One Leader’s Strategy for Successful Employee Engagement and Retention.

Does your company struggle with employee engagement? If so, you’re not alone. Only 13% of employees worldwide are engaged at work, according to a Gallup study at the start of the decade on the State of the Global Workplace. In the United States, that percentage bumps up to 20%, but that’s still more than half your employees who are not engaged.

As founder of Grategy and author of “Manufacturing Engagement,” Lisa Ryan works to help improve employee engagement, retention and recognition. She said employees who are engaged have 50% fewer accidents, 41% fewer quality defects and 30% fewer healthcare costs.

“Everything I do always starts with building the foundation of appreciation,” said Ryan who spoke at the American Seed Trade Association’s Policy and Leadership Development Conference in Denver, Colo.

She encouraged leaders to use the THANKS process:

  • Trust. Employees need to trust you. Stephen Covey, who authored “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” once said when the trust account is high, communication is easy, instant and effective.
  • Help. Invest in making your employees better tomorrow than they are today.
  • Appreciate. Too many times, leaders are looking at what’s broken and how they can fix it instead of catching employees in the act of doing things well and recognizing them on the spot in the way they want to be appreciated.
  • Nurture. We are “on” 24/7 … and spend more time with the people in the office than we do with our loved ones. How can we bring in that sense of community? How can we nurture that work-life integration and allow those relationships to happen?
  • Know. Understand that your employees want to be seen as individuals, not just another employee ID number.
  • Serve. What are you doing to make the world a better place? How are you contributing and how are you enabling employees to contribute?

Ryan said this might seem simple, but letting people know that you appreciate them can have a big payoff.

“We see the benefits in our personal lives, and when you as a leader or your employees can have less stress at home, better relationships with their family and kids, and they are looking at the world coming from a point of gratitude, they are bringing that better person into the workplace,” she said. “When leaders see the personal benefits of the practice of appreciation, it’s easier for them to take that into the workplace and see the benefits there as well.

“When you give ‘thanks’ to the people who work for you, that’s how you keep them from becoming someone else’s top talent.”

You can listen to my interview with Ryan here.