Regardless of the size of your business, your employees are your company's lifeblood.
Successful business owners are prepared to face any challenge when they have a dependable workforce in their corner, but a weak and uncommitted workforce can doom a small company even in the best of circumstances.
Employee engagement strategies are designed to boost your employees' commitment to the company. A fully engaged team is committed to the company's owner as well as its mission and customers. To achieve employee engagement, business owners must be as committed to their employees as their employees are to them.
The task of engaging employees in a small business is different than it is in a large corporation. Large companies have teams of HR personnel dedicated to employee satisfaction and development. But in a small business, it falls on the owner to create and execute effective engagement strategies. Ready or not, employee engagement just moved to the top of your to-do list.
- Interaction. Employees crave interactions with employers and business owners. When business owners erect a firewall between themselves and their workers, they create a breeding ground for distrust and resentment. Even if it seems insignificant, small interactions can have a big payoff for your team.
- Personal development. When an employer invests in the personal development of his employees, the employees become more engaged in the company and more committed to improving their own performance. Career development meetings, seminars and continuing educational opportunities are proven tools for increasing employee engagement levels.
- Communication. Although it's not appropriate to share everything with your employees, it's important to keep them in the loop about the company's strategy and business development goals. Good communication yields big dividends in the area of employee buy-in.
- Recognition. The best employers are intentional about recognizing excellent employees. You don't have to shower praise on them everyday, but employees who are periodically recognized for a job well done are more willing to make sacrifices and commit to the company for the long-term.
- Respect. More than anything else, it's critical for business owners to engage their employees by giving them professional respect. If you treat your staff like indentured servants, their commitment to the company will be tentative, at best. But if you respect them as true professionals, they will be more willing to go the distance for you and your business.