We recently gave a seminar presentation and exhibited at the Mid-America Trucking Show. Turnover rates in the trucking industry are astronomically high, so we did our part to spread the word about the importance of employee engagement to help improve retention. While we focused on the trucking industry during our seminar, Reinvent Recruiting & Retention, the presentation content applies to any company in any industry. So, let’s digest the content, shall we? Here it goes:
According to a recent Gallup Poll, did you know that 2/3 of US workers feel disengaged at work? That’s a pretty large number of people… One would think most of those people don’t want to feel that way considering being at work takes up most of their time.
With that said, implementing a recognition program is the key to optimizing employee engagement. Referring to this Globoforce Article, when companies spend 1% or more of payroll on recognition, 85% see a positive impact on engagement.
That’s a pretty impactful statement right there. Here is a summary of a case study from the call center industry that proves this…
- Situation: A 1500-seat call center with over 200% turnover. Job is boring and stressful. Management invested in higher pay, better workstations, and better benefits… no improvement.
- Tactics: Focused on why employees stayed and they determined it was co-worker bonds. By reinforcing positive employee behavior, they launched an online employee recognition program. The program rewarded for random acts of kindness, among others, to help reinforce and strengthen the importance of employee bonds.
- Results: 200% turnover was down by 133%, and falling. And most importantly, 82% of employees believed the company committed to recognizing employee accomplishments.
So, as you can see, employee engagement is pretty important for business. But many decision makers may be asking themselves, “Where do I start?” or “How can I make this happen?” No worries, we’re here to help. Here’s what we call our “Action Plan” to get things going…
STEP 1 = LISTEN
Plain and simple… regular employee feedback amounts to lower turnover. Your workforce feels valued and appreciated when they are involved in company processes. Mentioned in this employee engagement info graphic, there are 14.9% lower turnover rates in companies that implement regular employee feedback. Here are some ideas…
- Implement an “open-door policy”. No one likes to just be “talked to”… it’s a 2-way street! Let your employees have a voice to speak to all company staff levels.
- Check-in at least once per month. Don’t wait until that annual performance review. And encourage feedback… everyone will benefit from it.
- Ask for new ideas. Conducting a survey is probably the best way to accomplish this as well as get feedback and a better understanding on particular topics within your organization.
STEP 2 = INVEST
You’ve listened, and now you’re ready to invest in your employees. And from a recruiting standpoint, there are 2 “recruiting musts” that all recruiters need to keep in mind…
#1: Hire based on fit. This blog by O.C. Tanner explains it really well. Hire people who really fit within your company culture. Employees who believe in their company’s core values and align with the culture will positively translate into their work.
#2: Use Social Media. According to this recent social recruiting survey, social media is an essential recruitment tool across all industries. The top 3, in order of popularity, are LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. Did you know that the millennial generation is now the largest population in the workforce? This generation pretty much lives and breathes social media, so it’s a no-brainer for companies to be present in this space.
Once you’ve recruited the right people, now it’s time to truly invest and train them. No question, training is very important. Training = Better Performance, as referenced earlier, this info graphic further helps depict this. Companies that invest more in training and career development outperform their peers. How do you improve upon training? Here are some ways…
- Encourage participation in special mentoring programs to help your employees grow.
- Implement continuous learning… an eLearning module on an integrated online program is a perfect example.
- Make sure the mission of your company culture is evident in your training content.
Let’s really drive home the importance of company culture, shall we? Do you ever shop at Zappos.com? This company is a prime example of positive company culture, and their employees know it… and so do their customers since their happy attitudes show up in their customer service skills. Take some time to read more about Zappos culture… it will make you want to work there. Oh, and their CEO Tony Hsieh published a book called Delivering Happiness, A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose… it’s now a movement… learn more here. It just goes to show that if a company is dedicated to their company culture and core values, their bottom line profits will be positively impacted.
STEP 3 = RECOGNIZE
And the final step at that… This Forbes article explains how recognition really works by referencing Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Recognition supports our higher-level psychological needs in order to make us feel important and respected. Compensation and benefits is a base-line and we need more than that. Elements of recognition make us feel appreciated and happy. All companies need to embrace this concept to truly improve employee engagement.
Further, recognition = motivation… And, again, referencing this amazing source, 78% of employees said being recognized motivates them in their job. Here are some tips:
- Praise employees often… Frequency is key… at least once per week.
- All levels of the workforce should participate… not just at the manager level, but peer-to-peer as well. Encourage recognition to all.
- Recognize for all different kinds of performance, not just one thing. Years of service, new ideas, birthdays, event attendance, learning completions, wellness activities, etc… the list goes on and on! And better yet, incorporate all recognition types into one program.
An integrated recognition program needs meaningful rewards for your workforce. So, what rewards are true motivators or incentives? It ranges from pure transaction, such as cash or gift cards to emotional experiences, like travel or trips. Non-cash rewards have more of an emotional impact; However, if you reward with cash rewards the options are endless for what that reward can be used for or applied to. Reloadable prepaid cards that are customized with the company logo are a great way to represent the company and allow your employees to use it wherever they want.
So, let’s compare the importance of recognition to our personal lives… You wouldn’t tell your significant other “I love you” once a year, would you? This Lifehacker blog talks about the secret of happy couples… and in one referenced study, people who responded to their significant other’s triumphs at least 3 times per day for 1 week increased their happiness. We’re all human… It makes sense that we’re happiest when we’re frequently recognized in our personal lives… the same applies to our life at work.