In 2015, Resolve to Invest in Employee Engagement

If you’re looking for a New Year resolution to integrate into your organization, department or team that will benefit culture, performance and revenue, you may consider resolving to become an intentional investor in employee engagement.  Not only will it transform your team, it will begin to cultivate a culture of sustainable growth.

People don’t want to work for money alone, they want to work to become better, to receive recognition, and to be a part of something bigger than themselves.  Who wouldn’t want to work for an organization that they can brag about because of what they’re able to contribute and how they’re treated?

As organizations grow they too often allow a layer of bureaucracy to seep into their culture that inhibits their strongest resources; their people.  It often manifests itself in an ethos that believes organizations grow from the outside in – through profit, margin and customer satisfaction.  It is a misguided and flawed paradigm.  Profits, margins and customer satisfaction are a result of people, and growth begins on the inside when individuals are engaged.  An engaged workforce will produce profit, healthy margins, and exceptional customer service.

It’s critical that employees are engaged at work.  Nothing less than your organization’s ability to develop long-term growth is at stake. An engaged workforce is your competitive advantage.

An engaged workforce is your competitive advantage.

If you can attract the right people to your organization and keep them by investing in employee engagement, sustainable and robust growth will be a natural product of your investment.

At SEI we know that margins, revenue, and our ability to exceed customer expectations is, and has been, critical to our success.  And we recognize that it begins when we invest in our employees.  That’s why our Vision begins from the inside out- with our “why”.

SEI’s Vision: To “work with our employees to help them achieve their personal, professional and financial goals.”

Our Four Core Objectives define what we expect to get from our people as a result of our Vision.

SEI’s Four Core Objectives: Revenue Growth, Margin Retention, Excellent Customer Service, Employee Engagement

Whether you’re the CEO of an organization or a department Manager, here are 6 ways you can invest in employee engagement for your team and see immediate results.  If you’re a Manager, this may well be the “silver bullet” that you have been missing that will ensure 2015 will be the year that your team shines.

1.  Invest in Professional Development
A recent Harvard Business School study found that most young professionals first choose a job based on intellectual challenge.

It’s critical to invest in ensuring that your employees are prepared to be the best tomorrow.
As companies grow, so to must the people who work there, and most people truly want to become better.  At SEI we build professional development into every department’s budget.  Not only do we offer training so that we know we have the best talent, we also allow employees to purchase books and other resources that will make them better.  Today’s jobs will look significantly different in 5 years as a result of changing technology and business practices. It’s critical to invest in ensuring that your employees are prepared to be the best tomorrow.

2.  Connect Employees
As technology increases, organizations lose the human touch.

It’s becoming increasingly common in the workplace for employees sitting in neighboring cubicles to ever really get to know each other.
It’s becoming increasingly common in the workplace for employees sitting in neighboring cubicles to ever really get to know each other. And the disconnect between departments and offices is only increasing.  We make sure that all of our leaders have an employee engagement budget that allows them to take individuals out to lunch and host department, office or regional social events.

We also use a social network called Yammer that bridges the geographic divide between our employees.  With Yammer, employees who may never communicate with each other now share kudos, give kudos, organize volunteer initiatives, and share photos of their teams and even their families.

3.  Offer Opportunities for Employees to Give Back
We know that volunteering is important for many of our employees and SEI believes in giving back to the communities we’re in.  The most common reason people do not volunteer is that they just don’t have the time between work and other responsibilities.  That’s why we offer paid time off for employees who want to volunteer.  It not only meets many of the needs of our employees, it also tells the communities who have welcomed SEI in that we appreciate it.

4.  Recognize Employees

Learn what motivates your employees and make sure that they receive recognition they have earned.
It is critical to recognize employes when they do a great job.  I’ve learned that a key is to discover in what way they’re comfortable receiving recognition.  Some individuals are motivated by public praise and may love to receive company-wide recognition on the company social network or Intranet.  Others are embarrassed by public praise (and it may demotivate them) and prefer a face to face thank you.  Others may prefer to be rewarded with lunch for their team or an afternoon off work.  Some may prefer a handwritten note sent to their home. Learn what motivates your employees and make sure that they receive recognition they have earned.

5.  Break the Bureaucracy and Open Lines of Communication

A culture that invites employee feedback is critical in order for employees to engage.  If a front line employee has an innovative idea, do they feel unencumbered to share it?  Break down bureaucratic walls that may prevent them from expressing ideas or to challenge the status quo.

6.  Develop a culture that allows innovators to fail forward.

One of the fatal flaws of bureaucracy is the creation of rules that limit talent, including those that discourage talent to experiment for fear of failure.

 

Great ideas are created by individuals- innovators- and organizations must not only attract innovators, they must keep them.