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Is employee engagement your No. 1 challenge? 5 other things to keep in mind

coworkersIn most offices, talent management leaders have zoomed in on employee retention and productivity as crucial goals for both their short- and long-term needs. In an effort to put together a hardworking staff that’s built to last, companies have put a great deal of emphasis on engagement, and rightfully so. Engaged employees tend to stay in their positions longer and achieve more than their disengaged counterparts. But is engagement the only thing that matters?

As it turns out, there’s a great deal of survey data to suggest that while engagement is a top priority for employers, there are plenty of other areas to focus on as well. Here’s the scoop, according to the Society for Human Resource Management. SHRM data revealed that among today’s human capital management leaders, 39 percent identified engagement as a top priority. But at the same time, only 20 percent opined that engaging people will remain high on their to-do lists throughout the next decade. This was largely because they see the issue as fixable and others as more pressing in the years ahead.

Jen Schramm, SHRM’s manager of workforce trends, elaborated on this.

“There is optimism that at least some of the key human capital challenges will be more manageable in the future,” Schramm said.

While some issues, like engagement, can be addressed with the right technology and communication strategies, others will continue to be perplexing in the future. The following are five to keep in mind:

Developing new leaders
Engaging employees is one thing, but nurturing them to the point where they can be the next CEO? That’s another challenge altogether. Companies will have to pour a lot of energy into developing people into leadership material for the next generation.

Keeping wages competitive
The business world is bitterly competitive, and your company might have a handful of rivals all looking to poach your top employees (or beat you to the ones you haven’t hired yet). The obvious way to stay ahead in this “war for talent” is to keep your employees’ wages high, but this requires some creative financial maneuvering.

Retaining high performers
A key goal in human capital management is to use analytics to identify your highest-performing people. From there, your organization should do everything in its power to keep them. Top performers can drive the productivity of your organization as a whole, so they’re absolutely worth investing in.

Reducing employee turnover
It’s not just your top people that matter, though. Really, every employee who leaves is contributing to turnover, which means they add to the prohibitive costs of continually staffing and restaffing a business. Recruiting and hiring are not free, so try to keep your organization’s needs to a minimum.

Finding specialized skills
Depending on the specific industry you work in, your company may have a few very specific talent needs that are difficult to fill on the open market. For this reason, specialized staffing might be a key point of emphasis in the future. Like the others above, this goal isn’t necessarily more important than employee engagement, but just the same, it should be considered part of your organization’s balanced HR diet.

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