All employers want these things from their workers, and highly engaged employees don’t fail to deliver them. High-performing organizations, be it a small business or a multinational enterprise, take employee engagement strategies seriously because they know how valuable it is for a company’s growth and profitability.
But how can you effectively engage your employees? Let’s take a look at how small business owners can make employee engagement a little more engaging.
Give new kinds of rewards and recognition.
When people say employee engagement, rewards and recognition are the usual words that come to mind. But what was an effective reward years ago may not work now. Many employees today don’t work for the same reasons as the employees from 80 years ago.
If you want to provide rewards and give recognition to your small business employees, remember these three things.
- Recognize your employees personal and professional goals first. There are employees who wouldn’t care for a thousand-dollar gift card but would work hard for a chance to attend a professional conference on behalf of your business. Provide them them with opportunities to achieve things that align their personal to your business goals.
- Build a team and reward them as one. A strong team environment can boost positive communication and teamwork. Team rewards, instead of individual ones, can enhance the sense of belonging of your employees to the business.
- Be specific and be public in your praises. Telling an employee, “Great job.” is nice, but saying “You did really well on that [project/situation] yesterday. Keep it up.” is even better. And don’t just stop there, make it public and use social media or your office’s trusty whiteboard to congratulate your employees.
Employer brand and employee engagement must work hand in hand.
The kind of talent a business attracts is influenced by their employer brand. Businesses that recognize the value of presenting a great employer brand take advantage of this by building an employee environment around what drives engagement the most.
Organizing and/or sponsoring hackathons for IT-focused businesses, marathons for sport-related businesses, cook-offs for restaurants, and even speed assembly contests for computer hardware or automotive shops are but a few ideas you can consider.
Such event helps create a employee culture that consistently engages and enhances loyalty and attracts potential talent who are already passionate about what your business does.
Use a buddy system for on-boarding and assimilation.
It’s tough being the new kid. Having a “buddy” to help a newcomer assimilate has many benefits aside from making the workplace feel welcoming.
The faster the new hire works to full productivity, the better it is for your business. Conducting mentoring sessions as part of a buddy program reduces the learning curve and saves precious time.
This is actually easier to pull off for small businesses because there are lesser employees to oversee. Even owners can take up the challenge of mentoring. But you can also encourage more senior employees to actively teach newer ones. You can put a reward program in place to make it more engaging.
Emphasize the “WHY.” Involve all employees in planning organizational strategies.
Knowing the end goal keeps employees focused on their work. There are times when people feel that what they’re doing is just a drop in the bucket, that it doesn’t matter to the business even if they put in a little extra effort. This kind of employee sentiment can be contagious and affect morale and overall employee engagement. The solution is simple: Let them in on what’s happening.
- Listen to their input and feedback.
- Involve them through interactions with owners.
- Provide additional training and do regular performance appraisals.
Activities such as these help promote employee trust and a sense of ownership of the company’s goals.
Take advantage of social media for internal communication.
Employees today want their voices heard and their leaders visible. Social media is the perfect tool to make both possible and can play an important role for a business’s internal communication.
A social media-friendly working environment where employees are encouraged to use a platform to “talk and share information and collaborate” (as what a Melcrum survey on 2010 found was the most effective use of social media for global organizations) can increase employee engagement and independence.
It’s important to remember that employee engagement isn’t just a one-step process. In fact, it isn’t about the process at all. It’s about the people. Effective engagement is the product of a series of activities done for and with your employees. Focus on them.
How do you maintain employee engagement in your small business? Share in the comments below.
Glori Surban is a freelance blogger helping small businesses online get noticed through top-notch blogging and content planning services. She specializes in digital marketing, recruitment and HR, and personal development blogging.