Beyond systems and capital resources, the greatest resource in your company is the employees. It’s not just the wheel that moves your business forward that is important, but the employees, the workers that keep it rolling forward.
However, for employees to be engaged and motivated to work for you, they need to feel valued, that their contribution matters. They also need to understand the “why” in every activity and task so they can give it their best effort. Besides the “why,” they also need to understand “what” your businesses goals and objectives are.
How do they fit into your company’s overall strategy? Below are several employee engagement activities you can introduce to the workforce:
1. Engage Them in Your Business Planning Process
If you want your employees to stay engaged, involve them in your business planning process. Brief them regularly, at least every six months, if not quarterly, and let them in on what the most important issues in your business are. When planning ahead and seeking for ways to improve your business strategy, bring them on board as well.
Involve them in assessing the risks and opportunities your business faces and get them to air their views on how they think the business should move forward. This sense of transparency and invitation to participate in the strategic direction of your business will keep them adequately engaged.
2. Develop a System for Sharing Knowledge
High staff turnover will hurt your business. This is because every time a valued employee leaves, they leave with the knowledge that is hard to replace. So, you end up losing very critical information, unless you have a system for sharing knowledge that allows cross-pollination of ideas among employees.
Such a system also help to engage new employees and plug them into the “way things are done around here.” To make your knowledge sharing system even more effective, consider establishing a mentorship program where you pair new employees with experienced ones so there can be knowledge transfer.
3. Show Them the Financial Statements
No one wants to work for a company that is constantly in the red. Letting your employees in on the financial health of the business builds their trust and confidence in you and the business. Regularly give them a summary presentation of the current financial health of your company and profitability projections.
Let them understand how their individual efforts combine to boost the financial prospects of the business. When they understand that the success of the company depends on their individual and team efforts, they will feel more engaged.
4. Provide Initiatives for Continuous Learning
Among the top reasons employees quit their jobs is a lack of learning opportunities. Encourage a learning culture that factors their preferences and training requirements. In doing so, involve them when scheduling the learning activities so they can work around their schedules, e.g. after working hours. The training should be rewarding and engaging.
5. Play Up Upcoming Opportunities
Besides informing employees about upcoming opportunities, create a buzz around them. Get everyone excited about these opportunities. Communicate them face-to-face, through the in-house newsletter, or call a general meeting to update everyone. The employees will feel engaged and hopeful about the future prospects of your business.
6. Let Them Drive Their Onboarding Process
Come up with an employee-driven onboarding process. Information your employees get from their personal experiences is likely to stick. People are highly absorbent of information they acquire on their own. However, you need to set ground rules and instructions, a timeframe, and objectives for the onboarding experience.
Set basic milestones that must be met within a specified duration. There are many activities such as a scavenger hunt you can carry out to make onboarding fun. You can creatively turn ‘useless’ or ‘boring’ information into a trivia session about the company to help old employees bond with new hires.
7. Create an Internal Newsletter
Consider having a magazine focused on employees, which features fun opportunities, news, columns, and featured cover stories such as the ‘Employee of the Month.’ This can be an inexpensive online or offline newsletter, or both. You could have the printed version come out every quarter while the online one can be monthly.
8. Develop a Managers’ Coaching Program
Managers usually drive employees’ engagement and morale in most organizations. However, don’t expect them to engage and motivate others if they are themselves disengaged and demotivated. To help them, come up with a managers’ coaching program that shows them how to align individual and team efforts with the company’s vision, values and strategic direction.
9. Let Employees Design Their Career Paths
Rather than dictate what employees should do, encourage them to be masters of their own destiny. Help them design and follow personal career paths instead of depending on their managers or your company. Let them take the initiative and set their own career goals. In this process, limit your role to helping employees align their aspirations and goals with those of organization.
Employee engagement is not a one-off event. It is an organizational effort requiring a strategic vision geared towards improving your business’s productivity and increase staff retention rate.