Employees are the fuel that runs your business. If you want your company to be successful, it’s not enough to simply be able to recruit top talent. You’ve got to keep them happy as well.
Sure, this might seem like a big ask. And yes, it may involve a significant investment of time, energy, and resources. But it’s nothing compared to the cost of caustic employees and constant turnover.
Besides, research shows that companies with happy employees have happier customers.
Research by Aberdeen Group found that companies with a formal employee engagement program enjoyed 233% greater customer loyalty and earned 26% greater increases in year-over-year annual company revenue than companies who did not have such programs in place.
But employee engagement programs are no small undertaking. Like anything else, you will need to put in the work if you want to reap the results. Experts agree that for employee engagement to have maximum impact, it shouldn’t just be a program run through your HR department. Instead, it needs to be an integral part of your core business strategy, with 100% buy-in from leadership.
If you’re not interested in making any changes in your company, stop right here. But if you want to start taking your company to the next level, read on.
Why happy employees matter
If your workforce is frustrated and overworked, they aren’t going to give you their best. And they certainly aren’t going to pass any warm and fuzzy feelings on to your clients. On the flip side, when your staff feels valued, cared for, and supported, they will share that positive energy with you, your customers, and anyone else who will listen.
Company culture isn’t just a catchy buzzword. The environment you create within your organization can have a positive effect on employee engagement and your bottom line.
When employee health, well-being and satisfaction levels go up, you end up with happier, more energized employees who miss fewer days of work. But that shouldn’t be your only motivation. Your true goal should be to have employees who are sincerely excited to be part of your organization and what you stand for.
This is where employee engagement can thrive.
What makes them happy?
How can you find out what your employees want and need? Ask them!
There are many ways to solicit employee feedback. Depending on the kind of feedback you’re looking for, there are a few things to consider:
· You may not get the most honest responses in person, as many people aren’t comfortable being completely open with company leaders and supervisors. The good news is that once you’ve created a culture of open communication, this information will flow more easily and naturally.
· If you’re going with an email survey, make sure it’s anonymous so that the more timid among you feel free to speak up. That said, some employees will want to let you know who they are, provide ideas for internal change, ask questions and want further discussion. Make sure there’s a way for those things to happen also.
The following questions are examples of things you might incorporate into an employee survey:
§ What do you like best about working here?
§ What frustrates you the most?
§ Do you have all the tools you need to perform your job optimally?
§ Do you feel valued and appreciated?
§ Would you encourage a friend or family member to work here?
§ If you could change one company policy, what would it be?
To get maximum response rates, you’ll want to keep your survey short and concise. Start with two to five questions and call it good. Long surveys can feel overwhelming to busy employees. This will also help keep you from trying to tackle too many issues at once.
Making it happen
Asking is the easy part. Now you have to follow through and take the next steps.
Share the results
How many times have you taken a survey, never to hear anything about it again?
Sharing the results with your team promotes open communication and transparency. It will also let people know where they fit into the company culture. If only 2 people out of 1,000 said they want more rigid schedules and longer staff meetings, they’ll clearly see they are in the minority. On the other hand, if 75% of staff wants a flexible PTO bank instead of separate vacation and sick days, that’s great information for everyone to know.
Make some changes
The only thing worse than sending your feedback into an empty void is providing thoughtful feedback only to see everything stay exactly the same as it was before. The whole point of conducting a survey is to let your employees to know you are listening to them and that you care what they think. If nothing happens afterward, you’re sending the exact opposite message.
Do you have to implement every suggestion you get? Of course not. But you should provide information on what policies you plan to change or implement based on employee feedback. It’s important to be honest and realistic about what will be changing and how fast it can happen. Not all ideas will be feasible, but choose the ones that make sense and communicate your plans as quickly and clearly as possible.
Your employees are an extremely critical part of your business. If you’ve been viewing them as individual units of production rather than sales and service dynamos, idea generators, and brand ambassadors, it’s time to shake things up.
Happy employees = happy customers.
And that’s just good business.