Clockwatchers and disinterested employees can bring down the mood of an entire office, affecting productivity and staff retention. But a leadership team who is focused as much on employee engagement as they are on growing the business will undoubtedly see the benefits on their bottom line.
Today, I'm going to share five surefire ways CEOs can create a work environment where employees are inspired to work harder and feel proud to be part of the company.
1. Be Authentic and Transparent
Your employees are smart: They know when executives are being insincere or duplicitous. Nurturing authenticity and openness in the workplace encourages your staff to trust their employer and have confidence the company has their best interests in mind.
A great way to promote transparency is with Town Hall meetings or fireside chats. Rather than formal State of the Company addresses, these talks are more conversational and allow employees to ask the executive team questions directly and receive honest answers.
2. Clarify Responsibilities and Goals
Clarity about business operations as a whole is important, but ensuring employees have a clear understanding of their individual role within the company is also essential. Ambiguity about responsibilities leads to inefficiency, frustration and dissatisfaction.
Managers should set expectations on Day One and then have regular check-ins to make sure their employees' time is being spent on the appropriate projects. Outlining each employee's duties and objectives means they can concentrate on achieving their goals and not worry their focus is expected elsewhere.
3. Foster Friendships Between Coworkers
Considering how much time employees spend together, morale is likely much higher in the offices where coworkers actually enjoy being around one another. Organized team-building events have their pros, but creating an environment where friendships form naturally can have a more lasting impact.
Provide opportunities for your employees to interact casually and spontaneously--for example, a ping-pong table, an Xbox in the breakroom or a comfy collaborative work area where your staff can escape their desks for a bit. The important takeaway here is "spontaneous"; don't force interoffice friendships.
4. Encourage Professional Development
Employees who feel stagnant at their job will probably start looking elsewhere. And when you've invested significant time, energy and money in training, it's frustrating (and costly) to lose someone to another company claiming to have more room for growth.
Offering professional development plans no longer is a perk companies can present to potential employees; it's something candidates have come to expect and it's necessary to avoid high turnover. When employees can clearly envision their future at a company, they'll feel more loyal and engaged.
5. Provide Recognition and Incentives
It seems obvious, but when you're focused on day-to-day operations, ensuring your employees feel acknowledged and motivated can fall by the wayside. Few things sting more than when your hard work goes unrecognized. And when your staff believes they aren't appreciated or if they have no external incentive to perform well (outside of simply keeping their job), the business will suffer.
Bonuses are always popular, but you can also reward your employees in non-monetary ways. For example, allow high-performing employees to take an extra day of PTO. Or if an entire department exceeds its goals, reward the team with a catered lunch.
IMPORTANT: Let your staff know why they're being rewarded. Don't give extras simply to give extras. The last thing you want is a team of engaged but poor-performing employees.
When employees can see the actual impact of their work on the organization, feel valued by their supervisors and be comfortable in the office, it causes a positive ripple effect. Not only will their tenure at the company likely be longer, but happy, hard-working employees tend to attract more happy, hard-working employees. Using the five tips above can help create a workplace where current employees want to stay and where strong potential candidates want to be.