In response to some of the questions raised by some of my readers last week, I thought it wise to suggest alternative ways to engage staff.

Surely, there are many newfangled ideas about what companies need to do to attract talent and engage their people. Contemporary thinking runs the gamut from in-house juice bars to indoor skate parks. But, what do you do if the installation of a climbing wall is not an option for your firm?

Here are 5 simple approaches to drive employee engagement.

1. Create, Communicate and Translate Your Vision Story: As I've written about many times in this column, employee engagement begins with the crafting and telling of a vivid and compelling story of where you're heading as an organization. Translating that vision for your staff by identifying and reinforcing the key themes that underpin it will heighten their engagement. So, make it easy for staff to better understand the vision by taking every opportunity, and by using every device that you have, to communicate your story's key themes.

2. Make it Personal: This can be doneby asking each staff member todevelop a personal plan for how they will contribute to the achievement of one or more of the vision themes through their role and position in the organization. This activity helps personnel draw the connection between what they do and where the firm is heading--cementing in the notion within their own minds of where they will "fit" in the future;

3. Seek Input and Feedback: Once staff knows where the organization is heading and how they fit into the vision for the future, they are better positioned to introduce new ways of thinking and doing. Provide them with formal mechanisms, like monthly employee forums and fire-side chats, which serve to seek their input and feedback. If you do this, you can watch their commitment and engagement grow. If you choose to institute some of their ideas, you will see your business performance skyrocket, too.

4. Empower Decision-Making: Put properly trained front-line personnel in positions that enable them to make decisions that stick and you will gain their trust and enthusiasm for the job. Staff members are more willing to go the extra mile for an organization that they believe in and has their backs.

5. Celebrate Achievement: Work life is a marathon. It's not a sprint. Consequently, we sometimes forget to celebrate all of the small victories that are achieved along the way. But, employee engagement strengthens with recognition and appreciation. So, it is wise to remember to celebrate the achievement of individual, business unit and organizational goals through public recognition and coverage in company newsletters and intranet sites.

To close, I hope that these ideas about employee engagement resonate with you. Sure, they represent some simple, back-to-basic thinking. However, they do work, and, I believe that they can work for you, too--whether you have plans for putting up a playscape in the foyer of your company's headquarters, or not!

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