Did you know that 70% of U.S. employees are disengaged at work? This means 7 out of 10 of your employees are counting the minutes till they go home or are on Facebook or YouTube wasting time. This population of your workforce may be dubbed ‘The Working Dead’, as an employer you should be alarmed as well as strategically planning how to increase employee engagement. The cost of replacing an employee is staggering, it can cost up to 18 months’ salary to lose and replace a manager, and up to six months’ salary to lose and replace an hourly employee. So let’s go over some tips to increase employee engagement, which yields happier employees and better-served customers!
So where do you start with employee engagement? Well, how about at the beginning. I am referring to the candidate experience. An employee’s experience during the hiring process can have telling signs of what the culture and employee engagement level will be like. For example, do you articulate your company culture to the candidate during the interview process? Do they take a site visit? Sit with an existing employee who is in the role they are applying for? Do they meet with different levels of leadership throughout the process? A well-structured interview process sets the stage for employee expectations for a well-constructed communication plan during the employee onboarding phase. Having a system that is well defined for managers to carry out interviews in a consistent manner across the organization highlighting the organization’s mission, vision, and values will provide a consistent experience for all employees as they join your team. This level of interaction and positive onboarding yields results, as new employees are 69% more likely to stay after three years if they’ve experienced a well-structured onboarding program. Remember, first impressions matter.
A sure fire way to engage your existing employees is to simply ASK, yes sometimes you just need to open the door to better communication. You can use an engagement survey to gain valuable insights that will help you make improvements. Many employees are afraid to speak out if they are unengaged at work. An engagement survey helps you find out your employee’s true feelings, so you can develop and implement a plan designed to solve any issues. When employees are given an environment in which they can thrive, they will be more likely to commit to a company and work hard to reach their full potential.
Communication either top down or bottom up throughout the organization is essential for employees to feel engaged and heard. Having regular check-ins with your direct reports as well as ad-hoc check-ins with those in other departments can go a long way to team building as well as collaboration initiatives. This open communication should be between employees and their managers, but also between high-level executives and the rest of the company. While It’s important that employees feel comfortable speaking openly and honestly with managers, it’s also crucial that your team has a viable platform to provide suggestions to high-level executives. Communication that comes from management to employees helps when organizations want to adopt new initiatives, but also demonstrates that an executive team supports and values their team.
My favorite way to engage employees is through recognition. Recognition practices should not be limited to formal company-wide initiatives. Great companies educate their managers on how to provide one on one informal and formal feedback mechanisms to engage staff and drive business results. Informal recognition can happen on a daily basis, how do you celebrate your wins? Positive email feedback; drops ins from the president to thank you for your hard work, small gifts, etc. Formal programs would include annual awards ceremonies, the employee of the month parking, and performance reviews. When done properly formal recognition can be a defining factor for an organization to showcase those individuals who are the embodiment of the organization’s values.
Overall employee engagement is just one piece of the puzzle when trying to run a thriving, profitable organization that people want to show up to every morning and give it they’re all. Your people is what really makes your business unique so take the time to invest in them.
Article originally appeared on Business 2 Community