Centennial is passionate about recruiting. I, personally, have been doing it for over 40 years and I haven’t tired of it yet. Nonetheless, there’s another topic I feel equally passionate about: retention.
Recruiting excellent leaders is only part of the equation. Retaining those leaders is the other vital component. Keeping and developing your team members is essential for success. The kingpin to retention is employee engagement.
The Buzz About “Employee Engagement”
I loved employee engagement before it was popular. “Employee engagement” is the technical term, but it’s simply investing in the people under your care and stewardship. Investing in employees is something I have always loved to do. It just so happens that it’s a great benefit to our organization as well. When employees know they are valued beyond what they do for the company, their productivity and enthusiasm skyrockets.
We want the team members in our organization to grow into a better version of themselves because of their time invested with us. This can be done on a department level if your organization is large. As you invest in team members, they are energized to do their best to see their organization succeed.
4 Strategic Areas for Investing in Your Team Members
There are many ways to communicate value to your team members. I’ve identified 4 key categories for purposely investing in your employees.
- Monetary rewards
- Personal involvement
- Public recognition
- Further enrichment
Bonuses, salary increases, and gift cards are an obvious form of reward. At a recent leadership conference Andy Stanley stated “What is rewarded is repeated”. I want to encourage hard workers to continue working hard. I want to encourage team members with great attitudes to continue to have great attitudes. Saying “thank you” with a monetary gift clearly communicates that the organization fully supports a team member’s positive behavior.
Another investment in employees is taking time to get to know team members on a personal level. Sometimes this investment is simply being available when a team member needs to talk through a personal issue. Sometimes this means attending a funeral or a graduation. At other times it means raising funds or providing meals. It’s taking the time to celebrate milestones and share burdens with your team members.
Public recognition is another key area of investing in your team members. At Centennial, we’ve built routine celebrations into our calendars to recognize others. At the beginning of every month we provide lunch for our entire organization. During this time we celebrate birthdays and work anniversaries. This is also a time to acknowledge other significant life-events — business or personal. Having this time set aside each month allows for purposeful public recognition.
Another tradition that has we’ve celebrated for decades is our quarterly dinners. This is not only for employees, but the spouses of our employees as well. We recognize how important a spouse’s support is. We don’t want to take them for granted.
A final way we choose to invest in employees is through further enrichment. This may include classes, conferences and extra training away from the business or it may mean offering new challenges within the business. We want our employees to continue to grow in their abilities. This is a personal benefit to them but it also provides a great benefit to our organization.
No Hard-Fast Rules for Employee Investment
The terms “may” and “could” are used liberally in this post. There are no hard-fast rules about what investments will be most meaningful. This can be challenging but it’s part of learning your team members and finding out what is important to each individual. Do they value a flexible schedule? Are they driven by incentives for high performance? Do they glow under public praise? The time you invest getting to know each team member will be a valuable investment in the success of your organization.
Look for ways to let your employees know you value them, not just their work.
How do you engage employees in your organization?