[This article was written by Dawn Castell.]
Employee engagement is one of the most difficult problems that new companies face. A lack of morale and even interest in the company can plague efficiency and productivity. Even though all businesses struggle with employee engagement, brand new companies seem to suffer from this problem in a higher percentage. Larger, more established companies tend to have a clearer direction and a track-record that attracts workers and offers more hope for the future. New companies typically pay less and can’t promise job security for their employees. Despite these differences, there are still ways that new businesses can increase employee morale. Here are a few tips for building your employee engagement as a brand new company.
1. Have consistent onboarding and training for every employee.
One of the best ways to initiate employees into a new business is with consistent onboarding and training. It is through these processes that employees can learn how to become effective members of the company. A lack of training will leave employees confused and in a rush to catch up. This will only lead to dissatisfaction and disengagement. Training allows each employee to know what is expected and what it takes to perform well. Furthermore, the onboarding process creates a cohesive organizational structure as all employees have been through the same training. Everyone knows what to expect and what is expected.
2. Set strategic goals for the company.
Every company needs a clear goal in order to be successful. Without a clear goal, there is nothing to work towards. Having a defined and tangible goal will help to create a clear path towards achievement. Sharing this goal with the entire company will increase engagement as each employee has something to work towards. Having these goals can help instill the employee base with a sense of purpose. A shared goal can also help make the company feel more like a team working together. Whether an employee is working for endpoint security or for McDonald’s, it is meaningful to be part of a larger goal.
3. Reward employees and celebrate victories.
Setting goals for a company can only work once if they are not rewarded. Employees will be more motivated to achieve a goal that will be recognized. When a reached goal goes unnoticed, the entire point of the challenge is somewhat lost. Brand new businesses need to be as enthusiastic about celebrating goals as they are about achieving them. Rewards can come in the form of bonuses or extra time off for employees who went above and beyond their normal role. Something as simple as a pizza party during lunch can be enough to celebrate these victories. Employees are willing to be more engaged if they know that their collective work and successes will be recognized and appreciated.
4. Invest time and money into employee development.
A perceived lack of immobility is one major reason that employees may lack engagement in new companies. Upward mobility isn’t something typically associated with growing companies. This is an unfortunate reality for brand new businesses as employees want to be developed. A recent Gallup poll shows that 87% of millennials and 69% of non-millennials see development as an important job characteristic. In order to increase employee engagement at a new business, employers must be willing to develop their staff. This can include training for new skills, experience in varying disciplines and a clear road to a raise or promotion. Feeding this hunger for development will encourage employees to work harder and more passionately. Workers want to mean something to their company. Development is a great way to show their value.
Brand new companies are at a disadvantage when it comes to acquiring new talent. Unless a new business is developing a revolutionary product or service, there won’t be much hype surrounding the company’s initial growth. These four steps can help companies improve their employee engagement and spur their future growth.