In light of the grim job market, employee engagement has dropped across the board, but some employers aren't concerned about mass desertions because people have few options for finding employment. That type of logic is deeply flawed since companies are always on the lookout for sharp talent. Instead of assuming employees are tied to their current jobs, smart employers and managers will seek to enhance engagement and respect their workers' contributions [source: Boyle].
A crucial part of nurturing engagement is acknowledging and utilizing the unique skill sets that employees bring to the table. Thomas Britt, an organizational psychologist at Clemson University, suggests that if people aren't tapped for their talents, it squanders engagement and diminishes job commitment [source: Clemson University]. Promoting departmental collaboration and maintaining open lines of communication with employees will help managers recognize underused skills and give employees more opportunities to put them into action.
Respect also goes beyond the projects and tasks assigned. Employers should take it into account when designing benefits and reward systems. Someone caring for an aging parent might appreciate more flex options rather than sick days, and a young parent might enjoy a grocery store gift card as a reward more than a free dinner for two. In exchange, effective managers and executives will win mutual respect from their employees.