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Road to retention: Employee engagement strategies that work

You can't ignore the strong link between employee engagement and retention - so what's the key to finding the right strategy at your workplace? We speak to IAN HUTCHINSON of Life By Design, MICHAEL HALL of WildWorks and JAN PACAS of Hilti for their thoughts on how to motivate and keep staff.

Video transcript below:

Stephanie Zillman, HC Online
Stephanie Zillman:
 Hello, I’m Stephanie Zillman and you are watching HC TV. There is no doubting there is  a strong link between employee engagement and retention and it’s often up to HR to find the right formula.  Ian Hutchinson of Life by Design says companies need to take a fresh look at their strategies aimed at motivating and keeping staff.

Ian Hutchinson, Life by Design
Ian Hutchinson:  We have heard about engagement so much over the last decade or two.  A lot of people are getting jaded by the term and going what’s it really all about, particularly from an employees perspective, because it’s a very eccentric term.  I think what we need to do is to flip that on its head and I think motivation is the real key word because it’s very employee e-centric.  So we need to start talking the terms from the employees perspective not the employers, because otherwise they will get sceptical.  
Michael Hall, Wildworks
Michael Hall:  I hear communication being used a lot, but too often communication gets dumped down into a one way traffic of messages and no matter how many emails you send somebody or what social media you use, unless that’s done in an engaging manner, you won’t get the traction.
Jan Pacas, Hilti, Australia
Jan Pacas:  I think if you are involved you will make a statement of that and you show that you care and maybe for some different businesses where it’s not that people dependent, you can afford not to be involved.  For our business where 80% of all our staff have daily interactions with customers and hence you know the people are a direct influence how we position our brand.  
Stephanie Zillman:  Jan Pacas at Hilti, a company that has been recognised as an employer of choice, says it’s vital to take a top down approach to engaging staff.
Jan Pacas:  You got to have strong managers, you got to have engage managers who absolutely believe in it and who embrace it.  I think you know one doesn’t go without the other.  You got to have strong HR processes, strong HR things that are really best in class, but you got to have managers who understand how it benefits them, who understand that if they get it right they are the ones who will benefit from that, because they are the ones who will have a result of that.  An engaged team who as a result of that will have high retention who as a result of that will have also then high performance.
Michael Hall:  You got to engage the frontline, the people that are actually engaging with the customers or your suppliers, but you also must engage the very top to let them know if you are the boss of the company, this is why you are doing what you need to be doing, then you have to got align with discipline to make sure the whole organisation is doing that.
Stephanie Zillman:  Ian Hutchinson of Life by Design says it’s also important for employees to identify what motivates them to improve productivity.
Ian Hutchinson:  Well traditionally we have seen engagement from the top down. You go and do engagement research and that potentially is okay as a starting point but it is flawed in that it doesn’t get down to the individual level.  So flip it on its head and work with the individual up and it’s really again about getting the individuals clear about what motivates them.  Once they can identify that then they can usually control their engagement motivation itself.
Stephanie Zillman:  For more on engagement and other industry news, click around HC Online.  I am Stephanie Zillman and I will see you again soon on HC TV.