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Employee Engagement Is Essential to Success – How to Achieve It

Mark Otter
Mark Otter

Your company benefits when your employees feel engaged at work. Here are the best ways to foster employee engagement in your business.

As business owners, we want our employees to be passionate about their work and invested in the company. A healthy work environment helps them thrive, and, of course, this affects the bottom line. But what's worse – having an employee quit and leave, or having an employee quit and stay on the job? In other words, they show up for work physically, but they are somewhere else mentally.

Positive attitudes from leaders set the tone for a company's work environment. This impacts how employees feel when they come to work every day. If you want your employees to be engaged in the company, you need to be engaged with your employees.

Really, you need to do five things:

  1. Show your employees you care.
  2. Reward success.
  3. Adhere to your company's mission statement and core values.
  4. Encourage teamwork and a sense of community.
  5. Continually invest in your employees and company.

1. Show your employees you care.

Let your employees know you appreciate their hard work. You can do this with both words and actions. Every company is different, so one act of appreciation may work in one environment but not the other.

As the CEO of MassageLuXe, a leading massage and facial franchise, I can't tell our franchise owners how to show appreciation for their employees. Still, I have my own corporate employees for whom I can show appreciation. I spent considerable time in the hospitality industry, and I also picked up best practices from talking to our franchise owners. I've seen firsthand how much showing appreciation for your employees can make a positive difference.

The "employee of the month" concept may sound trite, as does offering rewards like "best parking space," but companies do that because it works. People appreciate being appreciated.

Little acts of appreciation make a big difference. You can bring in donuts or ice cream to the break room on Fridays or Mondays – or both days! You can give employees a gift or a token of appreciation on their birthday or work anniversary, like a birthday card or a day off. Get the team together once a month to celebrate that month's birthdays with a cake (and compliments for the guests of honor).

These don't have to be expensive gestures, and they will still have a positive impact on the work environment.

2. Reward success.

Raises and promotions are not always part of a position, but it's important for employees to feel as though they have a goal. If their success and hard work are not rewarded, they may not feel encouraged to work as hard as they did in the past. After all, they are invested in their own success, and they need you to be as well.

Rewarding employees can also mean giving them more responsibilities or control in how they perform their duties. Your employees are more likely to feel engaged if they know they have a career and a future with your company. If they know there is a path to a more significant position within the company, they have an incentive to do their best.

Many employees might enjoy the status quo and are content with their positions in the company. However, professional growth should always be encouraged and rewarded.

For those employees who consider their position to be a steppingstone, give them a direction and a goal. They don't need to find another job at another company to step ahead. Make it clear to your employees (during reviews, meetings or informal discussions) that you're going to do everything you can to help them move forward.

What you don't want is an employee who sees no promising career ahead and then becomes content to go through the motions at work and disengage.

3. Adhere to your company's mission statement and core values.

Your whole team, and you as its leader, should embody the company's mission statement and core values. If your company's mission is to improve the lives of its customers through its products or services, this ideal should be evident in the workplace. Employees will feel more engaged with a company if they believe in its mission – and if they strongly feel that the company lives up to its values.

The mission of MassageLuXe is to provide an unparalleled experience that supports and encourages health, wellbeing, and quality of life. Our company's values promote belief in the strength and power of massage therapy and water. To promote our mission and values, MassageLuXe offers treatments to help clients with chronic pain and skin conditions. In fact, new locations are now offering mineral-infused drinking water filtered through a reverse osmosis system to their clients. Our marketing emphasizes the idea that massage therapy is more than a luxury; it is part of a whole-body wellness plan. MassageLuXe franchise owners and employees are continuously trained on the latest health and wellness massage and skincare techniques.

Your company should demonstrate its mission statement and values in every facet of the workplace. If your mission is to improve the lives of your customers, you need to show it in your customer service. Employees and managers should be well versed in the company's mission and the latest techniques and services that can move that mission forward.

4. Encourage teamwork and a sense of community.

Would you rather the talk around the watercooler be workplace gossip or about how the company's softball team beat a competitor over the weekend? Teamwork and a sense of community among employees go a long way. When employees feel like part of a team, they have more incentive to work hard and meet a common goal. This is especially useful when employees work together on a project for a client. It also helps improve customer service, and it becomes evident when employees represent the company in any capacity.

Activating a company sports team is one way to foster community spirit among employees. Another way is for the company to participate in fundraisers or charitable events. You could organize a group outing, like a one-day volunteer activity. The company can build close ties with a charitable organization in the community and develop various fundraising efforts. Allow co-workers to develop a friendly competition to see who can raise the most money, collect the most canned goods, get the most miles sponsored in a community walk, etc. Volunteer and charitable efforts not only build a sense of community among employees, but also give them a sense of pride. Who wouldn't want to work for a company that values helping the outside community?

5. Invest in your employees and your company.

Just as your employees need to feel they have a future, you want to make sure your company is always moving forward. You should always try to improve your business, not just for the success of the company itself, but also so the work atmosphere doesn't become stagnant. This means providing training, updating equipment, and even buying a new microwave for the company break room when it's needed.

One great way to invest in both your company and your employees is to offer a profit-sharing program. This is a retirement plan that gives employees a stake in the company's profits. This not only encourages longevity among employees, but also makes them feel more invested in the company. The company's long-term success really is to their benefit.

If your employees learn new skills, see a future, and feel that you are equally invested in them as they are in the company, this leads to a positive work environment. When your employees thrive, so does your company.

Image Credit: opolja / Getty Images
Mark Otter
Mark Otter Member
I am the Chief Executive Officer, President and Managing Member of MassageLuXe, a fast-growing franchise-based spa company with a mission of delivering the highest quality massage while providing a comfortable, relaxing, and luxurious environment to clients. As CEO, my role is to organize the company, implement growth, and structure the executive team so it is both proactive and reactive with the franchise base. My primary role is to ensure the success of MassageLuXe’s franchisees, and my secondary role is to facilitate the growth of the brand. I'd like to see the spa franchise quadruple in size to 250 locations over the next five years. I believe strong relationships create a strong team. I set high expectations for my team members, but I also make sure the lines of communication are always open. I admit a great leader must be able to make tough decisions, but also be willing to lean on trusted sources for information and expertise. I'd say my greatest strengths are my drive, leadership, and ability to unite a team around a common goal — even during the most challenging of times as we've seen in 2020. Those attributes have been instrumental in strengthening the relationship between the franchise owner and franchisor. MassageLuXe has enjoyed a renewed sense of excitement since I came on board and is well-positioned for continued growth and success. Prior to joining the MassageLuXe team, I spent seven years as a Division President for a national burger brand and five years as a franchisee of an upscale steak and seafood brand. My early career was spent with a national family dining brand, where I worked my way through the ranks from General Manager to Regional Vice President of Operations during a 12 year period. I live in St. Louis with my wife, who also works for the brand. I'm an avid golfer and spend much of my free time trying to beat my daughter on the links, with very limited success.