If you have grown your business, hired well and everything is going swimmingly, there is nothing like a disillusioned employee moving on and leaving a hole in your team to throw everything off track. Some businesses are so large that each employee simply ends up being little more than a number on the payroll. However, if you have direct relationships and contact with everyone in the company, and value their contribution, then it is always worth going out of your way to ensure that they remain on board.
Engagement is often underrated, but it is among the best tactics to not only keep your valuable employees on board but also to make them as happy and productive as they can be. It encourages them to get involved with the betterment of the business, and while they have certain roles to fulfil and tasks to complete, anything they can contribute that drives the business forward should not be undervalued. We’ve pulled together a mix of easier and more drastic tips to all but guarantee that your employees remain engaged.
1. Always Ensure Your Team Has the Right Tools and Equipment
It is a lot easier to enjoy your job and to do it well when you have the right tools to hand. This goes from manufacturing to offices and everything else in between. You have a good idea of what an employee requires to perform and should make sure they can access it. If possible, stay open to their new ideas – if they can justify further investment in their equipment, then do your best to make it happen.
2. Implement Growth Strategies
Many employers spend too much time worrying that they will train up an employee and they will take their newfound skills elsewhere. This can be avoided contractually, although that is not always the best way to go. Instead, if the employee feels valued and can make progress, they will not only stick around but perform far better in their current and future roles.
3. Recognise Achievement and Success
People react differently to praise and admiration, but being singled out for good work will rarely impact a worker negatively. In an ideal world, it will also spur on other employees that crave the same recognition to do better. As well as praise, physical rewards can go a long way towards fostering a sense of achievement and attainment.
4. Keep Communication Channels Open
You want to discourage employees from simply sticking to their pay grade, especially in smaller teams. Make yourself, as their superior, available for chats – you never know where the next great idea might come from. Even if your employees are not necessarily forthcoming, you can encourage communication with surveys, meetings and even the good old suggestion box.
5. Make Each Employee Feel Part of the Company’s Success
Assuming each aspect of your company’s operations are legal and above board, you should be open about performance. Funnily enough, both good and bad news about the company can help spur employees on. They will feel more involved in what the company can achieve and, in the case of negativity, may even take it upon themselves to find a solution – which makes your job much easier.
6. Foster a Company Culture
There is no one size fits all approach to company culture, but it pays to have one in place. Some employees will love it; others not so much. The culture should be driven by goals and values and can be a great indicator of just how committed your employees are to the cause. If you find them becoming disengaged, take the earliest opportunity to put it right.
7. Engagement Starts on the First Day
Your new employees probably arrive at work on their first day repeating mantras about first impressions, but it works both ways. Make them feel welcome and part of the team from the moment they arrive, and waste no time in getting them accustomed to the values and goals that drive the overall culture. If there is admin to do and paperwork to be completed, don’t make it the first task your new employee needs to undertake. Instead, get them excited to do the admin tasks through an understanding of the bigger picture.
8. Don’t Wait for the Annual Review to Discuss Performance
If an employee exceeds expectations, they deserve credit. If they are subpar, it must be addressed quickly to get them back on track. Annual reviews simply do not come around often enough to make a difference at a micromanagement level, so don’t be afraid to speak up even if you feel like an employee just needs a pep talk.
9. Do Everything You Can to Eliminate Stress
A worried employee is rarely a productive one, so it pays to focus on a stress-free environment. Some stress is unavoidable, such as when a deadline approaches, but if you have allocated enough time for the deadline to be met and the employee still struggles, it may require a more direct approach. Even when the stress is not obvious, any opportunity you can take to make them feel happier and more involved will reflect in the quality of their output.
10. Work-Life Balance is Part of Your Job
The best way to make any employee feel happy at work is to do everything in your power not to make it feel like a job. Ideally, their role and their employment should be a valuable part of their day – if you can encourage them to want to be there, then the results can be incredible. Consider moving away from the typical 9 to 5 format and deprioritise timekeeping. No employee enjoys being chastised, but even fewer are happy with being criticised for being 5 minutes ‘late’ – especially in non-time-sensitive roles. Treat them like adults, and they’ll contribute to the company’s overall efforts accordingly.