Finding and keeping talented employees is one of the biggest issues facing chief executives and employers today. With less than one-third of employees engaged in their jobs in 2014, according to a recent Gallup poll, it's no wonder that human resources directors and consultants are busy coming up with all kinds of innovative strategies to entice skilled professionals to join their ranks and commit to long-term careers.
The unique perks offered by companies today range from flexible schedules to work-from-home options to spa treatments, game rooms and unlimited paid time off. I hate to sound like a bitter old codger, but when I was starting out, we were lucky to get a week off after our first full year on the job. If we wanted to leave work early or come in late, we had to deduct it from our vacation time.
But the larger issue is that perks are not doing the trick. Spa treatments and office beers may be enough to attract talent, but they're not enough to keep employees loyal and focused. That's because indulging employees is not the same thing as engaging them. To fully engage employees, financial services firms need to stop focusing on the perks and start focusing on their culture.
An engaged employee is someone who feels committed and emotionally connected to both his company and his job. To cultivate this sensibility, companies need to focus on the following three strategies:
1. Show Employees the Big Picture
Employees will only be committed to their organizations if they understand its larger purpose. People need to understand why their jobs matter. As a leader, you have a vision for your company. Your role is to help workers understand that vision and how the individual roles they play within it.
2. Give Workers a Voice
Employee engagement occurs when people feel they have played a real role in an organization's success. People support what they have helped to create. Tell your employees what your company needs to accomplish, and ask them to help you figure out how to do it. Listen to their ideas and put them into play. Then sit back and watch as their commitment and connection to the company keeps getting stronger.
3. Help Them Realize Their Dreams
We all want our employees to invest in us. But we need to ask ourselves if we are investing in them. If you want to engage your team, begin by taking the time to discover who they are, what they want and what they need to learn. Then help them get there. If you invest in their dreams, they will fully engage in yours.
Employee perks should be icing on the cake or a nice way to say thanks for a job well done. The harder but more meaningful work comes in building a culture that makes employees want to stick around.
Motivational speaker and business growth expert Meridith Elliott Powell is the author of several books, including Winning In The Trust & Value Economy.