On the face of it, business is the same. Consumerism is still in vogue and organizations continue to focus on growth. What’s changed is the renewed focus of business. IT and new media have made it hard to ignore that growth is driven by the customer experience. Long story short, people are the product. This is also true within organizations.

Help your people grow. People are the core of your organization, and you need to give them the opportunity to grow, if you want to retain them. It’s not always about money. It’s about inspiring and motivating people to feel excited about their jobs. An involved team is resilient, and helps your organization become more adaptive and innovative. This excitement and camaraderie that people feel at work makes the daily routine so interesting, the good performers will want to continue to work with you.

Make employee engagement last if you want your business to prevail. When customer experience fuels growth, lasting success in any business depends on customer service. This means manufacturers, marketers, and retailers—whether working with tangible products or intangible concepts—are all focussed on delivering good service to their customers. To reiterate, people are the product. This puts employees in a unique position, as people, employees, and customers. Engaged employees strengthen teams and increase customer retention. Happy employees make for happier customers.

Lead with the heart. In 1990, Professor William Kahn’s findings pointed out that to be engaged, employees need to feel:

  1. That their work was meaningful and made a difference

  2. Valued, trusted, and respected

  3. Secure and self-confident

More than money, it’s about comfort levels at work. It’s about how we feel. In our work spaces, with people at work, and about our work. This is relative to each person, and when it comes to employee engagement, this carries more weight than the objectivity of performance metrics and money. The prospect of high salaries will put people into jobs, but it takes a sense of belonging to make them feel engaged.

You can successfully engage employees by designing jobs that provide them with autonomy, mastery, and purpose:

  1. Recognize the role your business plays in your employees’ lives

  2. Identify your employees’ basic needs and meet them with kindness and generosity

  3. Understand the role your business plays in your customers’ lives

  4. Appreciate the role your customers play in your business

  5. Acknowledge the role your employees play in your business, and

  6. Empower your employees to learn and grow to stay current and relevant

You can sustain high levels of employee engagement by letting your people know you care—about them, their work,and their lives:

  • Mindful job design. Add value and meaning to the work your employees do. When jobs are designed to allow people to think freely, people become more creative and efficient. Give them the resources they need to make the most of their ideas. Despite the extra spend, your organization will outperform even those obsessed with cutting costs on workforce development to shore up their profits. Remember, happy employees are committed to building on their skills to help customers and improve operations.

  • Democratic management is vital to any organization because managers need to be nurtured and supported too. People like to learn and grow to be better at their jobs and lives. They flourish under managers who facilitate viable training and feedback. Whereas micromanagers and outdated performance review systems do more harm than good, given the fear and stress they cause their teams.

  • Potential for growth is what employees are looking for. It’s impossible for every employee to become a manager or move up the ladder. However organizations that set store by training and development, and encourage talent mobility perform better than others.This is because people in these organizations work without fear, knowing they enjoy the support of their managers, and HR as well. A few companies even encourage their people to move across teams at every level, because it drives engagement and ongoing learning.

  • Place and time for some time-out. A little rest and recreation at work can go a long way in keeping employees refreshed and rejuvenated. This isn’t about team picnics or parties. It’s about benefits and amenities for all. Like well-designed spaces where employees can relax, have informal meetings, play games, read a book, or a quiet space for a quick nap. It’s also about good food that’s free, a host of essential services from banking to groceries and laundry, and even a flexible policy on employees’ time-off. The reason this works is because it’s humane and empathetic.

  • Be a leader who inspires people to follow. Start with your brand story and assess just how closely your employees align with your culture. The next step is to evaluate the trust quotient within your organization. It’s vital that employees feel that their managers and leadership trust them to do the right thing and believe they will always have the organizational mission clearly in their sights.

A good leader:

  1. leads by example so people know how to follow, and

  2. touches people’s hearts inspiring them to contribute.

In an average day employees spend more time at work than with their families, which is why employee engagement needs a holistic perspective. To create a culture conducive to employee engagement, always consider the people in your employees’ lives. Remember your business impacts their lives and vice versa.

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