“95 percent of my assets drive out the gate every evening. It’s my job to maintain a work environment that keeps those people coming back every morning.” Jim Goodnight – CEO, SAS
Have you ever thought of your employees as assets? Well that’s exactly the type of thinking that gets you in the top 10 of the 100 Best Companies to work for – 10+ years in a row! Assets are treated different to everyday ‘consumables’. The mind shift of seeing employees as assets, also changes the way we treat them. Assets are cared for, maintained and treasured. Where possible, assets are ‘upgraded’ to increase their value.
That might as well be my biggest Employee Engagement Hack ever! While in the process of understanding what makes employees happy, we have to keep in mind that we are internal customers / suppliers to each other. So yes, they’re assets AND they’re customers. This brings me to a very inspiring TED Talk by Simon Sinek, Start with Why. It’s not just about WHAT you do or HOW you do it. It’s about WHY. Employees who do not buy into your vision, will NEVER be engaged.
At this point you might be thinking: “Got it Tracy, treat them like valued assets and share the vision, we’ve got this covered.” Not so fast…. There’s a spanner in the worx, and it’s called Millennials. Take some time and watch the talk by Simon Sinek, before you put plans in place.
Happy (engaged) employees are ENTHUSIASTIC, EMPOWERED, INSPIRED and CONFIDENT. This is what you want to achieve.
Now that we know what the outcome should be, how do we go about making this happen?
Researching Employee Engagement will leave you more confused than ever. With so much information and advice at hand, it’s difficult to compile a short list that could be achievable. At the Academy we mentor clients on a daily basis on how to create better working environments using the various tools available. Below I’ll share my top 5 with you:
The employee needs to understand and buy into the company vision AND the employer needs to make a conscious effort in determining the employee’s vision, as well as helping them achieve it. If these visions are not aligned, it will be near impossible to retain a good worker. Alignment is also about mutual respect for me. I have always believed that everyone deserves the same respect, regardless of age, position etc.
KPI’s, Learning Paths, Communication, Stay Interviews, Regular Brainstorms, Document Goals & Measure
It’s become a buzzword, I know, but it involves so much more than you ever imagined. After all, life should be about helping people, growing them into reaching their potential. The definition of empower is to make someone stronger and more confident, but also to give authority. Now this is something I missed for many years. I helped so many people, but never quite let go. Which in return meant I didn’t trust people to make mistakes and learn on their own. The ability to do that is the trait of a true leader and without that your employees will not grow.
Train, Authorize, Recognition, Rewards, Motivation, Delegation, Knowledge Sharing, Community, Mentoring, Allow staff to give input into decisions
Rules are not just about governance. It’s also about creating safe environments where people know what to do and what is expected from them. Rules are about protecting employees and employers.
Procedures and Policies, Governance Documentation, Induction, Job Descriptions, Boundaries and Responsibilities
Never stop learning. Never stop investigating. There is always a better way. Make your employees part of this process and incentivize good suggestions. The oldest mistake in the book is “We’ve always done it this way.” Create a culture where employees are not merely content with the way things are, but are encouraged to innovate.
Continues Improvements, Kaizen, Blogs, Innovation Hubs, Competitions
Sharing is not only about using, experiencing and enjoying something with others, but also about giving and informing. Communication is one of the top reasons for failed relationships (business and personal) and this directly affects user adoption and people’s attitude towards change. And if you’re only communicating the good stuff, you’re failing as well. There’s no transparency in that, which means you won’t get buy in and people won’t work with you towards a communal goal.
Communication Strategy, Feedback Mechanisms, Face to Face, Get to know each other better, Blogs, Discussion Boards
You’ll notice that the above 5 tips are all about culture. It’s about the unspoken rules of working together. I didn’t mention money once – because money is the final reason people leave – very seldom the cause.