“The cost of replacing workers in tech is between 90-200% of their annual salary.”
Kristin Kaeding (8th Light) offered this statistic in one of the early remarks from last week’s General Assembly event on fostering employee engagement and culture. It’s one we’ve heard before, but it’s always staggering to be reminded. That number is one of many reasons why we were all gathered to discuss strategies for creating a strong company culture and keeping employees engaged at work.
Lindsay Dagiantis (Envoy Global) made a great point when discussing ways to instill a strong culture:
“Instead of consuming culture, participate!”
To encourage employee engagement, you can’t just stitch together a culture blanket and lay it over your team. They must contribute to building the culture, and constantly participate in growing it. That’s why, when hiring, it’s important not to solely focus on seeking culture fit, but also culture add, something we pride ourselves on at Clique Studios.
You must also work to understand what kind of culture your employees really want. To do that, the panel suggested conducting a culture sprint, the gist of which entails getting everyone in a room and having them discuss what their main values are. We did something similar, which proved invaluable for identifying what the important elements are for us to focus on as we foster our company culture.
So how can employees contribute to their company culture?
“Ultimately, what people want to know is, ‘Can I make an impact?’” -Chris Juliano (Rise Interactive)
It’s reciprocal—people want to contribute and make an impact, and culture is best formed when everyone participates. When people are participating in their culture, they are most likely engaged in their workplace. Leave room for everyone to be able to make that impact, molding the culture to the unique needs of the entire team, and encouraging engagement.
“Engagement is easy to talk about in fluffy terms…but it’s not an isolated initiative, it has to be something that’s kept in mind in all the decisions you make.”
Jenn Dudley (Enova) raises this important distinction about engagement—it’s not just a box to check, it’s a constant theme that must be weaved into your larger processes.
We thought about this a lot when building HappyMeter, the engagement tool we use at Clique. We wanted to continually provide value to the individuals using it, and help admins leverage the tool for continued positive impact. The biggest advantage of HappyMeter lies in its trend tracking over time, thus avoiding the “isolated initiative” pitfall.
How do you keep employees engaged?
“Remember to celebrate! Celebrate birthdays, work anniversaries, wins—celebrate every win! Even the small stuff.” -Jimmye Ahn (Crafty).
Taking a moment to recognize your team for their work, or just remind them you care, will never go unnoticed. It doesn’t have to be a big company-wide event every time you land a new client, but acknowledge the small stuff. That way, everyone is encouraged to keep pursuing those victories, leading to higher engagement levels and an overall stronger culture.
Don’t underestimate the power of progress. People love feedback, especially when they learn they’re making positive progress. Reinforce that as often as you can, and you’re much more likely to have engaged employees.
On the flip side of that, make sure to provide an outlet for people to give feedback.
I was curious to ask the panel how they manage receiving feedback they don’t agree with or can’t act on after working so hard to encourage employee engagement and open channels for feedback.
The main response I received was to get out in front of that feedback. Address negative feedback as early as possible, and even if you don’t agree, take strong notice if it’s coming from more than one person, and look into actionable solutions. If you can’t act on certain feedback, at least let your employees know their voices are being heard, so that they continue to give honest feedback.
Company culture can’t be created in a vacuum, and employee engagement isn’t one step in a larger process. They are both dynamic, involved elements that must be fostered throughout your company’s lifespan. They are critical to ensuring your employees’ job satisfaction and your company’s overall success.
In case you need any more convincing that it’s worth investing extra effort in these areas, stay tuned for similar events in the future, as we look to further the discussion on fostering employee engagement and culture!
– Mel DeStefano, Content Strategist at Clique Studios