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Engaging your employees

Original French by Clara Michaud

For your business to be successful, you need to rally all of your employees in the shared pursuit of common goals and ensure that they are all giving their best to attaining these objectives. This is all the more so if you have few employees, because every effort counts in this case.

As owner-manager or manager, it’s your role to set the right conditions that will motivate and engage your employees.

Be a good leader
The key is to be a good leader. It’s the primary employee motivator. This is why it’s important to develop your human resource management skills—consult a mentor or other entrepreneurs, read articles or take a course on the topic.
In addition to your abilities to plan, negotiate and make the right decisions, you must be able to communicate well, especially with your employees. Clearly explain your vision, short- and long-term objectives, the company’s challenges, and the importance of their contribution. Furthermore, talk to them, find out:

• What they think is important.
• What makes them happy at work.
• What could be done to help improve the business.

The answers to these questions will guide you in determining the measures to take to increase employee engagement. In other words, if you want them to take an interest in the company’s success, involve them in your decision-making and take an interest in them. Take the time to say hello in the morning, ask them about their family, etc.

Studies have shown that treating your employees well has a direct effect on your clients’ satisfaction.

Several actions possible
Brad Federman, American author and management expert says, “Paychecks can’t buy passion.”

In fact, engaging employees is an ongoing effort that can be achieved with a few often inexpensive but highly impactful actions. For example:

• Give them access to technical training and other workshops about behaviour (stress management, deadlines, etc.).
• Give them some autonomy and opportunities to grow, by assigning a special project or giving them additional responsibilities.
• Encourage them to share their opinions, take initiative.
• Create an internal mentorship program (an experienced employee mentors a recruit).
• Rotate positions once a year to broaden the employees’ perspective.
• Organize team building activities.
• Share information by email (an article about a business, news about your industry, etc.).
• Set up a social committee to organize activities (family outings, Christmas party, etc.).
• Contribute to improving their quality of life by offering transportation or gym rebates, organizing health breaks, etc.
• Grant floating holidays or hold a lottery for extra vacation days.

Be creative! This said, don’t overdo it: better to focus on a few actions and ensure that they work.

Lastly, it’s essential that you value your employees’ hard work and achievements. Tell them often how much you appreciate their work, thank them for a special achievement, forward an email from a satisfied client. Don’t be among the 50% of Quebec organizations whose managers don’t recognize their employees often enough!

Would you like more information about this topic? Don’t hesitate to contact our experts. It will be our pleasure to help you.