Despite the ongoing economic crises, many employees are ready to leave their current employers for greener pastures, even as you are reading this. The reason? They feel that their jobs do not make good-enough use of their abilities and talents.

If you fail to engage your employees and challenge them optimally, you will probably watch them head for the door soon.

Employee satisfaction hinges on meaningful career progress.

Employee satisfaction and talent retention are some of the biggest challenges businesses have faced for the last few decades. Workforce mobility has never been greater, and with increasing connectedness, dissatisfied talent can easily find other opportunities.

The solution? Work out a talent retention strategy and tweak it as it begins to yield results. Even if your employees are satisfied, you should not fall into complacency. Analyze why they are satisfied, draw relevant conclusions, and use them to improve your talent retention strategy.

Breaking Down Employee Dissatisfaction 

Why are your employees dissatisfied? Financial incentives are the obvious, time-honored solution to keeping employees motivated, but such rewards have their limits.

According to a 2020 Deloitte survey, the top driver of employee turnover is lack of career progress. The lack of opportunities to forward their careers strikes most employees as disheartening. Leaving them without reasons to look forward to the future, this state of affairs prompts employees to seek opportunities elsewhere.

  • New opportunities appearing in the market add fuel to the fire of dissatisfaction. Coupled with the lack of opportunities at their current jobs, this factor is a powerful driver of the search for new employment.
  • Employees who are not aligned with the purposes and priorities of their managers and supervisors are highly likely to try to solve the conundrum by looking for new employment.
  • With compensation increases lagging or missing altogether, employees can feel unappreciated and even unwanted. No one likes to feel like a fifth wheel, even if the organization is a reputable, industry-leading entity.
  • The lack of challenge in the job will turn the tenure into a boring sentence for most employees. Without challenges to overcome, one cannot expect recognition and support from higher-ups, additional compensation, or promotion.

In our personal and professional lives, we only grow when we face challenges

How do You Keep your Employees Challenged and Engaged? 

According to the Deloitte study mentioned earlier, among the factors that can help retain talent, financial incentives and bonuses are the most important. Beyond that, however, employers need to offer opportunities and challenges that carry promotions and job advancement as rewards.

So, how do you empower and challenge your employees while expanding their capabilities?

As I have pointed out in my book “Intelligent Leadership,” gradually granting your reports more authority coupled with increased accountability is the right approach.

In practice, this means handing your people decision-making responsibility in areas where you make the decisions otherwise.

  • Employee empowerment is an excellent way of getting your talent to “buy into” the company’s purpose and attain psychological ownership of the organizational goals. Bear in mind that empowerment means more than sharing authority. It also means the sharing of responsibility. Responsibility and authority should always go hand-in-hand. It is utterly unfair to bestow responsibility upon an employee without authority. Authority without responsibility is even worse.
  • Assigning new jobs to your employees creates challenges, widens their skill set, and eliminates boredom. In some cases, this is the best way to motivate talent.
  • With high-potential employees, job enrichment — changing jobs to challenge and spur the development of new skills — can be the answer.

As your engagement efforts bear fruit and your employees learn new skills, remember to give them the support they need to ease the transition. This includes tolerating mistakes as they learn to apply their newly acquired abilities.

Give them relevant feedback and focus on skills development in addition to performance.

Communicate such feedback often, and make sure that you let your employees know how much your organization values their contributions.


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