two women meeting in a booth happy workers

Top 8 Employee Engagement & Retention Strategies

Employee engagement is one of the most important and most prioritized aspects of a business. A recent Gallup poll found that 87% of employees are not engaged in their work, meaning they are not involved in, enthusiastic about or committed to their work or workplace. This lack of engagement costs U.S. companies $450 billion per year in productivity.

group of diverse women in mentoring program meeting

When you put in the work to create robust employee engagement strategies, you are enabling your employees’ commitment to their work and the company’s values, while helping your organization meet its goals.

What Is an Employee Engagement Strategy?

Employee engagement is essentially a workplace approach that aims to ensure excellent working conditions and a purposeful experience for every member of an organization. Working under the right conditions, employees are much more likely to give their best every single day. Engaged workers are more committed to the values and goals of their organization, motivated to contribute to a company’s success and have a better sense of their well-being. Building a strategy of programs and tactics that entice and enable engagement, help endear employees to an organization, increasing employee retention and productivity.

Why Should You Prioritize Employee Engagement Strategies?

As an employer, employee engagement means encouraging positive behaviors and actions that lead to improved business outcomes. You want your employees to feel proud of the work that they do while staying loyal to the company. Having dedicated, driven workers on your team leads to positive business outcomes like:

  • Increased Profits: In business, every decision comes back to the bottom line. A Gallup workplace study found organizations with highly engaged workforces outperform their competitors by 147% in earnings-per-share and enjoy 21% percent higher profitability. Understanding the impact of employee engagement on your business’s profitability is especially important during uncertain cultural or financial times. In fact, Gallup’s study found that employee engagement is an important predictor of company performance even during a recession.Jim Harter, Ph.D. and Gallup’s Chief Scientist of workplace management and well-being practices says, “When you ask people about their intentions during a recession, it’s pretty clear that disengaged workers are just waiting around to see what happens. Engaged workers, though, have bought into what the organization is about and are trying to make a difference. This is why they are the most productive workers.”
  • Improved Customer Experience: The mentality of your employees can directly impact how they interact with customers. A study conducted by Washington State University determined employee satisfaction and engagement is directly related to customer satisfaction.When your employees are engaged with their work, they do more for your customers. They strive to ensure a positive customer experience because they believe in the goals and mission of your organization. Northwestern University found that organizations whose employees are engaged with their work have customers who use the company’s products and services more often and with higher satisfaction than customers of companies with disengaged employees.
  • Increased Retention: Engaged employees feel appreciated, which is an important driver of employee retention. A PayScale study found employees who felt appreciated by their company were almost 11 times more likely to be engaged with their work. You can show your appreciation for your employees with strong programs for support and development.
    During times of social unrest and financial uncertainty, employee engagement can help improve retention because your employees will believe in the future success of your business and want to do everything they can to contribute to that success. And, when you put in the work to help prevent unnecessary turnover, you can save your organization significantly when it comes to the costs of hiring, onboarding and training.
  • Competitive Hiring: More workers than ever are actively looking for new work or watching job openings. In fact, 51% of workers are seeking new opportunities and, with growing financial uncertainty, that number could continue to increase. Building a reputation for having a culture of inclusion, development and overall support can help your organization set itself apart from others in your field.

Effective Employee Engagement & Retention Strategies

male employees in group mentoring session: employee engagement strategy

When you are concerned about the level of engagement among your workers, there are a few things you can do to help foster an environment in which employees feel more invested in their work and your organization. If you can cultivate an environment where you prioritize the growth and development of your employees, you can help build a culture of trust and communication. Here are just a couple examples of strategies for improving employee engagement:


Offering Competitive Salaries and Benefits

Providing competitive compensation is a basic move for both engagement and retention. While high pay may not be enough to keep an employee if they’re truly unhappy, you do need to make sure your salaries and benefits keep pace with the market and equity standards so you can attract the best talent and keep them.

Good employees won’t feel valued or stay engaged if they know they aren’t being compensated fairly—and they probably won’t stay around at all if they know they can go elsewhere for a better pay/benefits package. 

Providing Opportunities for Growth and Development

According to a Conference Board survey, 96% of employees say it’s important for them to develop their skills, and 58% say they are likely to leave their company if they lack these opportunities. Employees who are learning and growing are much more likely to be engaged and to have a reason to commit to the organization. Professional development can include further education, leadership or skills training, or mentoring

Career Pathing

Career pathing is an aspect of professional development that is key for retention. An employee’s career is no longer a ladder that only moves up, but instead encompasses a number of different path options; think more lattice than ladder. Communicating growth paths within a company helps employees see their future potential.

The career pathing process shows employees how they can move up or laterally in your organization and allows them to have some say in what they want to do in their career. It will also help them and their manager identify the skills and knowledge they’ll need to obtain to get there. Career pathing creates opportunities for employees and managers to collaborate, identifying milestones that will assist the employee in reaching that next level or promotion

Recognizing and Rewarding Good Performance

So much of employee engagement comes down to communication between you and your workers. Recognizing employees in front of others shows that you see people and their individual efforts within the organization. These programs can be in-person or digital, through the company’s Intranet, social media channels, at company all-hands or through email communications. This type of recognition can also inspire others to work harder and engage in new ways throughout the company.

Showing you notice and appreciate employees’ work builds a culture of trust and mutual respect that improves engagement. And when employees feel appreciated, they will be more likely to stay with your company for the long haul. 

Creating a Positive Work Culture

When a company has a positive work culture—such as an environment where employees are treated with respect, teamwork is valued, people feel free to be themselves and expectations are clear and reasonable—employees enjoy coming to work. This means minimizing bias, microaggressions and increasing collaboration between colleagues and across teams and functions. In a positive work culture, employees also need to feel they can bring challenges or culture weaknesses to senior leaders in a way that will be received and taken seriously. When they have positive interactions with co-workers and managers, feel appreciated and aren’t chronically overstressed, they are much more engaged in the workplace, and this increases retention as well.

Organizations can foster a positive culture by listening to employees, promoting diversity and inclusion, providing opportunities for connection and teamwork, making sure the reality of the culture matches up with its marketing, outlining clear goals, offering career-enhancing opportunities and more.

Promoting work-life balance

Employees who can’t achieve a doable work-life balance are in danger of burning out—the opposite of engagement. All work and no play (or time to take care of personal matters) is unsustainable and leads to high turnover as employees seek an environment where they can thrive. Organizations can promote balance with initiatives by making it clear that they recognize the importance of employees’ personal lives. Initiatives can include:

  • Flexible work arrangements
  • Wellness programs
  • Opportunities to confide in a mentor
  • Generous time off policies

Providing clear communication and feedback

Employees are more likely to stay engaged and committed to a workplace if they feel they are being heard, so transparent communication is crucial.

Showing employees that your organization is open to candid and constructive feedback is a great way to initiate a dialogue with your workforce. From performance reviews to weekly one-on-one’s, companies are always giving employees feedback. It’s important to make sure feedback is a two-way street. Setting up forums or regular surveys to solicit feedback is a great way to open that conversation.

But asking for feedback is just the first step. You also need to acknowledge the feedback you’ve received, and illustrate what you’ll be doing with that feedback. Be transparent about the feedback you’re acting on, why you might not be acting on other aspects of feedback. Asking for feedback allows your employees to feel they have a say in the direction and culture of the company.


There are many ways to improve employee engagement, from compensation increases to improved benefits. But, one of the most significant ways to improve employee engagement is to invest in education and development. Establishing a mentoring program is a cost-effective way to improve employee engagement. In fact, more than 71% of Fortune 500 companies offer a corporate mentoring program.

Mentoring can help improve employee engagement by solving challenges related to inclusion, development and support:

  • Inclusion: Promotes open communication, improves collaboration and increases interaction across all demographics within your organization.
  • Development: Invests in the success of employees. Businesses on the Fortune 100 “Best Companies” list provide almost double the number of training hours for full-time employees and saw 65% lower turnover than other businesses in the same sectors.
  • Support: Encourages camaraderie among employees, leading to support networks. Gallup found a concrete link between having friendships at work and employee engagement.

Here at Chronus, we look to the Employee Experience Circle to help determine the most effective mentoring program to offer.

No matter where an employee falls in this circle, there are many options when it comes to how to improve employee engagement. No matter what tactics you choose, be sure they include goal-setting and peer feedback on an ongoing basis.

Here are just some of the employee engagement strategies we recommend:

  • Career Mentoring: Helps prevent employee stagnation overall
  • Reverse Mentoring: Bridges generations and encourages knowledge sharing to prevent stagnation
  • Flash Mentoring: Allows employees to learn from experts in numerous subject areas
  • Mentoring Circles: Peer-to-peer mentoring enables employees to learn and develop together as a group

Additionally, you would be wise to consider virtual mentoring as an option, in the wake of the hybrid workplace. Virtual mentoring could be an ideal strategy for improving employee engagement even when you aren’t in the office together. It can help you connect your employees when they are most at risk of feeling isolated.

Mentoring for the employee experience


Qualities For Successful Employee Engagement Strategies

a happy team of workers, empowerment - employee engagement strategy

What else can you do to help your employee engagement strategies succeed? Here are a few things that can help you to reach your goals:


By having transparency within your company, you are essentially breaking down barriers between you and the employees. This helps create clarity and understanding between a company and its employee regarding decisions and overall direction of the organization. This helps to build trust by showing honesty. Employees will feel good about working for you, while doing their best work.


Allowing employees to make decisions and take autonomous actions in your company helps to sustain and grow your business while keeping morale up. Small things like letting an employee take the lead on a new project or allowing employees to give input on new culture initiatives, can curate new strategies and ideas, and give the employees the feeling of trust and importance in their role in the workplace.


Most employees don’t just want to provide a service or sell a product; they want to know that they are making a difference. Give them a purpose in their work. Show your employees how the company helps people and contributes to a bigger picture. This will help them understand the importance of the work and make them feel good while doing it.


Your employees need to know that you care about them and their opinions. Listen to them when they have feedback, praises, or complaints. They want to be seen, heard, and valued. Not only can this lead to new improvements for the company, but your employees will feel needed and more motivated to contribute to the success of your business.

What Engagement Means to Your Employees

For employees, having a good engagement experience means that they will wake up excited for work. They will bring new ideas and experiments with them. Your employees will have a clear understanding of their role in the organization, and understand how their role plays a part in making a difference. They will feel like an essential member of the team, which can build loyalty and ties to a company.

When your workers have a high level of trust and dedication to you, they are not only happier themselves, but they will be more productive in the work that they do.

Measuring Employee Retention

In order to know how your organization is performing on retention and engagement, you need to measure them.

Employee retention is quantified as the percentage of employees who remain at a company for a fixed time period. It’s normally measured annually. You can also measure retention for specific roles, employee demographics or specific teams. It can also be broken down into voluntary vs. involuntary exits.

While retention numbers are generally easily measured and fairly straightforward, the real intelligence is in the “why” retention is increasing or decreasing. To understand these drivers, you need to get personal feedback from employees. This is often accomplished via surveys that gauge levels of employee satisfaction and engagement. Analyzing the numbers and incorporating employee feedback can help your organization identify problems and take proactive steps to grow engagement and retention rates.

In Conclusion

As you can see, mentoring can directly impact and influence employee engagement within your organization. As we’ve seen recently, the workplace is constantly evolving and employees need your support to stay engaged with their work. By implementing these employee engagement strategies, your employees can feel confident in your organization’s dedication to their growth and development. Prioritizing your employees in this way boosts morale and leads to better employee engagement across the board.

To learn more, check out our eBook, “Mentoring: Humanizing the Employee Experience” today.

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