Let’s Set the Scene
Let me paint a picture for you. You are an employee who wakes up every morning thinking, “Awesome, I am going to a great job! I love the people I work with. I can exchange ideas and receive feedback. I am looking forward to working with the team today. How can I make an impact in someone’s life today?”
Does this sound like the employees in your workplace? Does this even sound like you? Whether you have these thoughts or not, this is the “ideal” for how employee and staff engagement should be.
Employee engagement takes place when employers actively maintain healthy relationships with their employees. When employees believe that their employer has created a proper environment for all members to put forth their best effort, employees are more likely to commit to the organization’s goals, and contribute toward organizational success.
Trust, integrity, and communication between managers and their staff, along with employee buy-in to the overall mission, are necessary prerequisites for employee engagement. Taking employee engagement seriously can increase the chances for organizational success, individual performance, productivity, workforce well being, and most importantly, RETENTION of your most valuable assets!
Engagement is NOT a Short-Term Program
Employee engagement cannot be achieved successfully by simply having a few ideas and “trying them out” on your workforce. This approach will easily wear off over time, and employees will resist the idea of becoming more involved. Employers must tap into the emotions of their employees. If employees feel engagement activities are not being sustained or supported by executive leadership and management, they become cynical and lose interest.
What Can Companies Do To Foster Employee Engagement?
Employee engagement is all about maintaining employee morale. Ultimately, employee attitude and behavior can significantly impact business outcomes, stakeholder trust, recruiting, and your bottom line (profit). Engaged employees have a sense of pride and loyalty when working for your organization. Can this be achieved? The answer is yes! Many companies large and small create and sustain rigorous and successful employee engagement programs.
Here are several ideas for engagement that we utilize at CATMEDIA to inspire our team members:
1. Offer Healthier Options At Work: We maintain a healthy work culture through employee sponsored water drinking challenges, healthy options when lunch is catered, no soda/snack machines, and edible fruit arrangements for the majority of office-wide celebrations.
2. Align Company With Purpose: CATMEDIA is dedicated to helping our clients and the communities our employees live in, and our CEO, Catherine Downey, has set the tone. CATMEDIA and its employees donate their time to a variety of charities and causes to impact their communities in a positive manner.
3. Health/Wellness Program: Employees have access to health and wellness programs that encourage preventive checkups, promote physical activity, and mental well-being. Our employees engage in team fitness activities to establish positive habits that carry over to time away from the office.
4. Sharing Company Vision/Financial Performance: Our CEO and executive team share the company vision and financial goals with all employees (managers, interns, specialists). They also share reports on actual company performance and answer questions in a team forum.
5. Celebrate Wins: When a team member completes a big project or the sales team wins an account, we celebrate and acknowledge the individuals involved for their hard work.
6. Work-life Balance: CATMEDIA has a very generous leave program that encourages our employees to enjoy their families and loved ones. Employers should evaluate their time off policies frequently to remain competitive and ensure employees have the required time to rejuvenate.
7. Motivational Speakers: We bring in professionals to conduct multi-day trainings with our team to encourage communication, resolve conflict, encourage teamwork and camaraderie, and help our team to better understand colleagues with different work habits.
8. Open Floor Space: CATMEDIA has a small amount of private office space. The majority of our headquarters involves open floor space, where teams are close to one another to encourage collaboration, open discussions, and idea-generation.
9. Constructive Feedback: Our managers are empowered and encouraged to provide daily and weekly feedback to their direct reports. Feedback is not only provided when it involves performance appraisals or disciplinary action. It occurs consistently as a part of the daily CATMEDIA routine. Employees are encouraged to voice their concerns to each other through a constructive process which promotes open communication and help ensure amicable solutions.
10. Strong Company Culture: CATMEDIA recruits and hires people who we feel are Creative, Inclusive, Right-minded, Responsible for their position, and Actively curious—our mantra of C.I.R.R.A.! By developing and deciding on key employee attributes you help drive the company culture.
11. Have Fun Outside Work: Although this has become more difficult as we’ve expanded our offices to other states, team members are encouraged to meet after hours and on weekends to socialize and learn more about each other.
12. Open the Lines of Communication: CATMEDIA managers conduct weekly meetings to understand where their direct reports need resources, discuss any new ideas they have, and how things are going in their workspace. Managers and their direct reports use these meetings as strategy sessions to maximize resources and surpass client expectations.
When companies place emphasis on building trust, integrity, open communication, and commitment, employees are more likely to value the relationship with their employer. Employee engagement increases the chances that a business will prosper, and while it may not happen right away, it can be nurtured. Consistency is the key for any engagement program to prosper!
What other tips do you have for fostering employee engagement? Please share below!
CATMEDIA is an award-winning Inc. 500 company based in Atlanta, Georgia. Founded in 1997, the company specializes in advertising, creative services, media production, program management, training, and human resource management. As a Women Owned Small Business (WOSB), CATMEDIA provides world-class customer service and innovative solutions to government and commercial clients. Current CATMEDIA clients include Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Office of Personnel Management (OPM), and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).