Tips for keeping employees engaged
They keep your business running. They keep you motivated. They help you achieve success and they are constantly being looked at by your competition. Your employees are your most valuable asset, and if they aren’t engaged in their work with the company, they may be looking for the next job opportunity elsewhere.
Competition has leveled the playing field, and investing your time and resources into building a focused work force that is enthusiastic about working for your company is an investment in making sure your business survives and thrives.
If your business is filled with disengaged employees, who do their 8 to 5 but are “checked out” mentally from their work, you’re losing money. In a recent Gallup employee survey, it’s estimated that employee disengagement costs businesses $328 billion every year; with national trends estimating that an employee’s lost productivity could cost 34 percent per $10,000 of their salary.
The implication of employees becoming disengaged in their work has far-reaching effects that should cause concern for business leaders. Engaged employees are more productive, more profitable, and more likely to stay longer with your company.
So what can business leaders do to make sure they aren’t losing ground, and potentially profit, by having a company full of employees who have “checked out?”
• Encourage learning: Employees are looking to grow their knowledge and understanding of their industry or field, and an employer who fosters an environment of learning means employees are likely to stay.
According to the Corporate Executive Board, a research and business consultation company, employees who are engaged are 87 percent less likely to leave their companies than disengaged employees. With a job market that is beginning to rebound, it’s likely that your top employees will receive interest from other businesses.
When your organization offers opportunities for employees to participate in industry-related associations, attend conferences to add to their skill sets, or encourages further education with incentives, you’re building a company for the future. Mentor and future leadership programs are also a great way to create loyalty among workers.
• Live your values: Companies that lack a set of clearly defined values that are lived and breathed by the entire organization are missing out on a facet of business that can attract, and keep, the most talented and dedicated employees. This type of organizational culture must start at the top and be present in every level of leadership down the chain of command for it to make a significant impact.
The next generation of workers is looking for employers who are not only passionate about their business, but who also clearly live the values they have defined as important to them. Recruiting and keeping the youngest and brightest minds in your field will take more than just an attractive salary and benefits package. It will mean holding your co-workers and yourself accountable for living up to the values laid out by the leaders of the company.
• Recognize and reward: Studies have consistently shown that turnover is hurting small businesses, costing as much as 60 percent of an employee’s annual salary, according to the Society for Human Resource Management. And when employees aren’t feeling recognized for their work, they are prone to leave.
You can battle this common business cost by implementing a system that promotes frequent employee recognition with verbal and written communications, as well as rewards that will show your gratitude for a job well done. Businesses should also take advantage of performance reviews and provide regular feedback to employees as they make improvements on their past reviews.
Take a look at your current work force. Is your business filled with employees who will work hard to see the company succeed even in difficult economic or uncertain times? If you haven’t considered the cost of disengaged employees, don’t go another day without considering how you can make sure it doesn’t negatively impact your business.
• Terri Greeno owns Express Employment Professionals in Crystal Lake.