Breaking Down What Employee Engagement is and How You Can Make it Meaningful in Your Own Company
“People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.”
Ask yourself three questions:
(1) Do your employees feel engaged in their work?
(2) Does the leadership team at your company have a pulse on employee’s sense of purpose in their work?
(3) Is your HR department allocating time to enhance employee engagement?
Achieving a Yes to all three questions needs to be a top priority for your company because employee engagement is vital to growth, plays a major factor in retaining employees, and can accelerate your recruiting process to identify and convert your next best employee.
What is Employee Engagement?
Engage (verb): to occupy, attract, or involve someone’s interest or attention
Employee engagement is the fabric of your company’s culture. If you want your company to sustain year-over-year growth, increase your employee retention rate, decrease employee absenteeism, boost team morale, enhance the workplace environment, and elevate performance and productivity, then you must take care of your team and keep your employees engaged.
Now more than ever, culture is a driving factor in not only attracting top performers, but retaining them. Job seekers have choices when it comes to searching for a great new opportunity and a great new company. Websites like Glassdoor, have become a go-to resource when candidates are considering new opportunities. How do your employees view your company, culture, benefits and leadership team?
The Unsung Hero Department
Your workforce, your people, your team, let’s think of them as an amazing array of luxury fabrics. Imagine high-quality genuine silk, velvet, leather, & cashmere. Some of the top fabrics used in fashion sewing today and showcased on runways all around the globe. It’s important to know how to take care of them.
Do you take good care of your fabrics? Do you know how to care for each fabric? What needs dry-cleaning? Do you make time and take the effort if the fabric needs to be ironed? When to use cold water? Some fabrics are more durable and flexible than others.
With all the types of fabric blends, cleaning materials, temperature settings, and particular maintenance adjustments, caring for fabrics can be pretty confusing and intimidating. The same goes for leadership when it comes to engaging people. There are a number of fine details your HR Department (which I like to think of as the Unsung Hero Department) is constantly taking care of. Unfortunately there is no label for “special care instructions” on a resume or name tag or business cards.
As demonstrated in the 2016 Gallup Q12 Meta-Analysis Report, employee engagement continues to be an important predictor of company performance. Invest the time and resources in supporting your HR department to help them implement best employee engagement practices.
Align Personal Goals With Business Goals
The bottom-line…you, me, all of us need to do a better job at getting to know each person within our company. Every leader wants their team to perform at high levels, year-over-year, and I’m sure every Human Resource Professional wants to work with healthy, happy, and trustworthy employees.
If we can keep our people engaged, involve their interests, pay attention to what they are doing, how they are reacting to changes, check in with them, listen to their feedback, and learn from it, we will create a more robust working environment.
So What Can You Do To Engage Your Employees?
Here are some of the engagement activities that MassPay has done over the past twelve months to help promote communications, build a support work environment, failitate engagement with our team, and grow our business.
Celebrating Awards, Behavior, and Contributions to the Company
- Company-wide recognition on client testimonials
- Inspiring quote of the day
- Kudos board (customer praise and feedback)
- Team building excursions (professional sports events, bowling night, etc.)
- Inspiring reminders of our core values
Core values are something that you and your employees should agree on together and are more than a mission statement. They are what you bring with you to work every day. If you’re unsure of what your core values are, pick up a copy of the book Traction. It will help your company strengthen the core components of your business.
Benefits – Looking After Team Members
- Wellness Program
- Health and Fitness – on-going yoga instructor, weight loss consultant
- Financial Health: Financial counseling, retirement advisor, home-buying seminars
- Team gifts for each team member: LL Bean embroidered coats
- Weekly in-house lunches
- Tenure year gifts and trips (every 5-year milestone)
- 10-year sabbaticals
Your employees spend 80% of their time at work and must balance family, health, and work. Help them achieve true balance by creating a healthy and happy work environment.
By building out a tangible process to recognize reward, and promote employees, you will be investing in your team members and they will invest back into your company. This is a low-cost, high-impact approach to retain your top performers.
Learning and Development, Mentoring, and Training Opportunities
- Mentoring Programs (January 2018)
- Professional Development Workshops and Executive Leadership Retreats
- Vision board workshops during your 2nd or 3rd week of onboarding training
- Presentation on Leadership from US Navy SEAL Commander Mark McGinnis
- Interactive Presentation on Team Communication & Team Alignment from 3-time Super Bowl Champion, Dan Koppen.
- Investment in tools, training (internally & externally), equipment (multiple screens, stand up desks, team members earn the flexibility to work remotely)
Your employees want to continously grow and learn. Provide them with opportunities to grow with your company as well as grow personally and financially. Don’t let the “grass is always greener” mentality permeate your company culture. Help them be successful now and in the future.
On-Going Communication and Feedback
- Quarterly company-wide meetings to review goals and YTD benchmarks, strategy, reiterate “everyone plays a role in company success”, brainstorming sessions
- Meeting survey to solicit feedback, get suggestions, and determine internal NPS (Net Promoter Score)
You don’t know what is or is not working, if you don’t ask your team members for feedback. Make sure everyone understands that they play a role in the direction and growth of the company.
Community Involvement to Give Back
- Love Community (support over 24 different local non-profits in the past year)
- Run our own non-profit (501c3) www.fedupwithcancer.com (100% funds raised goes to The North Shore Medical Center for cancer research & patient programs)
- Holiday Toys/Household Items for Family Promise
- Delivery of more than 100 holidays meals to shut-ins, homeless families, and others
It’s important to provide opportunities for your employees to give back to community as well as encourage them to participate in a variety of different community outreach projects.
Continually Evolving to Stay in Tune With Employees
At MassPay we are constantly learning from our team members on how we can improve as an organization. Following our most recent company-wide quarterly meeting, we surveyed the team. Here is a sample question:
Reflecting back on the past ten months, what areas do you feel that our team needs improvement? (If you’re a new team member; how can we improve our onboarding?)
The answers we garnered from that question alone are very valuable, giving us the pulse of the team and pointing us towards the areas we need to place more focus and priority on.
The key to employee engagement is to quickly gather that information, decipher the overall themes, and distribute results and action items back to the team. This shows that you care and helps keep your team members engaged, fresh, and feeling crisp.
Next time you take a moment to reflect on your own leadership style, check in with yourself. Are you practicing Level 5 Leadership? (Jim Collins, ‘Good to Great’). Next time you are sitting around the table with your Human Resource colleagues, ask yourself, and ask each other: Do our employees feel engaged in their work? What is the pulse of our employees? Do they feel they have a sense of purpose in their work? Are we allocating enough time and resources to enhance our employee engagement?
Commitment to true employee engagement will have your organization looking fabulous, and every one of your team members will feel fantastic. If you care for your people as much as you want others to care about your company, you better believe you’ll be taking your competition to the cleaners!
Nick Mirabello is the Chief Inspiration Officer at MassPay, Inc. He focuses on workplace culture and employee engagement, and discovers creative ways to increase employee loyalty and engagement by celebrating and motivating team members on an ongoing basis in support of MassPay’s core values. He takes pride in embracing the local community and contributes his time and energy to MassPay’s community projects and helping non-profit organizations, including Fed Up With Cancer, a non-profit set up by MassPay to raise funds for cancer research and patient services at the North Shore Medical Center.