A ‘Foolish’ Guide to Employee Engagement

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Most companies with hourly employees know that employee engagement is absolutely critical but largely lacking in many workplaces today.

During the recent TDn2K Global Best Practices Conference, Tom Gardner, the CEO and cofounder of The Motley Fool reminded the audience that the average Gallup employee engagement score is 30 percent. Even if you’re lucky enough to have an engagement score of 80 percent, that still means that one out of every five of your employees doesn’t care about coming to work.

Employee Engagement Best Practices

The majority of college graduates entering the workforce are looking for three core things from an employer: money, flexibility, and purpose. Here are some best practices that Gardner shared with us:

  1. Have an electronic (or traditional) white board that automatically updates sales, goals, and examples of living your company’s vision and values (purpose).
  2. Create a compensation committee that’s focused on non-financial rewards.
  3. Use some of the basic tools and tests that are available online to ask your employees how to do their work – and increase effectiveness.
  4. Recognize people regularly.
  5. Consider using You Earned It. You Earned It is an app that allows peer-to-peer recognition. You can set currency parameters in the app that translate into gift cards and philanthropic giving. It’s easy to set up donations to No Kid Hungry/Share Our Strength  through the app, which can support your company’s social responsibility goals.
  6. Turn your organization into a social network. Use Slack, Yammer, or even a Facebook page to encourage communication.

Does Everyone Know Your Core Values?

In addition to social interaction and interpersonal communication, Gardner challenged the audience to consider a larger workplace issue: Are your values really “core” if everyone can’’t recite them?

DandelionHave just a few core values and make sure at least two are inviolate – or at least called out when they are violated.

Ask your team members to share/write the value that they bring to work every day, and post it by their work station. Gardner gave us a great example of a coworker whose value was to “Have beer every Friday afternoon.” Gardner discovered that his colleague looked forward to Friday afternoon beers to wind down with his peers, discuss the week’s successes, frame the following week’s challenges, and transition away from work and into a weekend with family.

Engage With the Community

Gardner reminded the audience that it’s also important to engage with the community. Here are some of his suggestions on this topic

  1. Explore communities and relationships outside of your organization. The founder of LinkedIn says that 90 percent of what your organization needs to succeed in the next 5-10 years sits outside of your organization.
  2. Designate a single person in each organization as responsible for reaching out to and connecting with the community. This can support your brand and also help with grassroots recruiting initiatives.
  3. Test cool new stuff and innovative thinking. Find the visionaries in your operations and engage them.
  4. Enroll employees by always looking for ways to improve processes, products, services, etc. Consider having an innovation award to recognize new ideas that were integrated into your core business.

Employee engagement can lower your turnover costs and can also increase your sales. According to TDn2K’s Black Box Intelligence  data, stores with the highest retention enjoy comp sales of 3.7 percent as opposed to 1.6 percent.

So, pick a few of these “foolish” tips, do them really well, and watch your comp sales, retention rates, and customer satisfaction scores soar!

A version of this article originally appeared on HR Virtuoso.

By Liz D'Aloia