As a business owner, you understand that one of your most valuable assets is your employee force. The company’s vision may have began with you but your employees are on the front lines making sure your customers are happy. That's why it’s important to ensure they feel engaged, appreciated and fulfilled. Here are a few strategies that you can implement immediately and create the type of working environment that leads to true employee fulfillment.
Know Your Employees by Name
You’ve heard it said that the sweetest sound to any customer is the sound of his or her name. The same holds true for your employees. Taking the time to learn and remember their names is one of the subtle ways to let each one know you are aware of their presence and what they are contributing to the company.
Many employers view cross-training as solely a way to have a backup in case an employee can’t be at work for a time. While that’s part of the picture, there’s another angle to consider.
An employee who is given the opportunity to cross-train in another position begins to see the company in a broader light. Being more aware of what is happening in other departments often makes it easier to see why certain procedures are in place.
Cross-training also increases confidence and paves the way for advancement. You can bet an employee who sees a future with the company will feel more engaged and fulfilled.
If you truly want your employees to feel engaged, there must be a way for them to provide feedback. Along with having ways for employees to provide ideas and thoughts, you must take the feedback seriously.
Perhaps an employee's idea won't work right now. See this as a chance to engage in dialogue and provide some background information that helps the employee understand why the idea isn't feasible at present. Spending the time to seek feedback and discuss it openly could lead to an employee having another idea that could make the workplace more efficient and cost-effective.
Be Aware of What Employees are Facing
There are times when it is appropriate to step in and provide some sort of moral and emotional support during a personal crisis. For example, an employee who experiences a death in the immediate family may be having trouble adjusting. Kind words from you along with offering the opportunity to see a grief counselor will mean a great deal.
You don’t have to know all the details in order to be supportive. Being there, offering to help, and following through on that promise will mean a great deal and provide a sense of belonging and satisfaction that is hard to come by any other way.
Take a moment to stop by and thank an employee for jumping in and helping to get that mass mailing to a new customer ready. Say thanks to someone who stayed late to finish a project or finish packing the materials for an upcoming trade show. Remember to express gratitude to the employee who came up with an idea that prevented a major customer from defecting to the competition.
While the effort may not seem important, it makes all the difference to those who are recognized for going beyond the call of duty. Along with raises and awards, the one-on-one recognition will brighten the employee's day.
Employee fulfillment is a process and not an event. Hone your skills and make sure your employees know how much they matter every day. In the long run, you and your business will be more successful.