Satisfied employees are more productive and committed than their less engaged counterparts. While offering competitive compensation and benefits can contribute to employee engagement, company culture also impacts satisfaction.
As culture develops from the top down, leaders have the responsibility to create a workplace environment that is conducive to employee engagement. Here are a few ways leaders like you can directly influence your work culture to produce higher rates of satisfaction.
Set Employee-Centric Values
As a leader, you set the tone for the types of values that are upheld within your company. Employee engagement tends to go up when businesses establish a culture that places their needs at the center.
For example, companies can encourage innovation by supporting employee development and allowing autonomy over projects. Leaders must also foster a psychologically-safe culture where all team members can share their ideas without ridicule or fear.
You can establish psychological safety within your company by viewing failures as learning experiences. You should also explicitly state your values in your company-wide communications to reassure team members that a positive employee experience is a priority.
Invest in Employees
Employees are any company’s most valuable asset. Unfortunately, many businesses do not invest adequately in employee training and development. If you want to ensure that your employees reach their potential, you must incorporate opportunities for professional development into the work process.
For example, you can start workers on the right foot by implementing new employee onboarding best practices. This includes offering mentoring opportunities, self-guided training modules, and team building.
Ongoing professional development training should also be extended to current workers. There are multiple ways to make learning accessible. You can subscribe to a corporate account with an online course provider or provide a stipend for professional development classes.
Offering opportunities for career progression is also essential for retaining talent. As part of the executive team, you can ensure that your company has a solid pipeline to develop promising entry-level workers into potential managers and leaders.
Encourage Two-way Communication
Most communications in organizations only go one way: ideas and directions come from the top, and worker input is rarely considered. In companies with strict roles and rigid hierarchies, employees may feel too intimidated to raise their concerns. As a result, issues may be left unaddressed until it is too late.
Leaders can change this dynamic by encouraging open communication between all workers. The best approach to facilitating a discussion will depend on your company’s culture.
You can create an office hours system where employees are invited to talk to higher-level management about their concerns.
Be a Role Model
In order for any company-wide initiative to succeed, leaders must align their actions with their efforts. You can spend time on the ground with every department to understand their work and show employees that their contributions are valued.
You must also demonstrate values that you hope to inspire in your employees. For example, acknowledging your mistakes and taking accountability gives all workers permission to do the same. Speaking to everyone with respect also helps foster an inclusive environment.
Measure and Evaluate Engagement
None of the initiatives mentioned above can be successfully implemented without an evaluation plan. You will need to assess current employee engagement levels and areas that can be improved. You will also need to perform ongoing evaluations to make sure that your changes are making the intended impact.
Some effective ways of assessing employee engagement include:
Interviews: Schedule one-on-one interviews with new hires and departing employees to get a sense of the first and last impression of your company. You can also gather information from current workers during performance reviews and less formal conversations.
Surveys: You can make use of your company’s communication channels such as email or project management software to send out short surveys to capture employee sentiment. Over time, you will be able to identify patterns that can inform your employee engagement programs.
For example, you may notice that employee satisfaction dips during busier periods. This can open a conversation about the support or system your team may need to improve their productivity.
Feedback: Give your employees several avenues to provide feedback. You can set up a virtual or in-person suggestions box or incorporate feedback sessions at the end of every project.
Indicators: Work with your human resources team and managers to identify reliable indicators for employee engagement. While these may vary by industry, common benchmarks include turnover rates and absenteeism.