Your employees can provide the strongest, most passionate endorsements of your business — if they’re engaged.
An astronomical 96 percent of employees who are engaged in their jobs try their hardest at work. If that many of your employees are giving it their all, day in and day out, your company will certainly go the distance. But tapping into that engagement is another story entirely. Here are the five most important strategies that will make your employees want to brag about your company:
1. Put employees first:
Put your employees first by providing flexible scheduling and letting them choose work assignments for select shifts. Make sure they know you have their backs.
According to acclaimed author and public speaker Shep Hyken, great companies will train their employees both technically and on how to deliver the best service possible. However, treating your employees with the dignity and respect that every human being craves is at the core of this process. In doing so, you will create a positive domino effect that trickles down to the customers your employees serve.
Employees will care more about how your customers are treated once you’ve demonstrated that you care about how your employees are treated.
2. Connect with your team:
All too often, there’s a divide between executives and hourly employees. Make yourself accessible, and connect with employees on the floor. Consider trading places with an outstanding hourly employee for a day to recognize good work while demonstrating that you’re willing to do all of the things you ask of your employees. Building camaraderie among your teammates will help them see your company as an establishment that values its people.
3. Recognize good work:
A recent survey shows that while 81 percent of respondents’ employers offer some form of recognition, just 46 percent report that their employers offer recognition on an individual basis. Only 51 percent of respondents feel valued by their employers.
Honest, sincere recognition is much more powerful than a tacky “Employee of the Month” award plaque or a canned company wide congratulatory email. Give your staff members immediate feedback when they meet and exceed your expectations. Instant gratification is powerful. It encourages employees to continue developing positive behaviors at work that lead to better customer service.
4. Give employees a voice:
No matter how well you treat your employees, giving them a platform to discuss issues in a constructive manner will make them feel like they have a say in how they do their jobs. Your platform may be a simple suggestion box or a monthly team meeting at which everyone is invited to speak openly.
Whether your employees want more supplies to do their jobs better or an extra break on busy days, providing solutions to small concerns voiced by your staff members demonstrates that you’re listening and sincerely want them to succeed. In turn, they’ll sing your company’s praises whenever they get the chance.
5. Create career paths and goals:
Employees who see a future with your company are more likely to be engaged with where they work. Provide challenging, rewarding work and advancement paths. If you can help your employees see their work as a career as opposed to simply a job, they’ll be proud to evangelize your company culture. Partner with HR to devise plans for how you can help your staff reach career goals and benchmarks.
Employee engagement isn’t the mystery it’s cracked up to be. Show you care by implementing these simple strategies, and you’ll have a hardworking team of employees by day and passionate brand advocates by day and night.
* Abridged from an article by Sam Bahreini @Entrepreneur.com