The Employee Engagement Factor: Become a Better Leader, Bring in Greater Profits

By Mark Tepper, an EO Cleveland member and president of Strategic Wealth Partners

What do you consider your most important responsibility as a small business owner? Guiding the fiscal growth of your company? Bringing in big business? Ensuring the business’s long-term reputation? How does establishing company culture fit into your vision of yourself as an entrepreneur?

I read an interesting article by Jeffrey Deckman awhile back that stated that “the actions of senior leaders and direct managers are the most important drivers of employee engagement by a factor of between 400 percent and 700 percent.”

Increasing employee engagement by even a minor amount can have an incredibly huge effect on your company’s profitability. After all, a company can only be as successful as its employees. Deckman encourages his readers to think of this correlation by sharing the equation: “EE=EBITDA.”

While there is plenty that goes into your company’s EBITDA, it would do most small business owners a world of good to focus on their company cultures—especially considering the Gallup poll finding that only 13 percent of employees worldwide are engaged at work.

Building a great company culture now will not only boost your company’s profitability in the present, it will create the type of workers and teams that buyers in the future will want. Here’s how you can do it:

  • Articulate Your Vision: Your employees should know the big picture of your company and how they fit into that. Regularly talking about company-wide goals and how they can be implemented at an individual level can provide greater employee motivation and engagement.
  • Ask What They Want: If you sense your employees aren’t as happy at the workplace as you’d like them to be, one of the best things you can do is ask them “Why?” Take their opinions seriously and work hard to implement the kind of changes they want to see.
  • Put Incentives in Place: Salary and job security are two items that always pop up in employee engagement surveys. Good bonus and incentive programs show that you’re willing to put your money where your mouth is: You’re able to recognize employees’ hard work and contributions in a way that matters to them greatly.
  • Cut Down on the Red Tape: Does your workplace have a lot of old procedures in place? It might be time to rethink the way things are done around the office. Streamlining workflow cuts down on decision-making time; interdepartmental communication lags and waste, while simultaneously boosting employee engagement and productivity.
  • Get Flexible: No, I’m not asking you to take up a yoga class. Instead, improve the flexibility of your work environment. In company-wide surveys, employees often ask for flexible work hours and the ability to occasionally work from home.

Support Socializing: There’s a reason companies like Google have games in their offices. By encouraging workers to get along and talk during work hours, you’ll be fostering workplace happiness and creating stronger, more communicative professional teams.

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