How You Can Keep Your Employees Happy in 2015

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Data suggests that 70 percent of employees are disengaged.

To put this in perspective – 70 percent is considered barely a passing grade by most educational institutions.

That’s an unacceptable statistic for long-term growth and success.

Regardless of what type of business you are in, people (human capital) are your biggest asset.  People operate your business, service your customers, and help drive innovation, allowing you to compete in a competitive marketplace.

5 ways to keep employees happy

If your people aren’t engaged then they likely aren’t achieving customer service excellence, increasing operational performance and efficiency, and driving innovation. That’s a harsh fact.

But all is not lost. Regardless of industry and size of your organization, engagement begins with behaviors.

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Here are  five (5) things you can do for your biggest asset – your people – to increase engagement and retention:

  1. Increase leadership honesty and transparency – Within reason, as a leader let employees know what you know and how you feel. Reduce “ivory tower” syndrome.
  2. Recognize, recognize, recognize! – Say thank you. It may sound simple enough but it is often overlooked and taken for granted. Employee recognition is imperative to high retention. Not all employees prefer to be recognized for a job well done in the same ways. Pulse your workforce for their preferred means of recognition and then adopt and implement various strategies based on that feedback.
  3. Have realistic performance goals – Performance goals should be realistic and achievable, tied to specific roles and responsibilities and linked to strategic objectives. Adapt and update performance goals appropriately to account for environmental factors that may cause changes to your business, to roles and responsibilities, and to organizational structure and culture.
  4. Create a culture of trust – An organization with a culture of distrust is an organization destined to be doomed. Distrust occurs for many reasons, such as when employees lack trust in leadership, when communication is not transparent and frequent, when employees see others getting rewarded for who they know and not the work they do, and when employees are asked to contribute to unethical practices. To maintain high levels of employee engagement make sure your organization has a culture of trust, not distrust
  5. Have merit based pay systems – I’m still surprised when I work with organizations that still pay based on title and tenure – and not performance. Pay should be based on performance. Non merit based pay is a sure-fire way to decrease employee engagement and negatively impact retention. If employees see others getting rewarded simply for being there longer, when they have worked just as hard and gone above and beyond achieving their goals, they will most likely become frustrated and they may leave. Not good for engagement.

They’re not just cogs and drones

All of these are inexpensive ways to drive engagement within your organization. They show your people – your #1 asset – that you consider them more than just cogs and drones.

It’s important to keep your employees happy. When you make an effort for your people, they’ll make an effort for your business.

This was originally published on the Tolero Think Tank blog.

Scott Span, MSOD, is CEO & Lead Consultant of Tolero Solutions, an Organization Improvement & Strategy firm. He helps clients in achieving success through people, creating organizations that are more responsive, productive and profitable -- organizations where people enjoy working and customers enjoy doing business. 

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