible factors such as compensation or benefits. However, culture continues to play a huge intangible role in defining employee sentiments. According to Tiny Pulse’s 2017 report on employee engagement, culture’s impact on employee engagement was the highest. Aspects such as competitive benefits, flexible schedule and work-life balance were in fact found to have a low correlation to employee happiness.

Thus, a positive work culture breeds engaged employees. According to Andrew Chamberlain, chief economist at Glassdoor, the top predictor of workplace satisfaction is not pay. It is the culture and the values of the organization, closely followed by the quality of the senior leadership and career opportunities for the employees within the company. Reviews from Glassdoor data also showed that culture and values of the organization become more important as the income of an employee increase. Thus, analyze if your top talent is satisfied with the culture or not. If not, make changes through discussions and surveys, and keep them satisfied to retain them for long.

3. Foster Cross-Functional Relationships

Connection to co-workers within the team and across departments plays a crucial role in ensuring positive levels of employee engagement. As per Tiny Pulse’s annual employee engagement survey of 2017, only 24% of employees reported feeling a strong connection to their co-workers. Even though people expressed having a connection with peers in their teams, cross-department bonds were missing.

This is where the role of managers and leaders come in as they play a crucial role in building a strong sense of connection between various teams. Only an organization where teams work together through communication and collaboration can reap the true rewards of novelty and success.

4. Recognize Top Employees

Employees aren’t receiving the recognition they deserve and desire. According to Tiny Pulse Employee Engagement Survey 2017, only 26% of employees feel strongly valued at work, which is lower than last year.

A sure shot way of improving your employee experience is by giving priority to employee recognition. And this does not necessarily need to be a huge burden or require a lot of investment. Even a small “thank you” or good treatment extended to your employees can help promote a positive, productive and engaged organizational climate. The benefits of employee recognition are many. It needs to be made a year-long activity, such that it gets ingrained into the company culture. All this cannot be achieved in a day and needs time to develop

It’s time to make rewards and recognition a vital part of organizational culture. A separate internal process needs to be set up for this so that it keeps evolving with time. After all, companies with recognition programs that are highly effective at improving employee engagement have 31% lower voluntary turnover.

Therefore, the bigger problem to address is engagement, more than productivity or performance. Though performance can be a key indicator of engagement, there are also various other factors that need to be looked into when measuring the level of employee engagement.

Most talented employees will decide to leave when their expectations are not met by the organization, even when they know they are a great fit. Because of their high performance, they are also likely to have great offers pouring in from elsewhere. Only when such employees are continuously rewarded and recognized, and their needs are being constantly met will they decide to stick around. This is why organizations should also aim at continuously keeping their high performers happy. Just because they are the best talent does not mean they do not need to be engaged.

Does This Mean Annual Reviews Are Dead?

No, it does not.

The new system is not the complete abandonment of ratings. Instead, it identifies new ways of making performance reviews a continuous and transparent process, without letting go of reviews. The new wisdom for 2018 and beyond is to use modern performance practices for focusing on employee learning and growth, while also keeping the scope traditional reviews open.

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    Meet the author

    Keka Editorial Team

    A bunch of inspired, creative and ambitious youngsters- that’s Keka’s editorial team for you. We have a thirst to learn new subjects and curate diverse pieces for our readers. Our deep understanding and knowledge of Human Resources has enabled us to answer almost every question pertaining to this department. If not seen finding ways to simplify the HR world, they can be found striking conversations with anyone and everyone , petting dogs, obsessing over gadgets, or baking cakes.


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