I don’t know how it happened. I always told myself I wouldn’t be one of “those people.” Baseball, basketball, football, even hockey – I’ll watch and openly talk about any all day, any day. But, soccer? No way! It’s too boring, long, and who likes to watch a game where you are cheering for a tie? Then the World Cup came. Before I knew it, I was in local pubs hugging perfect strangers. In fact, in Kansas City, more than 13,000 people gathered in the Power & Light district to root for Team USA in one of the largest watch parties in the world. It’s quite a feeling to be surrounded by individuals united by a common passion. No matter your background, your personal beliefs, or past experiences, you are free to cheer with others as your goals become realized. You now have some common ground.
Some companies have found ways to incorporate this culture in their workplace. Depending on which survey you read, employee disengagement in our country has been as high as 75 percent. Three out of four U.S. workers hate their jobs, creating an environment where they are emotionally disconnected and less productive. Aside from saving the massive amounts of time and resources you have to invest in constantly rehiring the roles your employees are leaving from, employee engagement naturally creates an environment where your employees want to perform, increasing your bottom line. So how do these companies do it?
They understand their employees and what motivates them Everyone is different. It’s not enough just to “ask” for feedback and hope a couple employees are brave enough to volunteer. Survey companies like Workplace Dynamic, SurveyMonkey, and NRBI are a few examples of tools you can use to give your employees the freedom and confidence to openly voice their opinion. Exit interview surveys are good, but wouldn’t you rather have a chance to evaluate changes to keep your top performers, rather than hear why they were dissatisfied after they left?
They recognize achievements big and small Employee recognition is not only a key in retention, but it also builds a positive atmosphere to attract future employees. Celebrating employees shows that “what I do matters” and that management realizes when an employee does well, not just when they make mistakes. So when should you recognize employees and how? The book The Carrot Principle dissects a 10-year study of more than 200,000 managers and employees. They suggest that employee recognition should be an ongoing process and in line with your core values. The reward must mean something to the employee, so knowing whether they prefer public or private recognition, a gift card to their favorite restaurant, or being able to leave early one day is important. Again, you need to understand what makes your employees tick, but the takeaway should be that continuous recognition is imperative, no matter how large the task.
They communicate the WHY How many company meetings have you been a part of to announce a new initiative or procedural change? The top of the organizational chart is present and “rallying the troops” to get excited about this change. But for most of the employees it falls short of making an impact. Proper alignment needs the “why” answered and preferably addressed in the beginning. If employees understand how their efforts will impact the company and themselves, they will take more personal accountability to follow suit. Be more transparent. As the Dali Lama once said, “A lack of transparency results in distrust and a deep sense of insecurity.”
They offer a career path For some employees stability and a competitive wage is all they require to stay engaged. However, studies show that most of the younger workforce (Gen Y and later) thrive best in an environment that fosters learning and a belief there is room for career advancement. This doesn’t necessarily mean they need constant promotions. It could be anything from professional development, continued education, or mentorship programs. It always helps to be able to show what advancement opportunities an employee can aspire to. In roles that don’t have that opportunity, simply communicating a plan that will help the employee be more successful and grow in their current role may be all you need. In fact, making more time in personalizing your annual reviews can be very advantageous. Not only can you give your feedback and ask for their opinion, but you can also set clear expectations and goals that once achieved can take their career to the next level.
I never thought I could be so excited about watching grown men run back and forth on grass for an hour and a half. But the synergy, optimism, and camaraderie is contagious. World Cup fever is here. For the first time ever, the United States has moved on to the final 16 in back-to-back years. It’s us against the world! Do your employees feel the same way about your company?
Brad Lewis Brad joined Celebrity Staff in 2005 and currently serves as sales manager for Celebrity’s Kansas City branch office. Prior to joining Celebrity, Brad was a business consultant in the communications industry for five years working specifically in the Kansas and Missouri districts. As sales manager, Brad concentrates on ensuring excellence in the overall operations of the Kansas City branch for both clients and employees. Outside the office, Brad enjoys spending quality time with his wife, Danielle and their two sons, Kobe and Eli.