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Motivate. Engage. Retain

– Contributed content –

High fives

(Rawpixel.com, Pexels)

18 July 2018. If you’re a fan of The Walking Dead, you’ll have heard Negan state more than once that “people are a resource”. Well, when it comes to the end of humanity, people are a valuable resource, sure. In the real world, though, people are far more than just a resource. Large business chains could argue that people are replaceable and expendable, but in a large corporation, the thousands of employees make that statement possible. Unfair, of course, but possible. In small and medium businesses, however, people are absolutely a resource and they are also far more than that. The people that work for your company should be recognized as far more than just a cog in the ever-evolving machine that your company has become.

Any company owner that is worth the product or service they have created will understand from day one that employees will only be loyal to a company that they are emotionally invested in. As an employer – and a fellow human being – it’s up to you to work alongside people, training them and molding them to work for your business and help them to fall in love with what you do as a company. This gets people invested in you as a person as much as it does the success of your company. When people are invested, they’ll do everything in their power to help your company to grow in the way that you have always dreamed that it could.

The profitability of your company and the happiness of your customers is at stake if you choose to ignore the needs of your employees. Thus, it’s important to realize that engaging your employees is vitally important for the long-term goals of your company. Passionate people are happy people. Happy people are motivated people. Motivated people can be engaged with perks and benefits and it’s these employees that you’ll be able to retain. It’s one thing to gain the top talent in your business, it’s a whole other game to keep them happy and wanting to work for you. You need to ensure that what you offer – both emotionally and in terms of financial perks – is good enough to keep people interested.

Staff that are disengaged, unmotivated and uninterested in the job that you are paying them to do are a problem. They can be replaced, but isn’t it better to work with your staff to change their thinking than to just go through a continuous cycle to replace people and rehire over and over? It’s a big strain on your budget to consistently interview, train and hire people into your business, especially if your only issue is motivation. You could bring in new people but if your company is treating them like a cog in the business, you’ll end up with a constant cycle of unmotivated employees. Therefore, it’s all your fault if people aren’t working to the best of their ability. People don’t leave bad jobs, they leave bad employers and it’s up to you to ensure that you are not one.

Your responsibility as an employer means that you need to work on motivating employees and engaging them if you should hope to retain them. There’s no need to be left wondering how you can engage your staff, though, because there are plenty of ways that you can employ tactics to keep people interested. Putting people at the top of your priority list for your company is going to keep your business profitable and running smoothly toward growth; which is precisely the goal of any smart business owner. So, with all of that in mind, here are some great ideas that can give you a helping hand toward enhancing the engagement of your staff.

Women at a table

(Rawpixels.com, Pexels)

Keeping your employees connected to your company is vital to your company’s success. When there are changes that you are making to the company as a whole, its products or its services, it makes far more sense to include your employees in on these exciting changes. This works the same way for financial changes. If you are up front with your staff about developments to the employee perks programs, perhaps you’re going to start offering more training with the help of EJ4, or you may have the chance to update the bonus structure with your department heads, you are going to have a staff force that trusts you and wants to learn from you. When you keep people informed, they feel more in tune and connected to your business, which can help them to perform better in their tasks.

Difficult projects need clear instruction no matter the level the employee is working at. Without giving clear instructions, you can’t be disappointed if a job isn’t done correctly. There’s no need to hand hold members of staff when it comes to their job, but you do need to be clear and concise about what you want. People are not mind readers and it’s important that you understand that. In the same token, if you intend to give your staff autonomy over projects, don’t ask them to do something and then correct everything and ask for a redo – it’s not showing trust in their abilities when this happens. Give them the right leadership and let them know why they are doing this particular task for you. Understanding is important and you end up with a bank of employees who will trust that you won’t leave them confused and wondering what to do next.

Consistency is key in your business, and it’s also important for your staff. Treat every member of staff the same way because if you don’t, you can bet that they will notice! If you are allowing extra perks for another member of staff and not the rest, you can breed resentment among the people who work for you and that’s the last thing that you want to maintain a motivated workforce.

Understand the example that you set is one that is being scrutinized. If you are asking staff to come to work in impeccable suits and sharp skirts, then you need to model the same behavior and not slouch around in jeans. If you want people in the office on time, then you need to also arrive on time. You can’t set strict standards for everyone else if you’re not prepared to model them yourself. Your employees will be looking for work elsewhere so quickly if you don’t show the same respect to them that you demand.

Asking for the input of others shows that you care about their opinions. Remembering that the people that you’ve hired and trained are working for you is fine but remembering that they all have their own skills and goals to achieve is vital. If you are embarking on a new project, then you need to know who you have on your team that you can bounce ideas off of. Reach out to your employees and directly ask their opinions on what you are doing. It shows that you care and that you take notice of their experience.

Reward your employees but do it in a way that makes sense. If you have a mother of two on your team, offering her flexible working between the office and home so she can split her time with her children and their appointments is far more valuable than an all-expenses paid vacation. Money is nice, but it isn’t everything and if you tailor your employee perks programs to the individual, you will be more appreciated and respected by your staff.

Be open about the goals that your employees may have. There is every chance that you aren’t the last stop for most of your employees, and this has long been a taboo topic for those in the workplace. Yes, your staff want to be there right now in this moment, but this may not be their end game. Your company may well be a stepping stone for them to improve their skills before they move on. However, this isn’t a bad thing, and this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t uplift your employees where you can. Help them to learn what they would like to learn from you. It’s a privilege that they applied for your company in the first place. After all, this means that they think you are worth learning from and growing with. It means that they know that they will have something impressive on the resume by working for you.

Make your workplace the place that people want to work. If you create an environment of technology and professionalism, people will always want to work with you. People spend most of their week in the workplace, so if there is air conditioning and comfortable seating and the internet and other software is moving on correctly, they will be happy to spend time there.

People matter. They may be a resource, but they still have goals and aspirations that you have the power to help them achieve. Why not dive right in and do just that to motivate, engage and retain your staff?

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