It ain’t what you don’t know that will hurt you. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so. Good quote from Mark Twain. Does your business pay attention to ways to improve your staff retention and loyalty? Like making employees feel they are making a significant contribution? And giving them more ways to develop new skills and experience?
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More than 100 studies have now found that the most engaged employees — those who report they’re fully invested in their jobs and committed to their employers — are significantly more productive, drive higher customer satisfaction and outperform those who are less engaged.
A Towers Watson global workforce study found that only 20% of employees are truly engaged in their work — heart and soul. As a student of management for over 40 years, I’m depressed by the fact that so many people find work depressing. Wow, that really is a number that will impact a business in lots of ways, yes?
Engaged employees who are satisfied with their jobs and feel that they’re making a contribution to their organizations and helping customers are more likely to work hard for their company’s success. It is therefore imperative for organizations to make sure that they achieve and retain high levels of employee engagement.
Related: Minimalist Guide to be a Business Where People Want to Work
It’s a disconnect that serves no one well. So what’s the solution? Where is the win-win for employers and employees?
The answer is that great employers must shift the focus from trying to get more out of people, to investing more in them by addressing their needs. This includes getting them to bring the best of themselves to work every day.
We have all heard the importance of developing engaged employees at our workplace, but too often the articles are full of theoretical discussion instead of practical steps to making it happen.
Here are some simple steps to consider when looking for win-win in employee loyalty and engagement:
Staff retention … reevaluating loyalty
Employee loyalty should not be viewed as an either/or proposition, should it? Employees and their careers often are not fully in concert with loyalty to a company. And that is not a bad thing. The two aren’t mutually exclusive, especially when employee skill development is in alignment with what the business needs.
Remember that employee loyalty is never forever. So when you lose talent it doesn’t mean those employees were not loyal.
Employee engagement and loyalty … focus on relationships
Often employee loyalty is based on relationships with management and fellow employees. It’s the reason they choose to leave or chose to stay. So work to create a strong relationship with your people. One way to do this is to make your expectations clear and make sure employees have the resources and skills they need to fulfill these expectations and to grow the experience they desire.
Staff retention ideas … build jobs with variety and autonomy
Think back to your career experiences. Most of us have preferred to have a variety of job experiences that permit the maximum growth and development. Jobs that provide variety and the freedom to make decisions engender awesome loyalty. A commitment to job variety, freedom and change is not easy for a business. But it is truly a win-win for the employee and the business.
Employees values versus company mission
My career started with IBM and its lifetime employment pseudo-contract. It was a great way to instill employee loyalty. But things have changed considerably since those days, even for IBM. Even then, and certainly now, lifetime employment was not the only way to instill loyalty. Emphasizing a company’s purpose and mission also engenders loyalty. A human face on a business mission and then living that mission can go a long way to build employee support and loyalty.
Align career growth with company goals
When a business helps its employees develop expertise and skills that help them be more marketable both internally and externally, it represents a big win-win. But it is often very difficult for the immediate managers involved, especially with their most valuable employees. However when they understand and appreciate the bigger business benefits, it is often easier to convince these managers.
Management needs to help their employees identify links between their own career goals and those of the ones of the business. This is a big step in the loyalty building process.
Once business leaders recognize that employee engagement is directly related to an optimal customer experience and will have an impact on their bottom line, they are more willing to invest in it. But they should be careful not to spend all their allocated dollars on one-time initiatives but focus more on their individual employees, making each feel valued.
At the end of the day, how you treat people is what they’ll remember. Employee’ engagement is build each day.
Need some help in finding ways to improve employee engagement and loyalty? Such as creative ideas to help the differentiation with potential competitors? Or perhaps finding ways to work with other businesses?
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Mike Schoultz is the founder of Digital Spark Marketing, a digital marketing and customer service agency. With 40 years of business experience, he blogs on topics that relate to improving the performance of your business. Find them on G+, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
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