Retention and loyalty aren’t just customer experience challenges – they’re key concerns about employees as well. Like with customers, it’s more expensive to attract new talent than it is to keep existing employees engaged. And it’s not enough just to get people to stay. You need employees who are motivated to bring their best game, whether they’re on the frontline or backoffice, because your brand is on the line.
How do you inspire greatness from your people? Often it’s less about compensation, and more about quality of life. But that often gets lost in the shuffle at work, especially in large organizations. To supercharge employee engagement, consider three powerful strategies:
1. Give employees a reason to care
Only 15% of employees worldwide feel engaged in their jobs.
Just like customers, employees need a reason to care about your brand. And, like with customers, how your company treats its people is reflective of the brand. So their reason to care won’t come from telling employees how great you are. It will come when they see what’s in it for them.
We’re not talking about pay, but personal payoff. That’s the key to building buy-in: making sure people get to feel how they want to feel – more confident, comfortable, valued. When the employee experience focuses on those human nature essentials on a conceptual level, people are more likely to deliver greatness on a practical level by bringing your brand values to life in their work every day.
It may be as simple as encouraging team huddles to share success stories, so everyone feels recognized and valued, even for the little things. Or motivate employees with hands-on workshops and tools that help them sharpen skills and grow their confidence.
2. Empower them toward ownership
68% of executives believe their employees would be more engaged and perform at higher levels if they were challenged with purpose projects.
Too often organizations are entrenched in processes and acronyms. Or the company is so focused on revenue that slashing budgets can stifle creativity and motivation. But your brand is only as good as your people, so it’s mission critical to nurture an inspired company culture. Employees often thrive when they feel a sense of purpose. When they see how they can make a difference – they own it.
That ownership translates to personal pride and accountability. When employees feel they serve an important role in the bigger picture, your customers will feel it too. A great way to drive that effort is giving employees opportunities to learn new strategies and take on new challenges. In fact, studies show employee engagement and retention rates are 30-50% higher in businesses with a strong learning culture.
3. Invest in their future success
91% of employees want relevant, personalized training, and 58% said they need to work elsewhere to gain digital skills.
Building employee loyalty relies on giving people the tools to succeed. That can take many forms, from relevant training to digital platforms that increase efficiency. Helping employees do their best work is a good investment; it’s empowering for both them and the business.
Rethink training. It doesn’t have to be infrequent, formal corporate sessions. Create regular skillset tune-ups with fun, gamified activities. And don’t be stingy with feedback that helps people grow. Encourage managers to connect often with their direct reports instead of waiting until performance reviews. (86% of executives agree their organization would benefit from more frequent check-ins with employees). Fluid, effective communications communications engender a culture of transparency, support, and appreciation – exactly the same things your customers want from your company.
Whether your business is a fast-growing startup or a well-established industry leader, your employees are the heartbeat of your organization. Passionate employee engagement may be key to your success, so take the time to personalize your company culture. Empowering your employees can be the best way to power your brand.
Good article. I would emphasize the point about ownership. Industry leaders, like Southwest Airlines, Capital One and BHP Billiton, and hundreds of private companies empower employees to think and act like owners, driving and participating in the profitable growth of the company. Their engagement and business results speak for themselves. These Forbes and Harvard Business Review articles provide more background: https://hbr.org/2018/01/more-than-a-paycheck
You’re absolutely right, Bill – and thank you for sharing! I think it’s critical for companies to keep innovating internal culture as well as external offerings. In my former life working in Microsoft, I found that having stock options was not enough to engender a sense of ownership, when the internal culture was often not appreciative or empowering. Helping leadership and teams increase empathy and emotional connection with each other (as well as for customers) is a key driver toward that ownership-culture that helps a company thrive.