Today’s business leaders face many obstacles each and every day when trying to grow their business. These challenges usually fall into one of two buckets: external obstacles and internal obstacles. External factors can include things like economic and political conditions, competitor growth and societal changes. As you can image, these challenges are usually difficult to predict and hard to control.
Internal challenges, on the other hand, are easier for companies to plan for and overcome. Finances, equipment, company location, products and technology are a few examples. But there’s one internal factor that is more important than any other: people.
Employees are what set companies apart. Successful organizations have workforces that believe in the values and goals of the business. This is because these companies have placed an importance on employee engagement.
Many managers and business leaders struggle with keeping their employees engaged. This can negatively impact the success of an organization. Luckily, there are a few programs, activities and company-wide changes that can be implemented to help build employee engagement. Let’s take a look at four examples:
1) Employee Recognition Programs
Employees accomplish lots of amazing things – both inside and outside of the workplace. Managers and organizations should recognize their employees when their hard work is completed. Whether it’s finishing up a big work project, obtaining a degree, earning a professional certificate or celebrating a milestone work anniversary, your employees will feel more connected to their organization when they are recognized for their achievements. This also helps to build your company culture, which shouldn’t be overlooked.
2) Team Building Activities and Company Events
Company culture is extremely important when it comes to employee engagement (not to mention the impact it has on recruitment and retention). One way companies can help establish their culture and improve engagement is by having company events and activities. These can be small gatherings such as individual team lunches and outings, or larger events for the entire organization such as picnics and retreats.
One great example is community service outings. Volunteering at local organizations is an excellent way for companies to give back to their communities, and helps boost employee engagement and morale. Many employees have causes and organizations they support, so be sure to ask your team members for ideas and programs.
3) Open Communication in the Office
Employees should have a voice within an organization. However, they don’t always have a clear path to having their thoughts and concerns heard by leadership. To avoid this problem, business leaders should work with managers to establish and encourage open lines of communication. Employees should know that they can speak to their managers (or other managers if they feel more comfortable) to address workplace concerns or ideas. When organizations actively listen to their employees, it establishes a more engaged workforce.
4) Suggestion Boxes
This one goes hand-in-hand with having open lines of communication. Some employees may feel more comfortable making suggestions anonymously as opposed to face-to-face. To ensure that your entire workforce is heard, offer a suggestion box to your employees. It could be as simple as having a suggestion box in your break area, or implementing online software. Having this option available to employees will help make them feel more comfortable and encourage idea sharing. Be sure to actively check the suggestion box and respond to the thoughts and concerns of your workforce. This can be done at large company gatherings (such as town halls) or through other channels such as emails and company intranet articles.
Establish a Company Culture that Encourages Employee Engagement
Company culture and employee engagement build off of each other. Creating a work environment that encourages employees to be involved in the business will establish the culture of the organization. Not only does this build a company that employees are proud to work for, but it also enables an organization to grow and reach new heights. Ultimately, without your employees it's impossible to achieve your business goals.