Many articles and research studies are now focusing on
employee loyalty and engagement
. More important than retention numbers, they tell us, this information can help organizational leaders to determine whether or not employees are truly engaged (i.e. as productive/involved as they can be) in what and how work gets done in your organization.
Loyal employees who are fully engaged in the business are more likely to be innovative--focused on process improvement and problem-solving, customer/client-focused, and results-oriented. Benefits to the organization are clear: higher productivity, profitability, better relationships with customers/clients and perhaps improved loyalty on this end as well, smoother, more efficient operations, and leaders at all levels.
Six ways to engage your employees and build loyalty
Share the vision/mission
Invite employees (from day one of their employment) to participate in the challenge of achieving the company mission/vision.
Do your employees know what the company is working toward and trying to achieve--the vision/mission? Can they verbalize it, or can they merely locate your vision statement, dusty and hung somewhere on a wall? How is the vision/mission communicated to new employees right now?
Communicate values/behavior expectations and then hire and measure against these
Build a culture where
work gets done is just as important as what gets done.
What gets communicated to prospective candidates about how work gets done at your company? Are behaviors, and if so, which behaviors do you formally measure in performance reviews?
Ensure role and dependencies are clear
Lack of role clarity can result in employees doing less, not more. Ensure your staff understand what is expected of them, who they're expected to involve/inform, and what standards they are expected to uphold.
Can any current challenges in the company be due to a lack of role clarity? Are employees clear on internal resources available to them? Are any "walls" (e.g. between functions) serving as obstacles to getting work done efficiently and quickly?
"People do what gets measured" so show your appreciation
Implement recognition programs and staff appreciation events (with input from staff to ensure the specific form of recognition/reward you are considering will be valued).
Do we have formal recognition programs? If so, do they recognize/reward the right behaviors? Do we host any staff appreciation events? If not, why not? Staff Picnics, company sponsored outings/events or discount special events communicate a clear message to staff--"you are valued."
Create a feedback culture
Provide opportunities/implement systems that will enable staff to share feedback: how things are going; how they are being managed; and, how employes feel about working for the company.
Does the organization encourage managers to informally recognize their staff? Are employee opinions regularly solicited before new processes/systems are implemented? Do leaders role model an open door policy (as appropriate)? What avenues can employees pursue if they have an issue? Are they aware these avenues exist?
Test the environment regularly
Incorporate the use of feedback gathered through anonymous means--employee surveys--to proactively identify challenges in the environment.
When was the last time we formally gathered information from our staff and measured the organizational climate? If it was recent, what action steps have we taken to resolve the challenges that may have surfaced? Were results shared and have staff been updated on action steps takent to address the issues?
Building employee loyalty by appreciating and including them in an organization's direction, and engaging staff in clear roles benefits both employees and the organizations for which they work.
Part III of this 3-part series of "The Golden Employee" will focus on identifying and developing key talent