How to Create a Culture that Employees Love
Employee engagement has become tricky for companies today to navigate. With the rise of the information age, people can learn, be, and do just about anything. Some, for instance, have left their corporate day jobs and are now making $1M a year by creating YouTube videos. We live in a world of “I want to do this job,” however, many companies still try to engrain “I have to do this job” in their employees. This is inherently unsettling, and causes employees to feel unsatisfied in the workplace.
People no longer want to simply get a job, climb the corporate ladder, contribute to a 401k, and happily retire. While, yes, everyone desires the comforts and security of a job and retirement plan, they also want to work towards a goal and do a job that matters. Old methods of employee engagement that obligate employees to attend company functions, meetings, and the occasional philanthropy event no longer, and maybe never did, appeal to people.
So what is the solution? Companies that want to stay relevant need to introduce new methods of employee engagement that actually empower employees and help them grow professionally. Great employee engagement starts with helping employees achieve their goals while simultaneously doing their job. For instance, simply showing up to work every day is no one’s dream, but true employee engagement can prove to employees that showing up to work every day can help fuel their personal and professional goals.
This does not mean providing individual attention to all 200 employees’ specific goals. Instead, successful employee engagement is having systems in place that allow individuals to empower themselves, such as continuing education and unique leadership experiences that promote personal and professional growth.
Embracing empowerment through peer-led events, mentorships, and training programs increases employees’ skills and ensures them they are completing something meaningful for themselves and their company.
In addition to growth and empowerment, effective communication is essential to true employee engagement. Proper communication and interaction with peers is often a weak point for many companies, yet it is rarely addressed or taught in the workplace. By creating a safe and encouraging environment to ask powerful questions and challenge ideas, companies are able to provide meaning and a voice for their employees.
Companies can further engage their employees by opening the table for collaboration and allowing everyone on the team to address problems across departments and create solutions. This kind of bilateral communication ensures that all voices are heard equally. When a new employee or someone lower on the totem pole feels free to share their ideas around new processes or procedures, they are given a sense of belonging and purpose within the organization.
Lastly, proper recognition is key to creating a culture that will inspire employees. When an employee makes a contribution to the team, they need to be recognized for it to ensure they know their work is significant to the company. Otherwise, they will feel undervalued, and as if their contributions are unimportant. Whether it be peer to peer recognition or from leadership, there are many forms or recognition, and they should all be promoted within the workplace.
When employees feel valued and understand how their work affects the company as a whole, they will be far more motivated to go above and beyond. Thus, recognition is beneficial for not only the employee, but the employer, as company leaders will see an increase in performance and productivity across the board.
True employee engagement involves much more than obligatory workplace functions. If companies want to create a culture that employees love, they must develop systems and programs that actually engage, challenge, and empower employees personally and professionally. People today don’t want to do a job, because they have to. They’re seeking jobs that serve a clear purpose and help them reach their goals.
By promoting employee growth and empowerment, opening the doors for communication, and taking time to recognize their efforts, employees will work harder and more efficiently, because they want to be there. This will avoid the imposed “top-down” mentality enforced by some corporate leaders, and create a natural and inspiring work community.