Studies show that very few workers are engaged in their work. As a result, 63.3% of companies say that retaining employees is harder than hiring them.
Business leaders know that employee engagement is critical to their company’s success. But how do you improve the situation? The first step is to realize that almost every worker is looking for more than just a paycheck. They want work that aligns with their values, career growth, appreciation for good work, and more.
How can you provide that? Here are six ways to keep your employees happy and engaged.
1. Appreciate Your Employees
There’s very little as demoralizing to your staff than not being appreciated by their bosses. Too many companies focus on correcting errors and not on rewarding the right behavior.
As a result, employees can quickly begin to feel that the only time they hear from a boss is if they are doing something wrong. All the hard work they do each day seems to be overlooked.
You don’t want to create a negative culture at your company. Create a plan for recognition and encourage the managers to do simple things like saying “Thanks” or noticing when employees meet even a small goal. Also, make it easy for employees to appreciate each other and celebrate team wins.
When you do, you’ll improve morale and even reduce turnover.
2. Provide Excellent Training and Development
Thirty-three percent of employees who change jobs cite boredom as their main motivation to move on. Many companies are designed for someone to move into a role, learn it well, and stay there forever. Unfortunately, that’s not what employees are looking for.
People yearn for new challenges and growth opportunities. That’s why it’s vital to provide high-quality training and development if you want happy and engaged employees.
Employee development should be championed from the highest levels of the company. If you don’t have a Chief Learning Officer, consider creating one. A CLO can be a great shepherd of employee development by creating structured learning and training programs and opportunities throughout your organization.
Employees want to know that their leaders care about their growth and career path. Encourage your managers to create learning goals with every employee alongside their normal performance metrics. Besides boosting engagement, this will help your company grow – 62% of CEOs believe they’ll need at least a quarter of their staff to develop skills in the next five years for the company to stay competitive.
Workers want to learn and grow. Harness that to keep your company at the front of your industry!
3. Provide a High-Quality Benefits Package
At one time, all full-time employees could count on excellent health coverage along with time off and other benefits. Unfortunately, that’s becoming harder and harder to find. If you want to stand out to both current employees and future hires, offer a high-quality benefits package.
You might consider using stock options as part of your employee compensation package, which helps people feel more strongly bonded to the company. This is an option to purchase stock in a publically-traded company and can be a great reward if your employees fully understand how they work, including exercise options and tax implications. If they don’t know much about stocks, provide educational sessions that will explain these benefits to them.
Also, be sure you offer comprehensive health insurance. You can go the extra mile by providing insurance that not only helps cover common vision problems, but provides allowances for corrective materials like contacts or glasses. Make sure your regular health insurance offerings come with reasonable deductibles.
If you aren’t able to offer affordable, high-quality benefits for employees, you can expect people to be less loyal and turnover will increase.
4. Keep Company Ethics Strong
One of the most important things you can do to boost engagement and improve employee retention is to keep your practices ethical. Studies have found that employees will not accept a job — even at higher pay — from an employer known to ignore sexual harassment complaints.
Most employees will report bad behavior to a manager, leader, or human resource department. What happens next is essential when it comes to the employee’s morale and likelihood to stay with the company.
If it’s handled promptly and fairly, the worker will understand that the company is doing its best and will move forward. However, if things are ignored or swept under the rug, the employee will be demoralized and less likely to stay with the firm.
Ethical breaches that mean the most to employees include sexual harassment, selling or using customer data without consent, paying females or minorities less money, and creating problems with the planet’s environment.
It’s possible to be both successful and ethical, and when your business strives for both, everyone will be happier and more engaged.
5. Encourage Employees to Step Out of Their Comfort Zones
Another great way to keep employees engaged is to present them with new challenges, even within their current roles. Encourage them to look at things in a new way and test different processes.
A lot of people are too afraid to do the things they really want to do. They don’t know how to create a plan to move forward and are slow to break out of their normal routine. However, if you can encourage them to try new roles, take on a challenging project, or voice their opinions more openly, you may find that they bloom into a more effective, more engaged employee.
When you encourage people to step out and take a responsible risk, they’ll discover new talents and abilities they didn’t know they had. It will help them continue to move forward within your company and in their lives overall.
Encourage people to stretch and grow at work is a great way to boost engagement.
6. Make Sure Communication is Strong at Every Level
Another essential part of keeping employees engaged is keeping communication transparent and consistent at every level.
While an employee doesn’t need to know every detail of every change, the more they know the more invested they will be in the new direction. Be sure that employees are aware of their bosses’ goals as well as their own. This helps foster cooperation and encourages people to contribute to others’ success.
Also, be sure communication channels for sharing concerns are clear and available. It’s very hard on the morale of the whole team if they see one employee getting away with unethical activities or slacking off on responsibilities. Not handling employee concerns or toxic team members can impact your whole company.
It’s vital that all managers and leaders be effective communicators. Working together for a common vision is what brings a team together, and it can make all the difference in employee engagement at your company.
How Engaged Are Your Employees?
Take an honest look at your company and ask yourself how you’re doing on employee engagement. If it’s not a pretty picture, don’t despair. Most companies are in the same boat.
The difference is what you’re willing to do moving forward. The six steps listed above can make a huge difference in engagement, employee retention, and the overall profitability of your company.
When you move forward in these ways, your employees, leaders, and shareholders will thank you. So don’t wait – improve engagement today!