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Three Simple Rules for Employee Engagement

Updated: Sep 20, 2023

Increase employee and customer brand loyalty

Photo Credit: Collective Possibilities

Oftentimes when speaking about products or companies I love, I find the conversation quickly turns to the importance and impact of corporate culture — and consequently, employee engagement.

There are several reasons for this, including the importance of employee engagement when attracting talent, retaining talent, and driving innovation. But more importantly in our increasingly transparent world when a company treats its employees poorly, we all hear about it!

Social media and access to online reviews mean everyone will hear about the fact your first order of business when the pandemic hit was to let all your junior people go within a week! A significant number of companies fail to understand they are under the microscope. That there is a clear link between how employees are being treated and the brand value.

Engaged employees and customer loyalty to drive brand success. While this is more difficult perhaps to manage in our new virtual working reality, it is more crucial than ever. Customers are discerning, when values don’t align internally, customers can sense it externally.

The number one customer

“Your number one customers are your people.” — Ian Hutchinson, author of People Glue

The first customers of our brands are our employees; if they buy into our value proposition, so will our customers.

In a competitive global environment — and now a highly transparent and virtual global environment — all other factors being equal, employees can be a differentiating factor and an effective marketing tool as the most important brand promoters.

Employees are seeking companies that can give them a purpose, or that align with their own purpose, and this is when “Best Employer” awards and ratings on Glass Door can make a difference.

The startup culture

Bits & Pretzels Stage — Raj Hayer, 2015

My first time at Bits & Pretzels in Munich 2015, the importance of employee engagement was highlighted by every leader on stage. “What is more valuable than having good people on board?” — Jan Miczaika, COO at Wooga.

Perhaps the relative importance is in part due to start-ups being more cost-conscious — employee salaries make up a significant portion of the budget — but also because they understand that their first employees can make or break them.

In an industry sector that relies on innovation and agility, engaged employees are the difference between seed funding or no funding, the difference of survival for early-stage startups!

Three simple rules of thumb

Even in this pandemic struck economy, there are businesses hiring and growing and this is probably the most exciting time to be exploring new opportunities and possibilities.

1. Hire Carefully

Many CEOs and founders referred to an intensive interview process and extolled the virtues of finding the right team. Pieter Van Der Does, CEO and co-founder at Adyen had a clear and resonant policy on people:

“Hire carefully and fire rapidly”

He endorsed utilizing management and board members for the hiring process, as well as the probationary period to weed out those that might have slipped through and clearly don’t ‘fit’.

2. Fire rapidly

Many large organizations have a critical problem that they believe it is too expensive to fire or to “let go” of the senior members of staff.

However, I challenge them to analyze the damage of keeping disengaged people on board. It has been proven that employees that are not engaged are not only productive but are also actively undermining the company and its other more engaged employees!

3. Motivate well

Once the right team is on board, find out what they need to succeed. Find out what motivates them and give them the tools they need, i.e. if they want 3–4 computer monitors to develop, or need four coffee breaks a day with others to feel inspired, then give it to them!

People who take the job for only the money will not be loyal to the company or its ideals. Once you have your team, motivate them intrinsically so they don’t want to leave and are bought-in to the success of the company! Retaining good talent far outweighs the costs of hiring someone new.

. . .

“To win in the marketplace you must first win in the workplace.” — Doug Conant, CEO of Campbell’s Soup

All other things being equal, i.e. the product or service is in demand, employee engagement will be the core differentiating factor for the longevity of the business. So remember:

  1. Hire slowly

  2. Fire rapidly

  3. Motivate well

In an increasingly transparent world where our desired talent and future hires are seeking roles with purpose, our company values and employees who represent them are the keys to a sustainable, innovative, and competitive future.

Employee engagement. Start here.

. . .

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