In order to stay afloat, a compulsory effect of the recession for many companies has been a concentrated and immediate focus on the bottom line. As a result, employers and their employees have felt the inevitable strain of extensive layoffs, chaotic restructurings, and difficult cuts and freezes in pay and benefits. But, as hopes of a recovering economy increase, and the anticipation and promises of a new year approach, executives are turning their focus on the engagement and commitment of their employees.
With the sudden changes and uncertainty employees have anxiously weathered this year, employee commitment has taken a hard hit; especially among top performers, according to a survey by Watson Wyatt Worldwide. Employees have become dissatisfied as they are asked to do more with less, worry about instability, and often mistrust their employers.
But, employee engagement is imperative to any and every organization no matter the size of the company or the product sold. Results from a recent Gallup study involving nearly 32,400 business units showed those who had high employee engagement had 18 percent higher productivity rate and 16 percent higher profitability compared to those with lower engagement. Those with higher engagement also had 49 percent fewer safety incidents.
The level of employee commitment directly affects a company’s bottom line, and executives fear that disenchanted top performers will be wooed away when the economy and hiring recovers. So, what can you do to help increase engagement in your employees? Start with these five tips.
- Increase communication. Communicating with employees on important issues like company financial standings and decisions is an important part of building trust and renewing commitment. Communicating clearly will prevent misunderstanding and lessen employee anxiety, stress, and mistrust. It is also important to communicate the direction, goals and vision of your company. Employees want and need a clear understanding of the company’s goals in order to see and fulfill their purpose and role within the company.
- Empower employees. By offering training opportunities and creating an environment of growth, creativity, recognition, and autonomy, you will motivate and empower your employees to become leaders and experts in their field. The more involved an employee is in processes and decisions, the more committed they are to the success of your business.
- Restore base pay and merit increases. Experts advise that if your company cut or froze pay and merit increases in 2008 or 2009, you should restore them to pre-recession levels as soon as possible. While pay freezes and cuts have been necessary, they do not come without consequences and have been directly linked to employee dissatisfaction and the current lapse in commitment.
- Treat employees like customers. Employees need to know that they – like your customers – are valued. Use recognition to communicate how much you appreciate employee efforts and commitment. Consider using an anonymous company survey to determine the needs, attitudes, and overall satisfaction of your workforce to understand employee perceptions and make adjustments when necessary.
- Get everyone in the game. Gone are the days when an employee’s work satisfaction rested solely on their feeling of stability. With new generations entering the workforce, employees want purpose and growth, so get them in the game by sharing your vision for the company and how it relates to the work they do. Help them understand the company vision, its importance, and purpose, and how its achievement will benefit them. Once they’re on board, provide them with the tools, focus, and direction they need to succeed.
Employees are a vital part of an organization and typically its largest investment. They can make or break a company’s reputation and success. When you invest in your employees, you invest in the future of your company. If you’re worried about the commitment of some of your top performers and need to re-engage your employees, start with these steps to build trust and renew the relationship between company and employee.
This article is published courtesy of Express Employment Professionals. The Burnaby office, located at 405-5050 Kingsway is currently taking applications. For more information, stop by the office, call 604-433-0353 or visit the Express Web site at www.expresspros.com
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