When I hear companies blame the economy for their inability to focus on employee engagement I have to force myself to control what would be the worlds largest eye roll. If my social filter is thin that day I might not be able to hold back. The reason I get worked up over this is because SO MANY people tell me that they “can’t afford” to create a culture where employees are truly engaged. The idea that employee engagement is expensive is a crock.
…Yet I can see why people think that. Lets face it, companies like Google have been telling us for years that the key to being an awesome place to work is throwing money at your employees. Ten thousand dollars worth of food a day, free family ski trips, passing out stacks of hundred dollar bills to employees in the parking lot…with all this craziness going on, who wouldn’t tie engagement and culture to money?
But the truth is, once Google started taking away those monetary perks the cracks in their foundation started to show. Employees started leaving for many of the same reasons people leave other companies – they weren’t engaged.
Creating an engaged work force has very little to do with money and a lot to do with how much time and energy you’re willing to put into getting the right people in the right seats, keeping your good employees passionate, and getting rid of employees who are dragging everyone else down.
Lets face it, keeping your employees happy is hard work. It takes being proactive, listening to their problems, and (gasp) doing something about them. It’s about communicating, motivating, and inspiring your employees. It’s about being open and honest with them about your struggles as a company and asking them to take part in helping you solve those problems. It’s about empowering them and giving them a voice.
None of those things take money.