A business thrives on connection. Whether those connections are with customers, clients, suppliers, or colleagues, the relationships we form in the business arena provide resources and opportunities to promote your business.
As is commonly acknowledged, employees are some of a company’s most important assets. Employee engagement is a fundamental business principle that supports a strong business and business continuity. Investment in employee engagement as part of your philosophy will strengthen your company and lead to growth opportunities.
Developing Engaged Employees
Professional development in employees is vital for building your business, supporting business continuity, and engaging your employees. Providing training opportunities such as access to courses on office resources, technology, and business processes outside of the standard job training gives employees the chance to explore other development areas and better understand the intersection of their role with different company roles. This cross training strengthens the company as employees can shift into other positions on an as-needed basis or lead the way to internal professional advancement within the company when the fit is right to transition an employee to a new role. It is better to have a solid team in place and enhance their skills with professional development to help move the business forward rather than scramble for a replacement should the unexpected happen.
Professional development opportunities you may want to consider for your employees include:
- Internal cross-training
- Tuition assistance for certification or degree programs
- Attendance at industry conferences and workshops
- Online training programs developing leadership and communication skills through development vendors
Supporting Employees Well-Being
Happy and healthy employees are stronger assets to a business. Employees now look for additional benefits that, at one time, seemed unconventional. These well-being benefits include supporting employee mental health through wellness programs such as EAPs or counseling resources and physical health through gym reimbursements and fitness event reimbursements. Organizing or sponsoring in-person activities such as a retreat, group activity, or a team fitness event is a great way to promote employee connection, engagement, and well-being. Employees may also find volunteerism rewarding. Sponsoring opportunities to volunteer as a team increases employee engagement, team-work, and a sense of purpose in the broader community.
Creating Social Engagement While Distant
In today’s reality of remote offices and social distancing, opportunities to engage, socialize, and relax together have diminished. We crave socialization both in our personal and our professional lives. Employees who can socialize in a work-sponsored environment can increase their connections to their colleagues, strengthen a team-oriented environment, and help their company thrive.
With many employees working from home or socially distant due to the pandemic, we miss out on the quick opportunities to chat over a cup of coffee or organically brainstorm business solutions. Providing social engagement opportunities keeps the door to communication open among employees and encourages employees to reach out to one another when there are opportunities to collaborate.
Some ideas to promote social engagement while distant include:
- Virtual Trivia: Virtual trivia events can be held either with a professional trivia company or with someone from your office who can organize an event. This allows employees to have friendly competition and connect outside the working context and build relationships.
- Recipe exchanges for the holidays: Holidays certainly look different this year, but encouraging recipe exchanges among employees can foster relationships and conversation.
- Sharing Photos/Videos: while we are distant, sharing photos can help “put a face to the name” and encourage connections that reach across business unit teams and foster professional relationships and team collaboration.
Authenticity in Engagement
Authenticity in employee engagement will bring rewards to the business, leadership, and employees. Being authentic in your desire to develop and engage employees is an important first step in guiding your plans. If you do not know where to start, ask a trusted employee for ideas on where to start. A genuine interest in developing your employees will lead to the answers and opportunities that will strengthen your business and provide continuity going forward.