How to Create Culture Activities That Boost Employee Engagement
Ten years ago, the global economy was in a different place, and the job market was highly employer driven. What that means is that candidates were competing for coveted roles in high-growth businesses, while organizations ‘had their pick’ of the best that the labor market had to offer. It wasn’t difficult for employers to find qualified employees. They were figuratively (and sometimes literally) lining up at the door.
Fast forward to 2019 and we are currently in candidate driven market. What that means is that employers are now competing with other businesses for experienced candidates, particularly in high-demand professions such as Human Resources, Technology, Executive or C-Level leadership (CIOs, CEOs, CFOs) and in web development and IT Security.
We know that the cost of time and expense that businesses experience, when hiring qualified candidates. Retention strategies matter more today than ever before, in a candidate driven market, where counter offer’s and corporate head-hunting is common. How important is culture and what impact can it have on strengthening the retention of talent for your organization? What kind of activities and programs can you innovate, to inspire employees to remain productive and happy in their daily work life?
Culture Matters More Than Compensation? It’s a Fact
New research released by Glassdoor demonstrated how much employees value culture, more than compensation. While the idea seems counterintuitive, as we all have financial needs and goals that are supported by increasing our income, the survey used the “Shapely Value” to mathematically evaluate the key factors of lifestyle, profession and satisfaction.
The six workplace factors were plotted as a pie chart, that discussed the predictive power of employee satisfaction to separate elements that were the most statistically important to predict employee satisfaction. The results revealed:
- 22% of employee satisfaction was related to corporate culture, environment and values.
- 21% of employee satisfaction was related to availability of leadership opportunities.
- New career opportunities accounted for 18% of responses.
- Work-life balance, compensation and benefits were the least impactful predictors.
Interestingly in several employer surveys, businesses placed increased salary earnings and benefits as the highest rated predictors of employee satisfaction (and retention). The disparity is something to consider, when an organization is looking to implement enhancements to corporate culture. Next, we’ll discuss the key elements that employee’s value as part of a positive business environment.
How Do Employees Define a Positive Corporate Culture?
Transparency of the pay scale for different roles within the organization, is one way that employees experience encouragement (to strive for advancement). But this does not mean that it is a comparative value for professionals, or an exercise that results in earning more money. It is an ethical standard that career professionals appreciate, as it reflects equal opportunities based on merit for all employees.
The average commute time for employees can be one-hour or longer. Another lifestyle accommodation is the flexibility to work from home (if needed) to avoid missing time at work, while being able to reduce the toll on health and family needs, resulting from long distance travel to and from work. This flexibility will continue to be a coveted culture perk as more families manage both childcare and parenting, with the care of aging family members.
Corporate environments that promote from within, earn high marks for employee satisfaction. Again, this is not directly related to an increase in annual income, but rather an acknowledgement and measurable for employees who demonstrate innovation, strong work ethic and loyalty to their employer. High-performing employees are very ingratiated by acknowledgement and new titles that indicate they are progressing levels upward on the corporate ladder.
Allowing performance-oriented employees to contribute in a transparent way, to the success of the organization also matters. Remember that your most talented employees are a resource for innovation, problem solving, new product (or service) development and other assets to the organization. Moreover, the recognition they receive for their innovation is a strong marker for job satisfaction.
What Kind of Activities Help Build Skills, Employee Loyalty and Engagement?
To engage employees and promote improved retention of talented professionals within your organization, find new ways to allow them to contribute to the overall success of your business. And when their contribution has been significant and valuable, remember to provide some valuable recognition.
Here are some ways to activate employee involvement in the workplace:
- Create a knowledge sharing system, where new employees can be mentored by volunteer staff members. This can not only shorten the onboarding process for new hires, it can help strengthen retention. The mentoring is viewed by employees as a valuable opportunity to demonstrate involvement and their natural leadership skills.
- Involve all employees in your corporate strategy, and be transparent about earnings, benchmarks, successes and where additional work and effort is needed to meet organizational goals. This enhances buy-in at every level of responsibility, and it helps connect the day to day activities of employees to the bigger success picture for the organization.
- Provide learning opportunities. Discounted career training, speaking events, professional coaching and other continuing education programs help employees feel that they are actively working on enhancing the skills that you, the employer, values most.
- Engage in departmental SCRUM projects. What ideas do your employees have that can save time, money or innovate new and profitable products or services for your business? Invest in mind mapping software and allow for monthly innovation meetings, with rewards or recognition.
- Develop an internal newsletter or magazine that is produced by employees and supervised by one or more members of the management team. Allow employees to write and share about the industry, corporate events and happenings, and celebrate both professional and personal milestones together as a business community.
When businesses find new ways to get their employees involved, those opportunities further enhance and strengthen the relationship between the employer and staff. It is that positive and strong relationship that fosters loyalty, and improved talent retention.
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