If you are responsible for the employee engagement at the company, then you understand that it’s a challenge to get employees really invested, not just in themselves but in the success of the company as a whole. There are several employment engagement strategies to consider making part of your company’s vision.
1. Health and Wellness
Everyone is on their own health and wellness journey. A health nut telling everyone they must exercise is no better than a boss who won’t let an employee take time off to go to the doctor. The key is to find the middle ground by providing numerous opportunities for your employees to improve their health. Consider offering a company discounted membership to a nearby gym or yoga studio. Workers who want to take advantage are rewarded for doing with the cheaper membership, but those who have other exercise outlets are not penalized if they choose not to partake.
When catering company breakfasts or lunch, focus on healthy options rather than a box of donuts. A protein breakfast or heart-healthy lunch can really fuel the collective brain power of the people at work. If you want to keep the office kitchen stocked, forgo the sugary snacks and opt for fruits and nuts. Keeping all the employees’ overall health in mind when making food-related decisions goes a long way towards building employee loyalty.
On the flip side, when an employee is sick, encourage him or her to stay home and get better rather than guilt them into coming in no matter what. If your workers know that their wellness is as important to their boss as it is to their own families, they are more likely to give their all every chance they get.
2. Family Focus
Understanding that many of your employees have families that will always be their top priority will help you, as the boss, understand how to create a company culture that values home life. For example, when an employee asks for time off to go to their child’s school, the automatic answer should always be yes. Although it’s possible someone down the line might take advantage of this generosity, it will more than be made up for by those who know the benefits of working for a company that allows its employees to put family first.
If your company has a yearly retreat or picnic, make sure they are family friendly. Often workers feel compelled to attend these events but secretly resent the time away from their spouse and children. On the other hand, if the event becomes a fun (and free) day in which children are included, goodwill is created.
Often businesses like to promote volunteerism amongst their employees. Give your workers a say in what kind of volunteer opportunities they participate in. Some companies give employees a certain number of hours off a month or comp time to run a local girl scout troop, for example, or work in a food pantry. If this is not possible for your company, make sure to schedule a volunteer event that builds camaraderie and that families are able to participate in too. Employees should always have the choice to give their time and not feel that they are being compelled to give back in a way that is only important to someone else.
3. Career Building
Right from the start, working at your company should feel like a career-building move rather than a job to pass the days. Create an on-boarding program to really help new hires connect to company culture and get to know the lay of the land. They should be provided with information about the company’s mission and values and introduced to several avenues where they can ask questions and seek help for the inevitable issues that will arise.
A great policy to create engagement is to assign a mentor to each new hire. The assignments should not be random, and mentors must be genuinely willing to take on the role. In addition, mentors should be given a certain amount of comp time for their role in building up new employees. This way they know that their institutional knowledge of the company is valued. The new employee also understands that he is valued by the company even in the early days of his job. By assigning a mentor, you are telling him that he should not be afraid to ask questions and seek knowledge.
Providing people who work at your company opportunities for career development is a huge plus. There are many people who like their jobs but feel like they are going nowhere and that they will be in the same job years down the road. These are the kind of employees who won’t stick around forever. Allowing your people time off to attend conferences or to take classes that will help build their job skills also builds their loyalty. You may lose a few workers to other companies over the years, but by and large, most employees will stay where they are valued and there is opportunity for growth.
4. 360 Feedback
Receiving feedback is especially important for those who want to build a career. It’s also important for those who want to build a successful company. Feedback should work both ways. Employees should receive regular analysis of their growth and productivity. The scheduled evaluation with their supervisor should feel like a natural conversation that leaves the employee feeling good about what they have accomplished and excited about ways they can grow. Each area of growth should come with a specific opportunity to meet that challenge. For example, if your employee needs to improve her customer service skills, then make sure to give her the opportunity to attend a seminar that focuses on just that.
While giving feedback is a necessary part of being a boss, employees should also feel like their feedback of the company is welcomed and appreciated. Everyone from the dock workers to the vice president should be allowed and encouraged to suggest improvements across all aspects of the company.
Employee engagement is all about feeling a part of a whole and caring about that whole. Examine your company’s practices to make sure you are hiring more than just people to fill desks.
Lindsey Patterson is a freelance writer and entrepreneur based in the US who specialises in business technology, customer relationship management and lead management. She also writes about the latest social trends, specifically involving social media.