As a business owner, you understand the importance of hiring skilled, experienced and talented employees to help grow your business and reach your goals. You also understand how competitive compensation, including employee benefit plans, can help attract and retain top talent. Focusing on employee engagement, however, is also key because it is a great way to optimize team performance and keep employees happy for the long-haul.
Here are five specific strategies that may help engage your employees with the company culture.
1) Pull back the curtain
Authors sometimes write a "prequel" after they've published a novel so that people who enjoyed the story can discover what happened to the characters before the narrative began. This type of insight can expand engagement and help readers connect more deeply with the story. As an entrepreneur, what's your prequel? What happened before your business started growing? What was the catalyst for starting your business? Sharing your prequel with your employees can help them understand your journey and ignite the same spark in them that you feel for your business.
2) Get guru minded
A mentorship program can go a long way to helping you keep your employees engaged. This is because mentoring not only fosters personal relationships in the workplace, which can be a key driver to workplace happiness, but also provides a great opportunity for professional development of more junior colleagues. According to the 2016 Deloitte Millennial Survey, employees who have a mentor at work are more than twice as likely to stay with their company for at least five years.
One company known for their great culture is Zappos. To build employee engagement, Zappos uses two techniques that are closely related to mentoring:
Job shadowing, which is when an employee “shadows” another employee for a short period of time to learn about that employee’s job.
Apprenticeships, which allow internal employees and hiring managers to “try out” having the employee learn a new position to see if it would be a good fit for them to move into.
3) Empower employees to be great
Empowering employees to make decisions and take more ownership of their role not only helps them to develop their leadership skills but can bolster their sense of pride in their job. When employees have an opportunity to immerse themselves into their role, they are more likely to develop a stronger personal connection to their job. While it may not be realistic in some cases to let employees work with minimal supervision, it can be very beneficial, especially where discretionary tasks are concerned, to allow your employees autonomy to make their own decisions about how tasks are managed.
4) Honor the work-life continuum
For today’s employees, work can often be viewed as an extension of their personal life. In fact, the conversation recently has steered from “work-life balance” toward providing employees with “work-life integration.” While work-life balance means juggling one’s work and personal life as separate entities, work-life integration acknowledges that work and life exist on a continuum. Integrating one’s work with other aspects of their lives can help employees be more engaged.
Examples of work-life integration include allowing your employees to work remotely or keep flexible hours as needed to meet their responsibilities as a parent, avoid a long commute or be home to meet the cable installer. It can mean allowing them to participate in professional development activities, such as conferences or classes, that are aligned with their professional goals. In this way, employees may be more successful at fulfilling their other priorities without having to fully disengage from their job.
5) Prioritize wellness
Many employees respond positively to having access to programs that emphasize employee health and well-being. In addition to offering enterprise-level employee benefit plans, healthy perks for employees might include an employee assistance program, gym membership, team events like group hikes or sports, implementing a weight-loss program or access to help with smoking cessation and, of course, providing healthy snacks for the office. You can ask your team leaders to survey their employees about what types of health and wellness assistance best supports them in reaching their goals.
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