This article first appeared on the RPAMatters blog…you can catch this article as well as others written by the CorporateHRGirl at RPA.

As we approach the end of the first quarter of 2015, organizations continue to place an emphasis on the attraction and engagement of current employees. Yes, focus is still on finding the right candidates and ensuring that the employment brand matches public perception. However, driving creativity and innovation at the ground level begins with keeping your star performers on track and on target…and that means keeping them engaged.

Organizations agree that retention and engagement is a key factor in becoming an industry leader and capturing additional market share. But retention goes beyond just “keeping employees happy.”

Think attraction…you’re so attracted and interested in your job that you make the decision to go into work, each and every day.  Attraction should occur on a daily basis…because deciding to come into work every day is a daily decision.

How do we start?

Build Commitment

Creating relationships that last begins with finding common ground and establishing a connection with your team. Many of us are so busy that we forget to take time to really get to know those we work with…and in most cases, we consider our teammates a “work family” yet, we don’t know much about them on a personal level. Get to know your employees, your teammates. Learn what motivates them, what drives them…and then find a way to demonstrate your organizational commitment to helping them succeed. Engagement levels fluctuate, so committing to a daily attraction goal will help you stay in tune with your employees. A 2014 Human Capital Trends study by Deloitte suggested that leaders be aware of how employees respond to “small indications of whether the company is committed to the employee’s growth, whether it really believes in serving a higher purpose, what kinds of behavior are rewarded, how much can be learned from working there, and more” will help leaders to better position the retention and engagement challenge “by finding ways to continually monitor, encourage, and respond to people’s enthusiasm.” So, get to know those you work with…

Align Performance Goals to the Business

It may sound simple enough, but without that correlation, there’s sure to be a disconnect on what we’re all working towards. Imagine this…your team is in a kayak…trying to paddle the Potomac…except the direction is not clear and everyone just moves their oar at their own pace. The kayak goes nowhere. When employees are aware of the overall direction, how their performance goals relate to the success of the organization, teams can begin working together and making significant progress.

Alignment is a necessary piece of the puzzle and helps to keep employees attracted and engaged. It also enables quicker execution of company strategy. No more struggle…no more lag time to goal completion. Success Factors shares the following: “using goal alignment to communicate expectations, document progress, and identify employee strengths and weaknesses enables management to act and make strategic decisions rapidly. By ensuring that your employees understand what your organization is trying to achieve, and how his or her role – and performance – contributes to the organization’s core mission, you can focus their efforts on your company’s most important goals.”

 Provide Engaging Work

Just as performance goals require alignment, the work needs to align to the employee’s skill set and capabilities as best as possible. If we don’t enjoy the work, we’re not motivated to stick it out or give it our best…and this leads to disengagement.

Gallup research shows that only 13% of employees around the world are actively engaged at work, and more than twice that number are so disengaged, they’ll be that one “bad apple” that spoils the bunch. Yikes!! The point is, people spend a majority of their lives working, so it needs to be engaging, worthwhile and important to the bigger picture. If you’ve got a team of mismatched employees, not only are you struggling to achieve success, the environment will be suffering with negative emotions that will inhibit creativity.

Create purpose. Create meaningful work. Create engagement. Find ways to match skill set to the appropriate role and then provide additional training and development to further enhance your employee’s long-range career goals.

Not sure where to start?

Talk about it. Discuss current strengths, likes and dislikes and future desires.

Start now….plan now. Remember, attraction just doesn’t happen…you can create it…and then build on it day by day.