Employee Engagement on a Zero Dollar Budget

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Entrepreneurs, small business owners, and managers charged with developing new business lines are all challenged with building employee engagement while managing profitable business operations. The Recruiting Division talks about employee engagement in posts including “Practical Employee Engagement Ideas,” “3 Easy and Effective Employee Engagement Ideas,” and “Employee Engagement Ideas To Use Right Now.”

In his book “The Bright Idea Box: A Proven System to Drive Employee Engagement and Innovation,” Jad Randhawa opens chapter one with a quote by Theodore Roosevelt. “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” This is good advice to busy employers who have no budget for employee engagement but have to develop engagement in their workforces to compete and succeed in business. Randhawa cites Gallup’s findings that companies with highly engaged employees enjoy substantially higher earnings and growth rates with employees who are more productive, work more safely, and create stronger customer relationships.

Gallup’s “State of the Global Workplace” report shows declining rates of employee engagement, highlighting the need to pay attention to developing employee engagement even when there are seemingly no resources to do so.

Ask for Innovation. Take your employee engagement building cue from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and ask interviewees and employees what kind of innovative work they’ve done in their lives, at work and outside of work. Ask managers and employees to think and act like problem solvers and innovators when they come to work. Encourage them to respond to everyday challenges at work with innovative alternatives instead of giving up when failures occur. Even if your company is not an innovative powerhouse like Amazon or Google, asking for innovation and recognizing contributors energizes employees, makes them feel valued, and sets a different focus.

Be Sure to Recognize Employees. It costs nothing to thank an employee for staying late or heading a committee or finishing a project early but creates a huge payoff in employee engagement. Peer recognition programs are equally valuable. Encourage employees to write up recognition of co-workers’ extra efforts and excellence to be read at staff meetings or posted in prominent places. The free mobile app iappreciate lets you create engaging recognition activities such as inviting people to recognize others, nominating employees for awards, setting dates to recognize employees, and creating and printing certificates.

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18,400,000 applicants found their job on Facebook. One of the surprising results of Jobvite’s 7th Annual Social Recruiting Survey was how many people are finding a job through social media. More than 18 million applicants found their job on Facebook. LinkedIn is not the only place candidates are putting their professional profiles anymore. People are watching companies they’re interested in working for on social media including Facebook to find out when openings are posted, see the company culture, and interact with hiring managers and recruiters

There are five generations in the workforce today. Employers and managers are working with five generations in their employee populations today. Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, Millenials, and Gen 2020 are all in the workforce today, working together, building your company, dealing with your customers. The workforce is more diverse than ever and requires a different approach to thinking about engagement. Young managers have older workers reporting to them. Boomers and Millenials and Traditionalists all think differently about work and what they want out of it, and employers have to pay attention to generational differences when attracting and retaining employees, offering benefits, and communicating with candidates and employees.

You need to consider these facts about when you’re planning an employee engagement strategy. You can’t afford not to if you want to build and retain the qualified workforce you need for a competitive advantage.

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