This post originally appeared on Benefitfocus.
It’s easy to say that companies need to put their people first—and unfortunately for many organizations, it’s easier said than done. When employees hear the term “HR,” they often picture a clutter of paperwork, processes and policies rather than the excitement of building and strengthening relationships with people throughout their company.
That’s bad for business.
So what if we flipped it around? What would happen if employees did believe their employers really cared about them? According to a recent study by Limeade, when employees felt their employers were concerned about their well-being, they were 38 percent more engaged and 18 percent more likely to go the extra mile. Now that’s good for business—and for your people, too.
Help your HR team actively engage your people with these great tips:
Focus on building a community, not a company.
The office shouldn’t just be a place to clock in and out. It should be an outlet for employees to focus on what really matters to them. Yes, there’s value in grinding out work, but if you want that work to be awesome, make sure it’s meaningful. And don’t forget the power of peer networks. Research has shown that even small increases in social cohesiveness can lead to large gains in a company’s production, so be sure to encourage collaboration and employee bonding. Help teammates break down silos and form stronger connections, and give your managers the resources they need to be as supportive as possible.
Key leaders should drive culture.
Assess the overall organizational culture, and identify any cultural or leadership barriers that might be getting in the way. It can sometimes be a difficult conversation, but helping position your leaders to exemplify and bring your company values to life can have a great impact on employee engagement. The entire C-suite should be committed to consistent organizational support for the personal well-being of your people. Hold your executive team accountable for living the culture every day, and keep everyone aligned on what truly matters—your employees.
Communicate in a compelling way.
HR leaders communicate the organizational values and direction, but employees don’t always buy what they’re selling. At its core, this is a marketing problem. Build a sustainable plan for reaching people where they are, with tools they already use. Send clear, succinct and personable emails to keep your employees informed. And be sure to post the same information on social networks and attention-grabbing flyers in break rooms. If your messaging doesn’t feel easy, enjoyable or real, it likely won’t work. And avoid thinking of communication as a one-way street. Give your employees a voice with online quizzes, surveys and suggestion boxes—and show that you hear what they are saying by responding with meaningful action.
Finding the right combination of community, culture and communication for your organization may require some experimentation. But when you put people at the heart of everything you do, you could get far more than increased engagement. You see an outpouring of energy and commitment—and that’s good business.