The race to acquire top talent across industries further intensifies as the business world becomes more complex and intricate, and unique companies continue to create innovative and ground-breaking products.
Acquiring top talent is just half the battle, however. Keeping employees engaged once they’re a part of your organization is arguably the tougher hill to climb, especially given that some studies suggest that up to 53% of employees are actively disengaged in their daily work.
Keeping Your Employees Engaged
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to keeping employees engaged. The right tactics, work management tools and techniques are determined by the company’s culture, which flows downhill to the work employees do from day to day. Crafting a custom solution to solve this emerging problem, however, is becoming a big priority for companies who are actively looking to control the burdensome costs that are tied to replacing departed employees. This includes training new people as quickly as possible to be as productive as the people they’re replacing.
Related: How to Plan for Employee Turnover
Make Mentorship Central to Your Company’s Mission
Carlos Castelán, managing director of Minneapolis-based business consulting firm The Navio Group, believes mentorship should be at the core of any employee engagement model.
“Particularly as companies move to more agile work models, where employees may work on several projects throughout a year and may have different leaders or managers, it’s important to think about how to ensure those employees feel valued as work becomes more fluid.”
“One way we’ve seen this happen is for top employees to have regular mentor sessions with an executive or one-to-one coaching to reinforce the notion that those employees are important to the company’s culture and future and continue to reinforce how those people fit into the company’s vision,” Castelán said. “In turn, this helps keep employees engaged and allows executives to understand any concerns that may arise so they can be proactively addressed.”
Build Empathy By Wearing Someone Else’s Shoes for a Day
Gregory Golinski, head of digital marketing for UK parking technology company YourParkingSpace, mentioned a unique method for the company’s employees to learn more about the daily work one another does.
“Once a year, we like to ask our team members to try working in another department for a day. Marketing people try to make a sale in the sales team; our sales guys try to answer our customer queries in the customer service team, and our customer service specialists try to create content for social media or set up an Adwords campaign in the marketing team, etc.”
Golinski noted, “It’s a great way to create a better office culture and engagement, because each team member gets to understand what other colleagues are doing in other departments. It creates empathy, and it helps us connect with each other and work together more efficiently.”
Develop a Culture That Fosters and Encourages Engagement
Aleassa Schambers, director of marketing for business consultancy The Root Inc., believes that helping employees understand their individual roles in company success keeps them engaged and in it for the long-haul.
“The key is not specific activities per se, but rather helping employees understand their role in delivering on the company purpose and strategy. The way to do this is to help every single person in the company:
- Feel like they want to be part of something big—in a nutshell that they’re as big as the effort is.
- Feel a sense of belonging—that their role has meaning and validation and that they fit.
- Believe they are going on a meaningful journey—that they’re on a purposeful adventure that creates excitement, inspiration and motivation.
- Understand how they’re contributions make a significant impact or difference.”
“When leaders lead the way on these efforts and managers are given the knowledge and skills to support these areas and help connect their teams and the individual contributes to these four areas, great cultures follow,” Schambers notes.
Provide Perks That Reflect and Reinforce the Company’s Mission
Jacqueline Ospina, HR and people operations manager of corporate lunch delivery company Sifted, believes company perks should reinforce mission.
“As a startup catering company, we are able to provide free chef-made meals to our employees every day. We also focus a lot of our energy on wellness, encouraging walking breaks, providing healthy snacks, and having a “zen room” for people to decompress when needed. Lastly, our people operations manager is an accomplished yoga instructor! So we are super lucky to be able to provide free yoga classes on Fridays.”
Ospina notes, “All of these tactics have been successful because they have cultivated a healthy and productive environment where people feel happy to come to work. This environment has really formed a company culture of collectivity and wellness.”
Emphasize Transparency and “Localized” Decision-Making
Internationally published author, speaker, and emotional intelligence expert, Harvey Deutschendorf emphasizes the importance of corporate transparency and localized decision-making to end any confusion.
“If people don’t know, or are kept in the dark about what is going on, they will make up their own version. Rest assured that it won’t be a positive one. Instead of avoiding, minimizing or trying to hide negative information, management should always tell it all and tell it like it is. Trust that staff will understand and appreciate being informed. Not disclosing information will only breed mistrust, suspicion, fear, and make the situation worse.”
Deutschendorf states, “It is more difficult to develop loyalty to a large, impersonal organization, than to a small, close-knit group, where everyone sees the impact of decisions they make on those around them. The more decision-making is left in the hands of those affected by the decision, the better. If cuts have to be made, let the units and people affected by the changes make the choices on what and how to cut, as much as possible. This structure keeps people more involved and feeling they have some control of the decisions that are affecting their lives. People that feel in control, therefore, are much more likely to be engaged in their daily work.”
Help Your Employees Really Think About The Jobs That They’re Doing
Owner of online event planning solution Planning Pod, Jeff Kear, notes how vital it is that employees really think about the jobs they’re doing, and how that contributes to the organization, rather than just going through the motions.
“We provide employees with brainstorming projects at least once a month. Many of our people have daily responsibilities and routines that can sometimes get a little stale, so we frequently give them creative tasks that are an extension of their current roles. For example, we recently gave our customer support reps the task of brainstorming on how we can better use social media to extend our support and marketing capabilities. They come to these brainstorming sessions with their lists, help their managers pair down these lists, and then assist in choosing and implementing the selected tactics.”
Daily Huddles to Ensure Everyone’s On the Same Page
Logan Stewart Kureczka, director of public relations & marketing for orthopedic specialists OrthoCarolina, leans on the importance of daily meetings to set the tone.
“In 2018, OrthoCarolina adopted daily meetings we refer to as huddles that serve as a platform to consistently disseminate information. Employees across all 42 locations start their day with the same 7-12 minute meeting that assures, no matter geography, that we’re all aligned and connected. The content changes daily and is provided to leaders on a web-based platform.”
Kureczka notes, “Born out of our commitment to enhance culture and improve communications, huddles were launched with a full-company training and ushered in a culture shift for our company that has been created and supported from top down. Rather than a recommendation or suggested best practice, huddles are seen as an integral part of our day. They were created with an employee-centric focus and continue to be enhanced over time in partnership with team members across the entire organization. Our mission and values weren’t created to sit on an untouched document, but rather be brought to life by our employees on a daily basis. Huddles have become a way for employees to collaborate, get to know one another and are designed to be the moment we take to reflect on the bigger picture.”
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