Raise Employee Engagement and Maximize Retention
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Raising Employee Engagement To Maximize Employee Retention

Posted on November 7, 2023 by Andrew J. Nelson

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International executive team having board meeting discussing project results.
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In Increasing Tenant Satisfaction – and ROI – Through Superior Service Delivery”, I explained that “the key to keeping buildings leased is to make sure tenants are happy.” The reason is intuitive and now has been proven quantitatively: Satisfied tenants are more likely to renew their leases. They are also more likely to recommend the building to their colleagues and thus attract new tenants through word of mouth.

A similar principle is true for attracting and retaining employees. One might say that the key to staying fully staffed is ensuring that employees are engaged. Studies show that employees are more likely to stay with companies where they feel valued and are satisfied with their work environment. A Glassdoor study found that turnover rates are half as high in companies with high employee satisfaction ratings than in companies with low employee satisfaction ratings. In addition, these firms can more easily attract desired candidates. 

Further, workplace analyses conducted by Gallup demonstrate that “engaged employees produce better business outcomes than other employees do,” and this trend holds across different industries, company sizes, and nations across the globe. Paramount among these business outcomes, engaged workers tend to be more productive and generate greater sales — and have lower rates of absenteeism. That means they not only show up more but also produce more while at work. Engaged workers also have significantly lower turnover rates, reducing recruitment and training costs — and enabling firms to hold onto valued employees. It all adds up to greater profits.

In summary, firms with happier, more engaged workers find it easier to retain their workers while boosting their productivity.

The Connection Between Work Satisfaction and Productivity

Why might happier workers be more productive? Employees who are satisfied with their work and workplace typically work harder. They are more motivated to do their job well. They are also generally more engaged, which means they often are more creative and innovative, finding new approaches to attracting customers, completing projects, or reducing costs. Finally, their lower turnover rates translate into greater on-the-job experience.

What’s the key to increasing employee satisfaction? It’s never just one thing, of course. Still, worker happiness generally depends on the firm’s corporate culture: fostering a positive work environment, promoting a reasonable work-life balance, offering competitive salaries and benefits, and recognizing and rewarding good work.

Improving Building Quality Also Can Raise Productivity

There are other essential steps that firms can take as well. One increasingly critical factor — improving workplace quality — is the same way building owners can improve leasing and tenant retention.  For firms, this means selecting the best-quality space within their budget, demonstrating to employees the company cares about their health and safety. That includes improving the indoor air quality with premium air filtration systems generally found in the newest buildings. Access to abundant natural light and improving ergonomics are also important.

As tenants move to more sustainable buildings, many studies have demonstrated that workers in green buildings are more productive, which also correlates with greater employee retention. Additionally, studies have found that workers in green buildings are more creative and miss fewer work days than workers in conventional buildings.

After more than three years of experience with hybrid work arrangements, employees need even more incentives to commute into their workplace. Thus, firms must provide space to make them more productive than they are working at home. The specifics will differ among firms and industries, but increasingly, this means providing an appropriate balance between private, quiet work areas and more open spaces conducive to collaboration. Amenities in many firms no longer match the extravagant levels offered prior to the pandemic. However, workers still expect some measure of amenities to match what they have at home, such as a break room or cafeteria and a fitness area.

Employee Satisfaction Surveys To Promote Employee Engagement

Finally, firms can use employee engagement surveys to help increase satisfaction. These surveys, such as those offered by KingsleySurveys, can provide firms with invaluable, unbiased feedback from their staff. In this way, firms prioritize improvements that matter most to employees.  Plus, the very process of conducting surveys helps engage workers, demonstrating that their input is valued. This engagement can raise employee satisfaction rates by giving employees a voice and showing that their feedback is appreciated. Employees who believe their concerns are important are more likely to be satisfied with their jobs. In turn, this satisfaction can help firms retain workers.

To be clear, conducting surveys does not automatically translate into higher employee engagement. or retention. Rather, it provides the essential information that can help organizations understand where they can improve. Firms should be transparent about the survey results and take steps to address any concerns raised. Still, regular employee engagement surveys, combined with other constructive measures, can help create a more positive work environment that builds worker satisfaction and increases retention rates.

If your company is struggling with employee engagement or seeking to improve retention, ask how Grace Hill’s new comprehensive employee engagement program can help. 

Andrew J. Nelson is a real estate economist and author at Nelson Economics, focusing on property market dynamics and demographic analysis, as well as research methods and modeling. Andrew is the lead writer for the Urban Land Institute’s annual Emerging Trends in Real Estate publication and a contributing writer for Seeking Alpha and Propmodo Before founding Nelson Economics, he served as Chief U.S. Economist for Colliers International, where he led the national research team. He developed the firm’s economic and property market perspectives and served as the firm’s primary U.S. economic spokesperson in the media and at industry events. Prior to Colliers, Andrew worked at Deutsche Asset Management (RREEF) as Director, Research & Strategy in the Americas, where he managed the U.S. research team and was the retail sector and sustainability specialist.  Andrew has also held a variety of other leadership positions in both the public and private sectors, including Vice President of HOK Advance Strategies, where he served as national practice leader of the Portfolio Services service line; managed a construction-lending program for the World Bank in Russia; held a two-year “Community Builder” fellowship with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; and managed the regional real estate consulting practice at Deloitte & Touche in San Francisco. Andrew earned a Master of City and Regional Planning degree from the Harvard Kennedy School at Harvard University and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Harpur College. Learn more about Andrew Nelson’s background and experience on his LinkedIn page.

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