This article originally appeared in Smart Business - Akron / Canton Edition - October 2015
The Harvard Business Review found that the single greatest advantage in the modern economy is a happy and engaged workforce*. A decade of research proves that employee happiness raises nearly every business and educational outcome, yet according to Gallup, almost 7 out of 10 employees are unengaged at work, and nearly 2 out of 10 are actively disengaged. Simply put, the majority of executives are failing at THE item that provides the most significant advantage for their business.
Here are four lessons we have proven to increase employee engagement while becoming rated as a Top Workplace in NE Ohio four of the last five years:
1.) HAVE A VISION STATEMENT YOUR TEAM CAN BELIEVE IN
Your employees need to understand that the work they are doing matters, and not just in the financial sense. Why does your company exist, and how does each employee see themselves as a part of that vision?
Example of Do’s:
Toys R Us: “Our vision is to put joy in kids’ hearts and a smile on parent’s faces.”
Kraft Foods: “To make today delicious”
Examples of Don’ts: “We seek to be the leading provider of [anything] to [vertical market] in [geographic region] based on our high commitment to [quality/price/speed]”. Yeah, so does everyone else.
2.) CHANGE YOUR PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT PROCESS
Business is changing too fast to rely on traditional performance management programs. If your employees are only receiving a formal, written evaluations once a year, it’s time to update your process. We have formal reviews every 60 days and one-to-one meetings between every supervisor and their manager every two weeks.
3.) ALIGN YOUR REWARDS AND RECOGNITION TO THE COMPANY KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS
When you set your organization’s goals are you making sure you align them for all levels? Be transparent about what is important to the company, how you measure it and be relentless at rewarding and recognizing the employees that drive those metrics. Avoid the urge to simplify a metric to present to the masses because you are concerned about whether or not they can handle having too much information.
4.) CONSTANT COMMUNICATION FROM EXECUTIVES
Employees need to know where the company is going, and the more often they hear it the better. Make your executives accessible and create a habit of providing updates in both the good and bad times.
Improving employee engagement can drive the future success of your business. Prioritize at least an hour each week to work on a few of these ideas and watch it become a competitive advantage.