But satisfaction is only part of the story. What many have come to realize over the past several years is that employee engagement – a recipe of satisfaction combined with how committed and involved your employees are to and with your organization – is a much more meaningful measure for employers. Strong employee engagement ties more closely to two outcomes that are critical to the success of any organization: productivity and employee retention.
So how do you drive strong employee engagement within your organization? Simply put, it’s all about your company culture. Culture can make or break a company; it is a long-term strategy.
Today’s workers, increasingly those of the Millennial generation (ages 25-34), thrive in an environment where they can add value, feel respected, influence work outcomes, be held accountable and have an opportunity to grow their careers. They look for a company that commits to their overall wellness, recognizes a job well done, has a commitment to the community and knows how to have fun. An employee can, perhaps, be satisfied in an environment lacking in these areas, but they likely won’t be engaged.
So, what are some ways to develop your culture and nurture employee engagement?
Communicate – Take the time to define and explain the company’s vision and the role employees play in achieving this vision. Communicate with candor and encourage your employees to do the same. Let your employees know what it takes to get to the next level.
Celebrate and Have Fun – Work and fun don’t need to be mutually exclusive. Celebrate business accomplishments. Celebrate the CAVS. Celebrate your customers. Celebrate Cinco de Mayo. Celebrate Throw Back Thursday events. But celebrate!
Challenge and Recognize High Performers – Give your strong performers an opportunity to contribute in another area, while at the same time growing their careers. Recognize and reward them for a job well done.
Collaborate – Employees have ideas on important aspects of your business, like customer satisfaction, efficiencies, innovation and possible pitfalls. They will be more engaged if they are heard and involved in driving the business forward.
Gen X and Millennial workers comprise more than two-thirds of today’s workforce. Millennials by themselves will comprise 40 percent of the workforce by 2020. This generation values a collaborative work culture, fun and flexibility, and a company with a social conscience. Developing an engaged workforce will not only drive productivity and employee retention but will also better position your company for the workforce of tomorrow.
This Tip was contributed by Geo Money, Manager of Branding & Culture at OEC, an award winning technology leader and innovator of original equipment replacement parts solutions headquartered in Richfield.
This article originally appeared in the July 13, 2015, edition of Small Business Matters.