Keep Employees Engaged and Energized

Your employees’ ideas and passion for their work can help your business grow and succeed. Are your employees giving your company their all? Do they believe that what they're doing is important? Do they feel appreciated? Do they arrive for work filled with purpose?

If you can’t honestly offer an enthusiastic “yes” to these questions, consider how you can improve your work environment and relationships to encourage employees to work with energy and enthusiasm. The results could be profitable, personally and financially.

Provide tools. Make sure your employees have everything they need to do their jobs. Ask each staff member, "Do you have everything you need to be as productive and successful as you can be?" Be willing to act on worthwhile responses. Be willing to reconsider any policies they consider counterproductive.

Set expectations. Clearly communicate what's expected of employees, what the company’s values are, and how the company defines success. Employees need to understand their roles, where they fit in the big picture, and how they can make the company more successful.

Share information. Provide as much information as possible about the company. Explain where it's making money, where it's losing money, how its products are doing in the marketplace, what new initiatives are being considered, and why and how employees can contribute. Even when the news is not encouraging, people will appreciate your openness.

Get personal. Take the time to get to know your employees, especially their goals. Without prying, show a genuine interest in your team.

Commit to training. Most people like to learn, to grow, and to improve their marketability, and the more education and training you provide, the happier and more engaged they will feel. Cross-train employees in a variety of jobs when possible. This not only improves productivity, it builds cooperation and appreciation when team members understand the challenges of other positions. Also, be sure employees are trained in problem solving and conflict resolution skills. These critical skills will help them communicate better with you, their coworkers, customers, and suppliers.

Be inclusive. Include your employees in planning and decision making. Facts “on the ground” may differ from perceptions at 30,000 feet. They may see issues differently and offer ideas for working smarter. If you need to create a more efficient delivery system, ask your delivery staff how they would improve the current system. Use their ideas, and give them credit to them.

Reward and recognize. Personally thank an employee for a job well-done. Specify what was good about it and why you appreciate it. For example, say: "Thank you for organizing that project so well. You made it very clear what should happen, when and why." Remember to celebrate effort as well as accomplishment, to give employees working on long-term goals a boost.

Following these strategies will help employees feel valued and enthusiastic about their jobs. Not only is this more fun, it’s good for business, improves retention, and reduces burn out.

Quick and Easy Ways to Recognize Employees

Take care of your employees, and they will take care of your customers. Here are a few inexpensive ways to make staff feel valued.

Free time:

  • Let high-performing teams leave early to miss rush-hour traffic.
  • Give an afternoon off to employees who have exceeded expectations for a particular customer.

Free food:

  • Sponsor a free lunch or breakfast for hardworking teams.
  • Subsidize the price of food in vending machines.

More ways to say thanks:

  • Creating an events committee to plan fun outings, such as trips to a sporting event, a picnic, a holiday party.
  • Say thank you with a hand-written note.

“People are definitely a company’s greatest asset. It doesn't make any difference whether the product is cars or cosmetics. A company is only as good as the people it keeps.” - Mary Kay Ash, founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics.

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