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In our ever-increasing digital age, keeping employees attentive and motivated every day is posing new challenges for businesses around the world. Employee engagement has never been more important to employee retention. Engaged employees are more inspired, creative, and dedicated to producing innovative work, and more likely to stay with a company whom they feel appreciates them as an individual. So how do we keep our employees focused and engaged in North America? We utilize the effective combination of emphasizing the importance of a personalized career path and employee appreciation. Below are just a few ways we nurture and drive employee engagement at Text100:
Individualized Career Path: Employees want to feel that their day–to-day work adds value to the company, as well as challenges them in areas of personal interest. People who feel they are contributing to the company’s success tend to hold themselves more accountable for producing high quality work. Our Career Navigator performance system is designed so that while there are overall objectives for each level, the employee has room to build in individual objectives, which remain open and flexible. Providing employees with the opportunity to develop skills in their areas of interest empowers them to step outside of their comfort zone, presenting more challenges and a break from their normal routine.
Coffee Talks: Showing employees you genuinely care about their well-being opens the door for the employee to develop an emotional attachment to an organization, and therefore be more engaged in their work. Employees don’t want to feel like human capital; they want to be valued for who they are. “Coffee Talks” lead by senior management are highly popular with junior staff. They provide an open door and open forum environment where their voices, ideas, and concerns can be heard. Employees want to know their opinion counts, and providing the casual meeting with our leaders brings it back to the human level.
Simple (and spontaneous) Recognition: Each of our offices in North America conduct a simple, yet effective, peer award each week in staff meetings. This is a cost effective but fun way to honor and appreciate the hard work being done, or to make light of a laugh-worthy scenario. In Boston, they host the “kick ass/jack ass” awards each week. Peers nominate the best and worst (aka hilarious) highlights from the week. The San Francisco, New York City and Rochester offices host “Success of the Week” where the peer nominated winner is celebrated during the staff meeting. New York City ups the ante, by tallying the most wins at the end of each quarter and presenting the winner with a gift card to the place of their choice.
We also like to keep folks on their toes with random “acts of kindness” in the office. On a hot summer day, we might host a sundae bar with the local ice cream shop, or take the infamous ‘bar cart’ outside to the streets. Whether it be a hosted game night with pizza or bagels for breakfast, rewarding and recognizing employees for their hard work is vital to keeping them engaged.
Get up and get out: Volunteering year-round is not only a great way to give back to our community; it gives employees a chance to get out of the office and learn to collaborate and work together in new ways. The team building energy that stems from volunteer work is invaluable. The Text100 San Francisco office participated in the NA “Month of Service,” with teams going out to local Boys and Girls Club locations to tutor and play with kids during their after school programs in some of the harsher neighborhoods of the city. During “National Park month,” we took a team to help with landscaping a new project in the Presidio, a part of the Golden Gate National Park. Overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge, the team learned about the vegetation of the area while helping cover major ground for the project.
While a company’s approach to engagement will vary from culture to country, the human desire to feel valued is universal. We can all work together to not just drive engagement initiatives, but create and maintain a truly engaging work culture.