Hiring and maintaining employees who are thoroughly engaged in their work and demonstrate a true commitment to see your company’s mission accomplished is one of the best investments your company can make. Good employees will have a more direct and significant impact on your bottom line than almost any other single area you can spend money on.
Finding good employees is one thing, but keeping them happy and engaged is just as critical to make sure you can retain them for the long term. Here are five effective activities you can use right now to make sure you get the best results out of your most valuable resource.
1. Celebrate Successes
Everyone enjoys having their hard work recognized, and it’s one of the least expensive and most effective motivators out there. In fact, recognition often outperforms monetary rewards as a motivating factor for employees.
While a private pat on the back is always appropriate, recognition goes even further when others learn about it. Make a habit of recognizing successes “publicly,” by making announcements, handing out awards, and citing names and accomplishments in company publications and on the website. For employees who consistently outperform, reward them with a promotion and increased job responsibilities.
2. Encourage Open Communication
Unlike the old saying about children, employees don’t want to be “seen but not heard.”
To be fully engaged in their jobs, employees need to feel free to express their views on subjects that affect their work, and they need to feel that what they say is actually being heard. Open communications is one of the simplest steps you can take to keep employees actively engaged as a part of the company. This isn’t limited to traditional HR areas such as working conditions, benefits, or dress code. Long-term business strategy is always on the minds of employees who really want to make a difference, and their unique perspective of working on the front lines can provide them with valuable insights that senior managers might miss.
Create and promote multiple ways employees can learn about what’s going on in the company and opportunities for them to offer feedback or suggestions that will actually be heard and considered. For example, consider a company newsletter, a regularly updated intranet, or a monthly “Letter from the CEO,” which poses questions to the employees and gives them an opportunity to respond straight to the top. This kind of interaction boosts engagement and goes directly toward improving the bottom line.
3. Offer Real-time Progress Reports
Communicate the company’s goals clearly, then keep employees apprised of how they’re doing in helping to reach those goals.
An employee shouldn’t need to wait until their annual performance review to know how they are doing. The best company leaders offer continuous feedback so their employees always know where they are excelling and where there is an opportunity for improvement.
While C-level executives are often privy to reams of big data about the company, employees are always interested in how their individual efforts are affecting the organization’s progress. If you want your employees to be thoroughly engaged in the success of the company, consider them among the group that “needs to know” all the high-level information executives use to keep their fingers on the pulse of the business.
Transparency balanced with positive reinforcement creates an environment of trust and mutual accountability.
4. Choose a Cause and Do Some Good
Many companies have found a strategic corporate philanthropy program or employee volunteering initiative to be one of the most effective employee engagement activities available, as it combines team building, skill development, and leadership along with the positive feelings that come from doing good.
To accomplish the most good on both fronts, have employees participate in choosing some causes that are important to them, then provide them with as many opportunities as possible to give monetarily and through volunteering. Keep everyone apprised of how the charitable efforts are succeeding just as if they were another corporate business initiative, and be sure to celebrate success.
5. Have Fun Together
Don’t fall into the trap of pushing your employees toward higher and higher levels of productivity and efficiency without taking into account the need for rest, relaxation, and balance. Make it a point to set aside times for employees to have fun.
Even the most engaged and effective employees will burn out if pushed too hard, so it is essential to make having fun a part of the overall culture they’re supporting.
Use holidays, corporate milestones, or even just random events as opportunities for employees to let their hair down for a while and just enjoy each other’s company in way that isn’t focused on business. As friendships develop in new and unexpected ways, the end result is a company where everyone truly enjoys going to work and being among their coworkers.
Employee engagement isn't just about attitudes in the workplace: it can have a serious impact on your bottom line.
Download The Essential Guide to Employee Engagement to learn why employee engagement is so important and get tips on how you can keep your employees engaged!