With a new year upon us, it’s a good time to pause, look at the big picture, and resolve to do even better in 2016.
In that light, here’s something to ponder: Other than a paycheck, do you give your employees good reasons to come to work each day?
Here are a few ideas to help you pump up employee engagement and make recruiting easier, too:
The 10 commandments of engagement
1. Thou shalt differentiate yourself. What do you offer that other employers don’t? Are your policies more family-friendly? Maybe you’re more flexible or you promote from within more often. Whatever it is, talk it up and publicize it, because your people might not know or notice unless you point it out.
2. Thou shalt make sure they feel they’re in on things. Solicit their opinions, brainstorm solutions to problems, tell them the whys of what’s required of them and never let the reason be, “Because I said so.”
3. Thou shalt recognize every job well done. The best way to encourage positive behavior is to recognize it immediately. Make the recognition specific and personal. Whether it’s written or spoken, it should go something like: “[Person’s name], you handled that [specific task/interaction] in the best possible way. I really appreciate how you [what the person did].”
4. Thou shalt give the gift of your undivided attention. Regularly, be it once a year or once a week, set aside time for a meeting or lunch with each of your key players (the ones you would hate to lose).
5. Thou shalt make work fun. Offer contests and jokes, pass out lollipops, bring in bagels on Fridays, ring the bell when a sale is made, celebrate employment anniversaries and birthdays. There’s no reason work can’t be fun, and there are lots of good reasons why it should be.
6. Thou shalt express your appreciation. In addition to recognizing specific tasks done well, appreciate your people for behaviors that make a difference. Thank them for helping co-workers, for great teamwork, for dependability, for taking responsibility. What you focus on increases, so focus on what you appreciate.
7. Thou shalt re-evaluate your rules. Ground rules ensure that everyone is on the same page about how the game is played. Some employers go wrong, however, in not trusting their people to do the right thing and having a rule or regulation for everything. Make sure every rule is necessary and that everyone understands why it is necessary.
8. Thou shalt be a role model for respect. Who gets more respect, a bank vice president or a store cashier? Did you ever stop to think the cashier probably handles more money, a greater variety of transactions, and interacts with more customers every day than the VP? All work is worthy of respect, and management sets the tone. When each employee feels respected and valued, they’ll respect management, one another and, most important, your customers.
9. Thou shalt build relationships. Many employees consider good relationships with managers, co-workers and clients just as important as compensation, if not more so. Once again, management sets the tone with team-building exercises, mentoring programs, asking all employees to vet potential hires, roundtable meetings and annual retreats.
10. Thou shalt make responsibility your modus operandi. Let it be known that everyone will be held responsible for meeting their commitments and fulfilling their duties. This does not involve assigning blame. Rather, when someone falls short, seize the opportunity to find out what went wrong and how to improve systems and communications so it never happens again
Mel Kleiman is an internationally known authority on recruiting, selecting and hiring hourly employees. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. A version of this article first appeared on humetrics.com/blog.