Engaged employees are happy employees.

Happy employees are better employees.

Better employees, intentionally or unintentionally, become ambassadors for your brand, whether they smile when they answer the phone or hit the back nine in a company golf polo. When your team are wearing branded dress shirts during happy hour with their colleagues, how are they vocalizing their own internal experiences about your company and your customers? How do they act while traveling, when networking events are populated with prospects and competitors?

Said simply, engaged employees are good for your business. For morale. For customer service. And for your bottom line. This axiom rings true across nearly every category, segment, or vertical.

Engaging and retaining employees can often be a challenge, though. How do you motivate and inspire your team to see and execute the company’s vision without falling into the traps of isolated silos and office politics? A boat speeds over the water much faster when everyone is rowing in the same direction in time.

Employees often decide to stay or leave based on internal culture. That’s why retention is so critical to your bottom line. Did you know it costs 20% of annual salary to replace a mid-level employee who earns between $30 to $50 thousand per year, according to a recent CAP study? High-turnover organizations could be slowly hemorrhaging overhead without realizing it.

Now it’s time to ask the question-behind-the-question: how do you keep your team engaged, happy, and committed?

Healthy corporate culture begins with an effective employee retention strategy. Adobe’s vice president of global talent, Jeff Vijungco, cites technology as being the number one trend in the workplace that can both help retain employees and raise morale at your company. Some 81% of U.S. workers say “state of the art technology” is important. Yet, according to an article in the Nashville Business Journal, only one in four workers believes his or her company’s technology is ahead of the curve.

The answer goes deeper than tech tools, however. Is your leadership team transparent and authentic when communicating with employees? Are their doors closed more than they’re open? Do they understand how to provide actionable feedback, both good and bad, that empowers an employee to grow? Is this feedback continuous or once-per-year?

Communication specifically is one of the most important points. Leaders should never assume their team will contact them for advice or alert them of a problem. Nor should leaders feel confident that every sent email will be clearly understood by everyone. Robert Half, a national HR consulting firm, states that instituting an open-door policy–and making staff aware of it–will encourage better overall communication in the workplace.

Finally, some leaders feel compelled to keep a controlling hand on every facet of a project, whether big or small. Empowering and challenging your team to make decisions—and mistakes—improves employee happiness in multiple ways. It allows staff to develop critical skills they can use to advance their careers and to make greater, more meaningful contributions to the company. It also makes people feel more invested in their jobs because they’re engine driving it forward.

This sequence, from happy to engaged to retained employee, doesn’t go back to salary; it goes back to culture. If you want the world to see your brand in a positive light, start from the inside to make sure your most important asset—your team—sees your brand in a positive light.

Then watch them spread your brand message through action and deed organically, on or off the clock.

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