At Performance Solutions by Milliken, we know that it is critical to retain and engage tenured talent. Engaged senior associates are inspired, enthusiastic, and motivated to be leading contributors of your business’ success.

Why is it so critical to have engaged senior associates? These associates have the influence to change the atmosphere of the workplace. Once engaged, they bring with them all the benefits of a thriving and inspirational work environment:

  • Clarified communication
  • Enhanced training resources
  • Consistent hiring quality
  • Improved productivity
  • Increased customer satisfaction
  • Higher profits

We’ve learned that the best way to maintain a high level of employee ownership is to use a system that focuses on three key factors: empowering your associates, coaching associates to be accountable, and celebrating their accomplishments. Creating and sustaining a culture of engagement that includes your entire workforce, from new hires to seasoned associates, is no longer optional in today’s business landscape.

Build Your System for Their Success

Create your operational system with the idea in mind that it will also be a framework for associate engagement.  By building your system to ensure that each associate is engaged, you will be able to identify the natural leaders in your organization. The right metrics reduce the possibility of favoritism or subjectivity. A successful operational system also includes consistent opportunities for associate recognition. Once your system is in place, regularly communicate the expectations for associate engagement and share the vision of what the company’s culture and values are. When a robust level of engagement has been achieved, it must still be maintained.

Give Them Leadership Roles

Your tenured associates have the experience to be at the helm and often will appreciate being asked for their input towards the right course of action. Allow them to share their skills and knowledge. Senior associates could be the thermostats of your workplace, ensuring a reliability generated by their years of experience. By giving them leadership roles and coaching them for success, you are showing the entire workforce that you are investing in them beyond merely generating a paycheck. Common key motivators for younger employees or middle-aged associates are not always the same motivators for senior associates. Senior associates are typically not as fearful of termination, they may not be as financially motivated, and are not as interested in a promotional title. They are more often motivated by new growth opportunities and development, being able to partner with others in valued projects or assignments, and being recognized for their long-term performance and strengths.


Recent research suggests that more than half of surveyed workers said they would likely leave their job if they “didn’t feel appreciated.” This number is significantly higher for senior associates. The good news is, there are countless ways to make employees feel appreciated. It can be as simple as publicly thanking your associates for their work in achieving a difficult goal or overcoming a significant obstacle. Recognition can also come from giving them responsibilities that grow their strengths. For example, if an operator is a strong communicator, ask that operator to share a relevant presentation in the next shift meeting. Recognition is a tried-and-true way to sustain associate engagement. By consistently recognizing senior associates for their achievements, you will strengthen their commitment to excellence, and the entire workforce will better understand what is valued by your organization.

Lead By Example

Sustaining improvements isn’t left only to the associates on the production floor. A culture of continuous improvement must be built on the foundation influenced from both the bottom up and the top down. The key to transforming your organization and senior associates into a team committed to long-term, successful engagement is for you, the leader, to be highly engaged as well. By modeling company’s core values, you set the example for what an engaged associate looks like. You can strengthen the links of cooperation, problem-solving, and innovation by being an engaged leader, rather than battling between hierarchies.

To learn more about how Performance Solutions by Milliken can help increase your associate engagement and drive operational excellence throughout your organization, contact us today.

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