[This article was written by Meredith Wood.]
Employee engagement has become a hot topic in start-ups and major corporations alike. As businesses scramble to keep their employees happy while decreasing their own attrition rates, it’s no wonder engagement is a standard buzzword among C-level execs.
Happy employees have been proven to reduce turnover, increase customer retention, improve productivity, and increase efficiency to produce more profit for companies in the long run. There have been a few factors that are clear in every successfully-staffed incorporation.
First, the workforce today cares more about perks and benefits than high salaries. In fact, over half of millennials would take a pay cut for certain perks. Most companies offer things like health benefits, 401k matching, and PTO, but today those are seen as bare minimums more than additional perks.
So what can you do to keep your workforce engaged and gainfully employed?
Simple adds like in-office snacks are a great start to show your employees your appreciation. However, millennials and Gen Zers alike are beginning to look at intangibles too. They want to see things like career growth tracks, open communication, and collaborative work culture.
Creating engaging events like company retreats, celebrations, and team outings are all ways to promote creativity and collaboration. In fact, 76% of employees admit to being more productive in-office when they’re able to bond with their team members. That’s a pretty impressive stat that something like an hour-long happy hour can create.
Even still, employees want to be inspired by their work. They want to understand company values, and align them with their own. Find opportunities to showcase the culture you’re trying to develop, and make sure you have clearly defined values that are communicated with employees as often as possible.
Healthy company culture starts from the top down, so make sure leadership is on board. Inspire trust in your leaders so they can do the same with their employees. Encourage managers to use their PTO so that employees have a role model for when it comes to work-life balance. If managers are working themselves tired, your employees will likely do the same.
In summary, treat your team with trust and transparency. Create team-building opportunities, such as company retreats or outings, and make sure that benefits are present to appease basic physical and mental needs. Lastly, if you’re unsure about what your employees want in a benefits program or the perks that they value most, the best thing you can do is ask them.
Allow your team the opportunity to anonymously give feedback, and take each comment and ask yourself if it’s feasible to incorporate into your company structure. When employees see that you’ve taken their feedback, they’re likely to give more to further improve the company.
Meredith Wood is the founding editor of the Fundera Ledger and a vice president at Fundera. She launched the Fundera Ledger in 2014 and has specialized in financial advice for small business owners for almost a decade. Meredith is frequently sought out for her expertise in small business lending.