Employees are the fuel that runs your business. If you want your company to run well, you need to be able to recruit talented employees and keep them happy. And while this might seem like a significant investment of time and resources, it's nothing compared to the cost of caustic employees and constant turnover. And if that's not enough of a convincer, consider this: Companies with happy employees have happier customers.
Research found that engaged employees provide better experiences for clients and have 10 to 30% more client loyalty than those companies that don't have engaged employees. And having engaged employees and loyal clients could seriously upgrade your business engine from Fiat to Ferrari. But you have to be committed.
Employee engagement programs are no small undertaking. Like anything else, you will need to put the work in if you want to reap the results. Experts agree that for employee engagement to have maximum impact, it shouldn't just be a program run through your HR department. Instead, it needs to be integral to your core business strategy, with 100% buy-in from leadership. If you want to take your company to the next level, read on.
Employee wellbeing does not equal employee wellness
Frustrated, overworked employees will not give you their best and certainly don't pass on happy feelings to clients. When your staff feels valued, cared for, and supported, they will share those positive feelings with you, your customers, and anyone else who will listen.
To build better workplace culture, you'll need to implement policies and programs designed to help your employees achieve higher levels of work/life balance, satisfaction, and wellbeing. Yes, these programs can positively affect a company's bottom line, as they often result in happier, refreshed employees who miss fewer days at work. But that shouldn't be your only motivation. To be successful in your organization, you must have genuinely excited employees. This is where employee engagement can thrive.
Be careful not to confuse employee wellbeing with employee wellness. Wellness programs are great, but they often focus on health-related issues like increasing physical activity and promoting a smoke-free lifestyle. Wellbeing is a much more holistic approach that includes flexible schedules, relaxed dress codes, work-at-home options, personal career development, and professional mentoring.
Ask your employees what they need
How can you find out what your employees need? Ask them! There are many ways to do this: in one-on-one meetings, annual reviews, or tiny folded slips of paper in a super-secret suggestion box. If you're looking for a quick and easy way to gauge employee satisfaction and morale, try conducting a short survey. The following questions are examples of things you might incorporate into an employee survey:
- Are you excited to come to work each day?
- Do you tell people where you work?
- Do you have all the tools you need to perform your job optimally?
- Do you feel valued?
- Does your management team inspire you?
- If you could change one company policy, what would it be?
Talk about the results with your team
How often have you taken a survey, never to hear anything about it again? Sharing the results with your team promotes open communication and transparency. It will also let people know where they fit into the company culture. If only two people out of 1,000 said they want more rigid schedules and longer staff meetings, they'll see they are in the minority. On the other hand, if 75% of staff wants a flexible PTO bank instead of separate vacation and sick days, that's great information for everyone to know.
Use the information to make changes
The only thing worse than sending your feedback into an empty void is providing thoughtful feedback only to see everything stay the same as it was before. The whole point of conducting a survey is to let your employees know you are listening to them and that you care what they think. If nothing happens afterward, you're sending the exact opposite message.
Do you have to implement every suggestion you get? Of course not. But you should provide information on policies you plan to change or implement based on employee feedback. Being honest and realistic about what will change and how fast it can happen is essential. Not all ideas will be feasible but choose the ones that make sense and communicate your plans as quickly and clearly as possible.
Employees are your foundation
Your employees are a highly critical part of your business. If you see them as individual production units rather than sales and service dynamos, idea generators, and brand ambassadors, it's time to shake things up.
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