The job market continues to improve and companies are fighting to retain their best employees and attract new talent. Business leaders are scrambling to figure out how to improve employee engagement. A recent study by the Harvard Business Review surveyed over 550 executives about employee engagement. While the majority of those leaders consider employee engagement an important issue, less than a quarter of them feel that their employees are highly engaged.
I entered the workforce about two and a half years ago. I’ve had the pleasure of working at Exec-Comm my entire (yet young) professional life. Over these two and a half years, Exec-Comm has modernized and adapted its employee engagement and retention strategies. Rather than making major changes to firm policies, Exec-Comm focused on more subtle changes that drastically improved an already enjoyable work life.
First, Exec-Comm introduced new policies around employee work hours. A recently implemented New York State law required some of Exec-Comm’s employees to begin filling out timesheets. While this change could have easily been seen as a way for managers to micro-manage their employees, Exec-Comm quickly adapted to the changes and, instead, created a new benefit for employees.
Exec-Comm now allows all employees to make their own schedules. We can work the hours that suit us best as long as we work the 35 or 40 hours a week required. This simple change reduced stress during morning commutes, added flexibility for doctors and other important appointments, and mitigated employee frustration about keeping timesheets.
Monthly Happy Hours
To build comradery and community, Exec-Comm began hosting monthly happy hours. On the last Friday of each month, employees convene at our favorite company spot (Windfall on 39th street) and enjoy one another’s company. These events give us the opportunity to get to know our colleagues in a different light. Additionally, employees feel as though they are consistently being rewarded for their hard work.
Most recently, Exec-Comm introduced a new mentorship program for employees who are just starting out in their careers and have been with the firm for 3 years. Each person’s experience is different based on their growth goals. In step one, you are paired with a consultant to mentor and coach you to improve your communication skills. In step two, you are paired with a specialist to mentor you in preparation for a specific new role or to help target growth opportunities. Mike Feeley, the first employee to experience the mentorship program expressed, “the mentorship experience has been a tremendous help for my growth as a professional. It has given me full confidence in my technical and client-facing skills.”
While employee engagement is a hot topic right now, you don’t need to overhaul your entire HR policy manual to make employees happy. Little changes can motivate them in big ways. A free drink once in a while doesn’t hurt, either.
How does your company motivate you at work?