When brainstorming on how to improve business and profits, we first tend to look outward to the customer or client: how to attract them, care for them, and keep them. But maybe we need to start by looking inward at our employees. Are your employees “engaged”? Not just happy employees, but employees who are actively engaged in the mission of your company and won’t hesitate to go the extra mile. Having engaged employees is not something that can simply be bought or created with a couple rounds of free donuts. Employee engagement grows out of an excellent company culture.
So how’s your company culture? Gallup has done the math and reports that in top-tier companies the ratio of engaged to actively disengaged employees is 9.57 to 1. In average organizations the ratio is 1.83 to 1. Gallup further estimates that the cost of these disengaged employees – who do sub-par work and poison the attitude and efficiency of those around them – is about $300 billion annually in lost productivity. When your employees are engaged they will work harder, customers will be happier, and your business will flourish.
So what can you do to improve your company culture? RedBalloon, an Australian company specializing in reward and recognition solutions, has conducted some research that identifies “flexible working arrangements, recognition programs, non-cash rewards/incentives, training and development programs, paid parental leave and time off for study” as the keys to helping employees become more engaged in the workplace.
This doesn’t have to be an expensive proposition. It really boils down to being flexible, providing your employees with the tools they need to improve, and recognizing hard work and individual success. Of course, a few donuts at the next staff meeting never hurt.