This employee retention speaker and employee retention trainer hears people saying we need to have our people engaged so they stay with the organization. Yes…but…engagement is not the same as retention. There are a lot of engaged people who quit their job for a new opportunity that are fully engaged. As this employee retention author who is also a “headhunter” tells people; I don’t have any of my search clients saying to me “find me a disengaged employee.” Competitors want your engaged employees not the disengaged ones. I do believe that engagement is a powerful tool in your employee retention strategies. It’s not the only tool, however.
When I work as an employee retention consultant, I tell my clients you want energized, fired up and engaged employees but you also want people who will stay. You need both an engaged and loyal workforce if you want to optimize the results of your organization. Engaged employees will be the ones that are bringing up great ideas, go the extra mile for you and do almost any thing for you. You also want them to stick around or you will have a revolving door of engaged employees. That can be problematic because you lose knowledge and experience every time one of your people walks out the door. There is a flip side to that as well.
On the other side of the coin is that there is “nothing worse than people who quit and leave than people who quit and stay.” People who retire on the job or who begin to be “potted plants” and don’t produce anything are as dangerous to your business as people who are quitting all of the time. You have to find a way to energize those people, so they are contributors and not just taking up space and collecting a paycheck. That’s where the challenge comes in.
That’s what makes it so tough for a leader today. You have to do build both engagement as well as retention of employees. The first step in the process is to recognize that the two are not the same but they do go hand in hand and the elements needed to succeed in both may be different. Once you do that, you are in a position to address both of the issues.