Bruce Clarke, CAI’s CEO, discussed assets employees or job candidates can offer employers in the October 23 edition of his News and Observer column, “The View from HR.” Bruce said that the single most important asset employees can offer is their spark.
“When employers see no spark, they assume there is no engine,” he said.
Well if their greatest asset is their spark because it shows their willingness to learn, work, grow and produce for their employers, then they are essentially their company’s greatest asset. Business cannot survive without the efforts from employees.
As an employer, it is not hard to forget that your staff is your greatest asset. A down economy, lean budgets, and limited resources can stress out the strongest organizations, but not realizing that your employees are critical to your organization’s success can cause dismal effects. The American Institute of Stress said that US industries lose almost $300 billion per year because of absenteeism, diminished productivity, turnover, and medical, legal and insurance fees related to workplace stress.
Unhappy employees who feel unappreciated are a disservice to organizations because they interact with customers daily, promote and sell products, and cultivate the processes that help drive business. When given proper attention, workers become motivated to achieve company goals. They will express creativity and a desire to learn if they are engaged with their organization.
There are several steps that can be made to engage and satisfy your most important asset even if your company is struggling with budget cuts or has downsized staff. The strategies below will help foster a work environment that encourages commitment and maximizes productivity:
1. Acknowledge Their Importance
An employer-employee relationship should work as a two-way commitment. If an organization wants its workers to perform at their best, then it needs to make an effort to give them its best, whether it is through information, training or resources to complete their jobs.
Frequently tell employees that their efforts are appreciated and support the organization’s survival. Always try to keep commitments with them, and never overpromise if you cannot deliver. This will show them that you respect them, their time and their work, which, in turn, will increase the level of respect they give you.
2. Be Truthful and Transparent
Being transparent and telling the truth are essential to maintaining good relationships with your employees. Your staff members spend most of their week working, so their need to understand how the company is doing should not be ignored. During staff meetings or through company-wide emails, alert them of important changes, data and other items to keep them informed.
Do not avoid questions posed by staff that might be uncomfortable or have unfavorable answers, such as, “How are we doing financially?” Answering questions will eliminate uncertainty even if the outcome is undesirable. Keeping your staff up-to-date with company news will help them feel plugged in to the organization and increase their commitment level.
3. Help Them Reach Their Individual Goals
Employees know they were hired because of the skills and knowledge they could offer. They know their job description, and they work to deliver on expectations. For all of the work they put into their organization, they deserve its support.
Show your employees that you are grateful for their contributions and want to help them succeed. Offer them opportunities to learn new skills and information through training. If a professional group related to their field exists, encourage them to join. Additionally, ask them what they would like to accomplish during their time at the organization.
4. Ask for Their Opinions
Employees want to know that their views matter to their organization. They put in a great deal of effort to keep their companies running, so their desire to have input is expected. Because they spend ample time with customers and products, they have first-hand accounts on what is working and what is not.
They will appreciate being part of the decision-making process because it shows their organization has confidence in them. Include staffers in discussions about improving business or strengthening customer service. Get their feedback on company policies and recent enterprises. Do not shy away from opposition. Allow employees to express their ideas and different methods for tackling projects.
For additional tips on improving employee morale and engagement, please contact a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.