In my book, If Not You, Who? Cracking the Code of Employee Disengagement, I put forth a four-step process to re-engage employees, which serves as the foundation for your culture: hire people whose personal values align with your company’s values, align individual goals to the CEO’s goals, create a two-way communication culture, and create a culture of rampant recognition.
Why are these things so important? Because they drive trust in senior leadership and an emotional connection between the employee and your company, which means increased productivity, creativity, retention, customer satisfaction, and profitable revenue growth – the reason public companies exist.
For those of you who have conquered those four areas, here are additional ideas to effectively engage employees and see positive returns on your investment in your greatest asset: your people.
1. Corporate Social Responsibility (aka CSR).Focusing on people, planet, and profits is increasingly becoming an important way organizations attract and retain new hires. Research conducted by Cone Millennial Cause found that 80% of 13-25 year olds want to work for a company that cares about how it impacts and contributes to society. More than half said they would refuse to work for an irresponsible corporation.
2. Training & Development. One of the reasons Millennials are so interested in performing well, receiving feedback, and earning recognition for their work is that they are interested in career advancement. Millennials will disengage quickly if they feel stuck in a dead-end job. This generation loves to feel connected and they aim for positions where they feel that their skills will be put to use so they can best help the company.
3. Wellness. Although 85% of large employers offer a wellness program, only 60% of U.S. employees are aware that their company offers one and only 24% of employees are participating. Gallup’s research shows a clear link between employee engagement and well-being. Employees whose managers have high overall well-being are 15% more likely to have high overall well-being.
If you are wondering why I don’t list things like give away free beer, get an office dog or buy a Ping-Pong table, it’s because these things make people happy, not engaged. My friends, happy is not the same thing as engaged. Engaged is when your employees trust leaders and feel an emotional connection to your company. Happy is a feeling people get when the office dog licks their face while they are drinking a beer. And I can assure you that if you have a dysfunctional workplace culture, Fido is not going to be enough to stop your people from quitting on you.
BE AWESOME! Leaders, execute a CSR strategy, provide career training opportunities, and create a wellness program or better advertise the one you have. Why? The quickest path to ensuring your company’s success is to re-engage your most valuable asset: your employees. Engaged employees give you blood, sweat and tears; disengaged employees give you scraps. Start today and you’ll create a better tomorrow.