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Chapter 15

Employee Engagement

To attract and retain the best workers, it’s important to keep them happy and engaged. Retention isn’t just a matter of high compensation; employees are looking for a great holistic workplace experience.

Contrary to some beliefs, pay is not the key driver of employee happiness—it’s the experience.

This industry has what is jokingly referred to as psychic pay. A lot of the workforce is overqualified as a result of doing this for the experience rather than solely for the money.

Mark Gasta, Chief People Officer, Vail Resorts

At some companies there is an increasing demand for lifestyle perks (e.g., gym, daycare, dry cleaning, employee cafeteria, pharmacy, etc.). But there is a limit to the value derived from the “Googleization” of workplace-provided services, say many employers. They believe that people need to enjoy time away from work and their employer, and there is a certain point at which it’s unreasonable to allow the workplace to too closely resemble the home.

For the most part, psychological benefits go a long way towards worker satisfaction. For example, employees want to feel part of a team and be assured that colleagues are doing their part. Being acknowledged for good work is key, and many employers say that simple recognition can go a long way toward increasing retention.

When working to improve employee engagement, it’s the little things that count.

The key drivers of happiness for employees are being respected, treated fairly, compensated fairly, and being given opportunities for growth.

Noel Ginsburg, CEO, Intertech Plastics

The bottom line is that employers think satisfaction and engagement will be among the hottest issues for talent going forward.

If we don’t think through how we increase the level of employee commitment and engagement, we won’t be able to attract the best talent to differentiate ourselves.

Jerry Hartbarger, Kaiser Permanente Colorado, VP of Human Resources

Today’s workers are tomorrow’s leaders, and grooming that talent for success is critical to the economic development of Colorado. Can today’s business leaders trust the next generation to run companies effectively in an ever-changing environment? What changes are needed to both education and training models to support this transition? Meanwhile, what changes must organizations make to their talent models to keep workers engaged and retained?

Colorado is well-poised to capitalize on its growing talent pool, but a continued focus on nurturing the pipeline is paramount to maintaining and elevating Colorado’s brand as a place for the best companies—to thrive.