In an era when the internet has brought about parity in the national - and global - business community in a manner never before seen, turning over new competitive advantages can be as difficult as trying to reinvent the wheel. What are the best processes and tips to boost employee engagement, and put your business on top?
Brand leadership consultant Denise Lee Yohn maintains that the final frontier, beyond coming up with the next big thing, and beyond even serving your customers in a manner superior to that of your competitors - is employee experience. "Employee experience" is the pattern of day-to-day encounters that fuels employee engagement - that elusive engine of productivity.
Unfortunately, as you know if you've been following this series, the U.S. is in the midst of an employee burnout crisis. Yes, engaged employees are a rare breed - but they don't have to be. As I talked about in my last post, there are ways to turn the tide: If you bring the right people in, give them the right jobs, and provide them with the tools they need to execute those jobs well, there is a good chance they will become engaged and stay engaged. The other piece of the puzzle is employee experience - your company culture writ large. That's how you get from point A to point B.
Here are eight deliverables you should strive to fulfill in order to provide a positive employee experience for the people at your company:
A feeling of value
Your employees are critically important stakeholders in your business, so ensure that you're treating them as such. Take measures to communicate their value to them, both individually and in the aggregate, regularly. And, value need not only come from the top: The Forbes Human Resources Council advocates peer-to-peer recognition programs as a component of recognizing standout performances from within.
Provide employees with the opportunity to establish rewarding, meaningful relationships with their co-workers as well as with all levels of leadership. Your employees are just like any other team: Their teammates can inspire them, as can their "coaches." Find ways to facilitate these relationships and their deepening bond - whether through team-building activities, company-sponsored social events and clubs, or mentorship programs.
Flexibility in work
Flexibility must transition from being viewed as a perk to being viewed as an asset to not only the employee, but to the business as well. To the extent that it's feasible, offer your employees the opportunity to do their jobs when and where it best suits them. A recent panel of tech entrepreneurs highlighted the fact that this strategy has been proven to make employees more productive - and as goes Silicon Valley, so goes the rest of the nonmanufacturing workplace.
Respect from management"The role of management accounts for 70 percent of the variation in employee engagement," says HR Technologist. Proactive, communicative managers who look to understand and meet the needs of their employees and address their concerns are proven to drive productivity. Manager quality is consistently reported to be among the top drivers of workplace attrition, so act to ensure your most valuable resource doesn't drain out the door.
If you can foment a sense of security in your employees, you'll render toothless some of the most common and well-defined threats to employee engagement, including gossiping and territorialism. Plus, ensure that your employees feel free to communicate with you about what's going right - and more importantly, what's going wrong - without fearing repercussions. Active listening on behalf of senior management is the lifeblood of employee engagement.
CommunicationAs Chuck Shaeffer pointed out in Customer Think recently, systematizing and standardizing your employee communications is one of the fastest ways to see ROI with respect to your employee engagement. Schaeffer's study shows that frequent, but short, communications are the key to this effort.
You're certainly not surprised that compensation is a key to employee experience and engagement, but are you surprised to find it so low on the list? While these pointers are not necessarily listed in order of rank, the point is that much can be done to mitigate compensation that lags a bit behind if management is truly committed to investing in the employee experience. While money is important, if all the other factors are in place, employees are more likely to remain engaged than if they're being well-compensated but all else is awry.
Here's the time where your HR department can really shine - let them stretch their legs and come up with benefits packages tailored to your employees. Workplace wellness, maternity and paternity benefits, paid tuition, meal plans, even financial wellness seminars - they're just the tip of the iceberg these days. Again, consider that you are making an investment in the productivity of your company and think outside the box.
Eight points may seem like a long to-do list, but you don't have to attack on all fronts at once - choose one or two points to focus on at first and concentrate on fulfilling those as fully as possible. Plus, though the list is long, there's so much that can be done without spending significant amounts of money: The major investment here is in your time.
Finally, now that you've made the commitment to check the boxes on your employee engagement checklist, there are many tools that can help - including your payroll system. Download "Payroll - Your Employee Engagement Secret Weapon," our free white paper, and learn how you can make your payroll work for you in achieving many of these goals starting today.