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Maximizing Potential: The Power of Creating a Culture of Engagement 

February 21, 2023
Parker Pell

In today’s competitive job market, it can be easy to get caught up in the race to find and hire the best new talent. Over the past several months, we’ve written about the challenges, opportunities, and strategies put forth to attract and hire Gen Z talent. But what about engaging and retaining them once you’ve brought them in the door? 

In the face of so much change over the last 3+ years, one thing remains constant: HR teams continue needing to focus on engaging and retaining talent. In fact, an article boldly states that companies are “actually costing your company money if you don’t have a concerted Gen Z engagement and retention plan.” 

This is by no means an isolated challenge: nearly 9 in 10 HR teams say they plan to put more effort into improving employee engagement in 2023 than in years past. These efforts include initiatives such as higher pay or compensation, greater salary transparency, and more clear career progression. Sound familiar?  To impact engagement and retention, it’s important to understand what early career talent cares about and to listen to their needs (and we mean really listen). 

Talent acquisition and talent retention are mutually inclusive - you can not have one without the other. Employee retention begins with candidate experience, which typically sits under TA teams. Today, we discuss the growing importance of employee engagement and retention and aligning your 2023 strategies to what matters most to the employees who currently work for your organization. 

Retaining employees is a more efficient way to hire

Simply put, hiring net-new employees takes time and effort. There’s the time and resources spent on recruiting, interviewing, and training, not to mention onboarding and orientation (processes that are show to have direct impact on overall productivity). And, even after all that, it can take months - if not years - for a new hire to fully thrive in their role. In contrast, retaining existing employees means that you have a team of people who know the ropes: your company culture, your office policies, role expectations, team hierarchy, etc. With an ambiguous economic future, employers are using the phrase “quiet hiring” to prioritize internal skill development, efficiency, and mobility. Metrics such as cost per hire, time to productivity, intern to FTE conversion, and other retention data points can be invaluable in evaluating the overall efficiency of your hiring, onboarding, and engagement processes.

TL; DR: retaining employees is crucial to their development and can be economically beneficial to your company. 

Employee retention is invaluable in creating company culture

McKinsey research finds that a whopping 70% of employees say that their sense of purpose is defined by their work. Whether we like it or not, employers play an important part in helping employees find their purpose and embrace it. And, time and time again, we hear that when employees (especially Gen Z!) feel valued and supported, they are increasingly more likely to stay. In turn, this helps create a positive and productive work environment that continually and consistently attracts top talent.

By contrast, high turnover rates can create a negative company culture that is unappealing to potential hires. Retention starts with first, being able to clearly articulate and define what your culture is: the values, beliefs, behaviors, and expectations that make up your environment. (see? We told you that retention and talent acquisition were dependent on one another!). 

Maintain institutional knowledge and expertise

When employees leave, they take with them valuable knowledge and skills that may be hard to replace. And, when we consider that Generation Z has the possibility of changing jobs 10x between the ages of 18 and 34 (an average tenure of just 18 months!), that’s a lot of information needing to be transferred! This unique challenge can lead to disruptions and make it more difficult for teams, departments, or companies to adapt to new challenges and opportunities. Although employee turnover is inevitable, it all boils down to creating a culture of transparency, authenticity, connection or community, and collaboration.

As we’ve discussed in our Gen Z Research Series, anchoring your company culture behind these tenets can be crucial in ensuring a smooth transition of knowledge and skills (or - better yet - keeping an employee!). Breaking down silos, combining resources, providing collaborative, human-centered training sessions, and ensuring your company has a deep pool of expertise and knowledge to draw from can help ensure both new and departing employees continue having a positive experience. 


In short, employee retention is key to saving time and money, building company culture, and ensuring companies have a deep pool of institutional knowledge and expertise. So, the next time you’re tempted to focus solely on finding and hiring new talent, remember the value of retention and the importance of keeping your best Gen Z employees around for the long haul. 

For more insights like these, or to get started with upping your Gen Z retention strategies, get in touch with our team at Abode

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