Canadian companies are trying very hard to attract and retain the best talent, offering benefits that go beyond financial incentives. Having a strong employee engagement plan can be an argument during recruiting, and it also makes it more likely that the best employees will stay in place. However, smaller companies are often struggling to formulate a coherent set of policies that keeps the employees happy, sometimes due to lack of experience and sometimes simply due to ignorance. Fortunately, there is a way to remedy this situation, as progressive-thinking employers have already tested a number of engagement techniques that yield good practical results.
Those simple tips can get you in the right mindset and set off a chain of events that will improve internal relations inside the company and boost productivity on the long-term:
Let employees have a voice
What better way to let the workers know they are appreciated than to open a direct avenue for their ideas to be reach the top management? Asking for employee opinion is a good business practice that can stimulate loyalty, especially from people who spent a long time in the company and believe they earned the right to have some say in essential matters. While employers are under no obligation to heed everyone’s advice, mere fact there is a dialogue instead of a top-down order represents a gesture of goodwill that is sure to be noticed. In larger business systems, it makes sense to think about publishing a periodical internal newsletter or company blog where the workers could speak their minds without any fear of repercussions.
Organize team building activities
Extracurricular activities provide a chance for personal bonding and mutual understanding between team members, while also serving as a much-needed distraction from daily challenges. An occasional group dinner or a night out in the bowling alley can do wonders for the team spirit, while cost of such activities is typically negligible. Some companies like to take it a step further and organize multiple-day retreats in out-of-town locations, but getting employees to sign up for prolonged absence from home could be tricky. Of course, there is a wide range of leisure time activities that are suitable for team building exercises, so managers can get a little creative and formulate an attractive program that will get the employees excited and eager to participate.
Transparent and merit-based promotion
When workers know exactly what is expected of them and trust that their efforts will be rewarded, they are more likely to contribute in unique and creative ways. Workplaces where promotion and compensation are discussed openly typically have much better office atmosphere than those that apply secretive and/or poorly defined procedures. In fact, managers coming all the way up from entry-level employees can be the embodiment of fair practices that motivate others to give their best. In addition to motivational impact, merit-based advancement is likely to improve decision-making and infuse some firsthand experience into the organizational knowledge base.
Ongoing mentorship program
One way to keep experienced employees from becoming complacent is to task them with training the next generation of experts. Ideally, this would be a continual process that quickly prepares new employees to assume meaningful roles while helping to forge deeper connections between individuals. It’s also a good way to avoid professional envy and make sure that internal competition doesn’t result in lingering bad blood. Mentors tend to be proud when their protégés succeed, while smart management will find ways to reward them when their efforts yield the desired result. A good mentorship program can dramatically decrease the turnover rate and bring tangible savings that can be redirected to fund some of the other measures recommended in this article.