Employee engagement and retention are two of the hottest topics in HR right now.   It is currently estimated that 70% of employees are not engaged, and we have to stop and ask ourselves why.

Traditionally, employee engagement programs have been developed by HR departments to survey employees, and create strategic employee engagement programs to reduce attrition.  This a great first step; however a recent Gallup study shows that the top reason an employee leaves a company is due to their relationship with their manager.  This highlights the fact that employee engagement starts with the manager, and companies need to provide additional strategies to their managers to assist them in engaging their team.

One of the most overlooked opportunities to increase engagement is to create a development plan for employees during their performance review. We all know the traditional performance review process.  Employees will have a meeting with their manager to discuss the results of their previous year’s performance, and learn their new goals for the next review.  A lot of time will be spent with managers detailing expectations; however how much time does the manager spend listening to the employee and understanding their personal goals and desired career path?

Managers need to balance corporate goals with an employee’s personal development goals to ensure the company’s success.  Once the manager fully understands the employee’s career goals, they need to work together to create a development plan that will not only assist the company in reaching their growth goals, but also includes training and development for the employee to reach their personal goals.  By tracking development plan progress during the performance review process, there will be a scheduled time during every review cycle to ensure that managers are actively engaging their employees as engaged employees will be key to a company’s continued growth.

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