Employee Engagement

Times are still tough.  Unemployment is still high and many say it is still “an employer’s market”.  However, the times will change and when they do, will your employees remain loyal or jump ship when the opportunity arises?
During this recession, far too many companies have had to adjust their business strategies just to survive. Frozen salaries, layoffs, and doing more with less, has had a significant impact on employee attitudes and engagement. A recent Manpower survey showed that over 60 percent of workers plan to look for new jobs as soon as the economy provides opportunities. Companies must find ways to reconnect with their employees.

There will be a shortage of talented workers in the future. If business owners don’t ensure employee loyalty and commitment now, they may not be able to retain valued workers in the future. If you want to secure your position as employer of choice when the economy improves, it is important to help employees feel individually valued and recognized.

So what can you do to ensure your employees are loyal and content, when you have limited time and resources?
Recognition is the best way to engage employees, especially after a long, lean period when employees have often been overworked and under-rewarded. Recognition programs should be individualized as much as possible because what motivates one person may not work for another.
Some things to consider when building a recognition program include:
* Be strategice and make sure it reinforces your company values.
* Be inclusive.
* Make your approach personal.
* Conduct ongoing communications to inform and encourage use.
While you may not be able implement awards now, it’s a good time to create a recognition program which can be used in the near future.
Other ways to engage employees are by creating an open door policy and allowing them the opportunity to constructively offer their opinions and feedback or to air their concerns in a constructive way.
Try to encourage a team environment with morale boosters such as themed potluck lunches, team building events, friendly competitions like cubicle decorating or wellness incentives like fun runs, pedometer mileage contests or recipe contests.
Be sure to promote the employee assistance program so that employees know they have a confidential resource for emotional support and counseling to cope with increased pressures and demands at home and work. When employees feel cared for and valued by their employers, they will remain engaged for the long run.
“Valued Employees= Engaged Employees= Business Results

For more information, view the whitepaper produced by the Recognition Council at www.recognitioncouncil.org


Undercover Boss

I recently started watching the CBS reality series Undercover Boss.  If you haven’t seen this show, I would highly recommend it. The premise is that CEO’s of major corporations go “undercover”, acting as participants being filmed for training and informational videos. The CEO’s participate in the operations of the company, doing everything from shipping and receiving, to acting as call center agents or digging ditches.  The executives undergo this week of “undercover” work so they can learn more about how to improve their companies and the work environment. 

The CEO’s learn about the company from various employees’ perspectives.  Obviously, there is a Hollywood component as the chosen employees  that  coach or train the “new trainee”  all have personal stories that add a touching emotional component to the program.  At the end of the episode, the CEO does something to help those individuals such as paying off a loan, finding them childcare or making donations on their behalf.  However, the show does emphasize how little corporate executives really know about the front line work and the struggles of everyday employees within their own companies.

For example, one CEO had a father who died of alcoholism and when he was assigned to work with an  employee who shared that he was a recovering alcoholic, the CEO broke down in tears- grateful that the employee had chosen a better path than his father. He then implimented a program whereby the employee could speak to other facilities around the country about recovering from addiction. When company owners really understand what goes on in their businesses behind the scenes and on the front line, they can do great things to improve morale, productivity, loyalty and peoples’ lives.

So, we can learn a lot from Hollywood reality shows.  As business owner, we should ask ourselves the following:

If our best assets are our employees, are they happy? Are they getting their needs met? What more can we do to assist them with their personal issues, career advancement and job satisfaction?

Do we have a good employee assistance program that can provide feedback and assistance to both the employer and the employee?
Do we have a drug testing program that offers employees a last chance to get help before termination?

Do we give employees access to affordable health care, child care and drug and alcohol treatment?

Are  the operations of this company working? Are they effective, efficient and cost effective? If not, why and what can we do?

Fully Effective Employees