Much has been said about employee engagement over the last few years as companies focus on maximizing employee productivity. Companies, regardless of their ability to bring in new talent, should nurture the talent they have. Data suggests that as a company’s employee engagement increases, so does the bottom line.

Unfortunately, many companies are challenged by less-than-fully-engaged employees. Recent research from Modern Survey on employee engagement (“the degree to which employees are psychologically invested in the organization and motivated to contribute to its success”) paints a concerning picture: 61% of the workforce in the US is under-engaged or disengaged. Sixty-one percent!

The impact of this engagement crisis becomes even clearer when you consider your top performers; those most likely to be fully engaged contribute 186% of an average employee. Low performers contribute just 11%. Under these circumstances, it’s clear that employee engagement should be a priority for leaders, from line management to the C-suite.

To enhance employee engagement, leaders should focus attention on five key factors that drive employee behavior:

1) recognition

2) personal accomplishment

3) career development

4) belief in senior leadership

5) compensation

For high performing employees in particular—the ones you’d hate to lose—career development leads to ongoing satisfaction and engagement. Unfortunately, we often see training and development programs cut when finances are an issue. When employees see concern as it relates to their personal career development, they are more likely to resist the siren song of recruiters when the job market is booming.

When costly programs focused on employee career development are not an option, here are some things you can do to show employees you care:

  • Give employees dedicated time to read business information online
  • Encourage employees to sit in on meetings or participate in projects that are outside their normal course of business
  • Encourage mentoring relationships and job-shadowing

How does compensation fit in?

Most leaders would agree that if you get the first four items on the list right, and your compensation is appropriate, you are in good shape. The underlying issue is identifying what is “appropriate” when it comes to compensation. Without a thorough compensation analysis, it’s hard to say, but research has shown that a company’s employee satisfaction isn’t damaged by lower pay levels when the company is thoughtful and diligent in its communication to employees about how they are compensated.

How can we help?  

Compensation Works can provide employee engagement review and recommendations, along with communication strategies to help your employees understand how they are compensation. We can also complete a competitive analysis and evaluation of your pay structure to help you stay competitive in today’s market.