Think an Employee is About to Abandon Ship? 3 Ways to Keep Your Best Talent

Think back to your employees’ first days:  They probably had that fresh, first-day glow all around them. They were energized, excited, enthusiastic. They exceeded deadlines, were excited to contribute and speak up, and were at the top of their game. Basically, they were your best talent.

But over time, that may have started to fade.

Office setting
Office setting

Before you know it, that shininess wears off – the honeymoon phase is over. And that’s when the waters start to get tricky, because an unengaged employee is quick to leave the company.

A shocking 50% – 80% of employees aren’t engaged, according to Metrus Institute and Gallup. That spells disaster – your best employees may be planning to abandon ship.

Here are three ways you can boost the engagement in your workplace – and keep your star staffers:

  1. Clear up work-life balance rules

It’s no secret we have trouble shutting off once we leave the workplace. With constant phone calls, texts and emails, no one is honoring that boundary between work and home anymore.

Despite occasionally working on the weekend or pulling in extra hours at night, most employees are still hesitant to deal with any personal issues that pop-up during the workday. Their engagement is compromised because the work relationship feels one-sided. They think, I worked all weekend. Why am I afraid to leave early to pick up my sick kid?

Eventually, that leads to stress and resentment.

All of this can be avoided by brushing up on your company’s policy regarding work-life balance. Make sure your processes are focused on the end results, not necessarily the minutes employees are putting in. Always check in with your team to see if anyone is being overloaded, and keep an open door. You want your team to be able to talk openly with you.

  1. Build a strong team

Is your team resilient? It’s a critical trait in companies now, especially with technologies, processes and to-do lists constantly changing.

So how does your team deal with setbacks? If they don’t have a clear path to follow or a step-by-step process to help them get back on track, it’s going to slow down the recovery, impacting their productivity and morale. They’re going to get overwhelmed and burnt out. suggests coming up with a “pull switch option.” Come up with a code word an employee can use when the person’s plate is full and needs support. Have a process or procedure for when employees deal with setbacks. This way, they’ll know you know setbacks are going to happen – it’s how you deal with them that matters.

Reassure your team that using the code word doesn’t make the person lazy or unmotivated – rather, it just shows he or she needs assistance, guidance or more information to keep going.

  1. Empower them to steer the ship

Engagement isn’t something you can hand out with an employee’s bonus. Rather, they have to find it within themselves and bring it out.

Give your team more of a say in things. Ask for their opinions and thoughts on something they wouldn’t normally be involved in. It’ll help them realize they have what it takes to get results – no matter what.

And as always, make sure you communicate with your team. Know what’s going on in their lives – both personal and professional – so you can adjust accordingly. Find out what kind of work they’re passionate about and where their energy goes. Before you know it, you’ll have an effective, engaged team on your hands.


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