5 Bottom Line-Boosting People Strategies Ways in which leadership can foster new levels of employee morale, engagement and productivity.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
People are nothing less than a company's greatest asset. This has become a common notion, especially with the onset of the "Great Resignation," and is a frequent topic of conversation as companies seek to improve their people practices. In addition, the tight labor market has created a renewed war for talent, which has sharpened focus on implementing strategies that address morale, engagement, productivity and turnover — all critical factors in the success equation.
Five such strategies leaders should consider:
1. Cultivate and maintain a strong corporate culture
The overarching people strategy for every successful organization is the creation of a strong and nurturing corporate culture, one in which employers take care of their team members. When companies get this culture right, it lays the foundation for all business initiatives. Corporate culture, the lifeblood of an organization, sets the tone for and affects every aspect of operations, from recruiting and hiring to employee performance and overall profitability. Cultivating one that encourages work-life balance, flexibility, community involvement, professional development and mental health can lead to a happy workforce committed to success — an environment that embodies the business's mission and core values as well as boosts employee morale, engagement and productivity.
2. Invest in hiring and retention
Hiring and retaining top performers is a high priority for good leaders. Although taking on employees with requisite skills and experience is important, it's also essential to evaluate each person's values and characteristics as they relate to the culture. Those who fit well within it will assimilate quicker, become productive sooner and provide a positive boost to coworkers.
A considerable amount of time, energy and funding is involved in this process, making it costly for businesses when there's turnover, so leaders should also create a robust employee retention program, one that not only helps keep top performers but also reduces re-staffing expenditures. In addition to competitive compensation, retention efforts should include recognition and awards programs, training and development opportunities and open-door policies that address both financial and emotional needs of staff members. When the right people are in the right roles with the appropriate incentives, there will be less churn, greater engagement and increased productivity.
3. Train and develop talent
Offering an effective training and development program is a critical strategy that affects businesses, employees and job seekers. Savvy leaders recognize the importance of providing opportunities to hone existing talents as well as learn new skills, enabling team members to grow within a company and make greater contributions. In addition, businesses and organizations that provide professional development programs typically rank higher on prospective candidates' target lists, as they seek to both increase knowledge and advance in work and in life.
To that end, training programs should include a variety of resources that align with business objectives, such as on-the-job training, supervisory instruction, mentoring programs, instructor-led courses, online learning and conferences.
4. Identify and coach good leaders
Leaders at every level within an organization are the lynchpins to success, as they are responsible for driving employee performance and profitability. Identifying the ones who display positive attributes (such as servant leadership, communication skills, emotional intelligence, team-building abilities and technical knowledge) is crucial to ongoing success. Such individuals should be provided with the necessary coaching and mentoring to excel even further — to become leaders of the future.
When companies have the foresight to identify and coach these leaders, they are implementing a key strategy that not only helps to retain top talent, but also secures the future for the company and its workforce by instilling positive characteristics and values that trickle down to employees.
5. Enhance and promote the employee experience
A sharper focus on enhancing the overall experience of staff members is gaining importance as businesses strive to streamline their processes and ensure that all initiatives align with mission and values, and part of this is providing a consistent and unified approach to interactions with employees. Creating an optimal environment for every phase of this experience — from applicant tracking to recruiting efforts, onboarding to performance reviews and from training programs to team-building activities — helps to solidify the culture, increase engagement and reduce turnover.
In addition, with more and more employees sharing and rating experiences on job sites and social media platforms, positive posts can increase brand awareness, improve recruiting efforts, attract top talent and influence consumer decisions, and all affect the bottom line.