Is your career progressing? Do you have time for a life outside of work? Do you love what you do? If you answered yes to any of these questions, chances are you’re happy and engaged in your job. But how would your employees answer those questions? These three major areas of employee satisfaction directly correlate to employee engagement:
News flash — job security is not especially important to your most motivated, high-achieving employees. While stability may keep them going through the motions, opportunities for career growth motivates high performers. Showing that you care about what employees can deliver now and in the future strengthens the link between the employee and the company. If you provide the blueprint for development with a career plan, employees will associate their success to your company. Sit down with employees two to four times a year to discuss career plans. For smaller or flatter organizations that may not be able to project a definitive path, offer training opportunities to help employees grow their knowledge base. Use this to your advantage by having them share what they’ve learned with other employees.
Autonomy, or the perception of it, can translate to employee ownership, accountability, pride and engagement. Try having managers consciously look for opportunities to assign only the end goal and deadline, leaving the “how to” for employees to decide. If that’s not reasonable, managers should carve out time periodically to simply ask employees how they’d do something. Even Starbucks takes a break from its standardization to ask employees where they think machines should be placed and how customers should be greeted. If your company is overrun with managers who have trouble loosening the reins, consider whether fostering an autonomous culture could be a criteria in managers’ performance reviews. Attaching that accountability drives managers to act on creating autonomy rather than just give it lip service.
Everyone thinks their time is precious. So precious, in fact, that according to a Business News Weekly survey, 42 percent of working adults would be willing to give up a percentage of their salary for more flexibility at work. Translation: work-life programs could cut down on your overhead. Here’s the catch — they’re not one-size-fits-all, so designing and implementing a sustainable program that’s the right fit for your company can be daunting.
Assess your employees’ work-life needs by distributing an online work-life balance survey to employees. Use those results to assess which options to offer in the context of your company’s size, industry and location. Offerings for more balance could be flex time, working remotely, a compressed workweek or seasonal schedules.
For example, say your survey shows that a majority of your employees cited having more flexibility to care for small children. Considering the average baby is expected to be sick 10 times in its first year, the ability to occasionally work from home could bring relief to the parent of a sick baby. Remember to reinforce in practice that employees are evaluated on performance, not the number of hours they spend in the office.
The work-life balance challenge usually lies in proper management, so provide your supervisors the training, tools and incentives needed to manage well, and watch your employees’ feelings of fulfillment, autonomy and balance soar.
Rebecca Regard is a human resources adviser for Texas-based G&A Partners, an HR and administrative services company.
This article originally appeared in the Houston Business Journal.