The COVID-19 pandemic is winding down in the U.S. The economy is opening back up and help wanted signs are everywhere you look. But one thing is missing: the workers. Hiring managers during these strange times may find the tables have turned, and the stacks of resumes and applications for open positions may have dwindled to a precious few. If you’re wondering how best to recruit new talent — and how to keep the talent you have — FindMojo has two words for you: employee engagement.

Employee Engagement Is Down

If you have ventured out in the last month or so, you have likely encountered a new trend here in the U.S. — bars, restaurants and retail stores are open and swarming with customers, but there aren’t enough workers to handle them all. Lines are long and frustration is high. Many analysts were left scratching their heads, unable to understand why, now that it was safe to return to work, many people were not doing so.

Some were quick to point out that the reason must be unemployment benefits, which were then swiftly cut for many. But the fear remains among business owners. Will losing unemployment benefits be enough motivation to get workers to return?

And it’s not just low-wage workers who are not returning to their jobs. After a year of being home, many workers just can’t muster the desire to return to the office. They don’t want to get up before dawn, dress in uncomfortable clothes and fight traffic to do a job they could likely do from home. The Washington Post calls the situation with workers wanting to stay home and managers wanting them to come into the office a “seismic standoff.”

As a hiring manager, if you’re reading this, that’s good news, because you’re acknowledging the problem and looking for a solution. We have some suggestions for you.

Improving Employee Engagement

Workers who stay with their employers must be motivated to do so. Traditionally, that motivation has been assumed to be money. And money is a great motivator. But it’s not the only one. Villanova University cites a study in which pay and benefits is at the bottom of a list of important factors that lead to job satisfaction. What beats money?

Respect in the workplace, trust, job security, a healthy work environment and a chance at advancing in your career.

To achieve employee engagement, you must determine what it is that engages your employees. Often, this is quite specific to each employee. But learning more about what’s important to employees in general is a great place to start.

Workplace Motivation

At FindMojo, we help you determine what motivates the employees you have on staff now. This is the key to talent retention and getting these employees to produce at a level that’s useful to your company.

It’s frustrating to have an employee whom you know is capable of great work, but continually comes in late, leaves early and doesn’t get much done in between. Why? Could it be a personal problem at home? It could be. But it could be your company that is killing this employee’s drive to achieve.

No one likes to hear that what they have been doing is wrong, but the good news is that when this happens, you can make changes—often times quickly and easily—that can turn things around for your company.

Keep in mind that although there are generalizations we can apply to many employees, the key to workplace motivation is discovering what motivates the individual. Employee A may love making sales calls in person and may close all their deals this way. Employee B may loathe in-person meetings and do their best work on the phone. Knowledge is power.

Employee Satisfaction

While the job market is not 100% predictable, we think it’s safe to say that for employers, right now the situation is concerning that workers do not want to return to work. This is regardless of the type of business you run, because this type of dissatisfaction and disengagement can easily spread into any industry or segment, resulting in a national revolt. In fact, the climate is ripe for such an event.

Because many employers will have difficulty finding talent to fill their open positions, they naturally will look to raiding other companies to get what they need. Make sure that company isn’t yours.

In the last year or two, have you:

  • Cut employee benefits such as number of allowable holidays or vacation days
  • Required employees to contribute more to their health insurance premiums even if those premiums have not gone up
  • Hired managers who treat employees poorly
  • Frequently required salaried employees to work overtime for no extra compensation
  • Reduced workplace offerings such as free lunches, snacks, etc.
  • Expected employees to respond to work emails and calls after hours
  • Eliminated or reduced employer contributions to commuting costs
  • Reduced employer contributions to 401(k) plans
  • Ended the option to work from home

If your employees are unhappy, it won’t be hard for your competitors to learn this on social media. Although some of the aforementioned changes are economic, many also have to do with respect.

Now is the time for employers worrying about talent retention to step up and do a thorough evaluation of employee satisfaction. FindMojo can help.

We provide employee engagement assessment programs that will tell you exactly what your employees love (and hate) about their jobs at your company. Well-designed employee engagement surveys are like gold to CEOs and others who set company policy. They’re full of questions you may never have thought to ask, and the answers give you insight you couldn’t otherwise get.

Employee Engagement Surveys

FindMojo’s employee engagement surveys are the key to talent retention at your company, and at every company. We spent 10 years designing and refining these surveys so that their application was practical to the largest number of users.

It’s easy — and sometimes practical — to look for the lowest common denominator, but it doesn’t always work. Employers can’t expect employee productivity to soar after a change they made based on an article they read on Slate or a TED Talk they listened to, because it’s more complicated than that.

Contact FindMojo today to learn more about implementing our Motivators Assessment tool. Sleep better knowing you have the key to unlocking your employees’ potential and achieving the kind of talent retention everyone wants.

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