Hiring Wisdom: 10 Commandments of Employee Engagement

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With the holidays and a new year upon us, it’s a good time to pause, look at the big picture, and resolve to do even better in 2015.

In that light, here’s something to ponder: Other than a paycheck, do you give your employees good reasons to come to work each day?

Here are a few ideas to help you pump up employee engagement and make recruiting new hires easier too:

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The 10 Commandments of Engagement

  1. Thou Shalt Differentiate Yourself — What do you offer that other employers don’t? Are your policies more family-friendly? Maybe you’re more flexible or you promote from within more often. Whatever it is, talk it up, publicize it, because your people may not know or notice unless you point it out.
  2. Thou Shalt Make Sure They Feel In on Things — Solicit their opinions, brainstorm solutions to problems, tell them the whys of what’s required of them and never let the reason be, “Because I said so.
  3. Thou Shalt Recognize Every Job Well DoneThe best way to encourage positive behavior is to recognize it immediately. Make the recognition specific and personal. Whether it’s written or verbal, it should go something like: “[Person’s name], you handled that [specific task/interaction] in the best possible way. I really appreciate how you [what the person did].”
  4. Thou Shalt Give the Gift of Your Undivided Attention –Regularly, be it once a year or once week, set aside some time for a meeting or lunch with each of your key players (the ones you would hate to lose).
  5. Thou Shalt Make Work Fun — Contests, jokes, pass out lollipops, bring in bagels on Fridays, ring the bell when a sale is made, celebrate employment anniversaries and birthdays. There’s no reason work can’t be fun and lots of good reasons why it should be!
  6. Thou Shalt Express Your Appreciation — In addition to recognizing specific tasks well done, appreciate your people for behaviors that make a difference. Thank them for helping co-workers, for great teamwork, for dependability, for taking responsibility. What you focus on increases, so focus on what you appreciate.
  7. Thou Shalt Re-evaluate Your Rules — Ground rules ensure that everyone is on the same page about how the game is played. Where some employers go wrong, however, is when they don’t trust their people to do the right thing and have a rule or regulation for everything. Make sure every rule is necessary and that everyone understands why it is necessary.
  8. Thou Shalt Be a Role Model for Respect — Who gets more respect, a bank vice president or a store cashier? Did you ever stop to think the cashier probably handles more money, a greater variety of transactions, and interacts with more customers every day than the VP? All work is worthy of respect and management sets the tone. When each employee feels respected and valued, they’ll respect management, each other, and, most importantly, your customers.
  9. Thou Shalt Build Relationships — Good relationships with managers, co-workers, and clients are just as important, if not more so, to many employees as is their compensation. Once again, management sets the tone with things like team building exercises, mentoring programs, asking all employees to vet potential new hires, roundtable meetings, and annual retreats.
  10. Thou Shalt Make Responsibility Your Modus Operandi — Let it be known that everyone will be held responsible for meeting their commitments and fulfilling their duties. This does not involve placing blame. Rather, when someone falls short, seize the opportunity to find out what went wrong and why and how to improve systems and communications so it never happens again.

May you and yours enjoy a peaceful and prosperous 2015!

This was originally published in the December 2014 Humetrics Hiring Hints newsletter.

Mel Kleiman, CSP, is an internationally-known authority on recruiting, selecting, and hiring hourly employees. He has been the president of Humetrics since 1976 and has over 30 years of practical experience, research, consulting and professional speaking work to his credit. Contact him at mkleiman@humetrics.com.

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2 Comments on “Hiring Wisdom: 10 Commandments of Employee Engagement

  1. Attention and differentiation are crucial as differentiating factors, especially when it comes to attracting Millennials. I’d add: “Thou shalt see mobile as a primary mode of communication and feedback sharing”, real-time will be key in 2015.

  2. Well done with these! I’d like to note that though commandments 3 and 6 seem the same, they are very different. Recognizing employees for positive behavior can be separate from showing appreciation for a job well done on specific tasks. Employees don’t have to be outstanding performers in both areas, both attitude and quality of work, to receive a recognition. Recognize employees for their current strengths, and the areas of opportunity will improve. Gratitude is a powerful thing, just as I wrote in a recent LinkedIn post. Check it out: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/article/20141118151409-5075277-studies-show-employees-are-happier-around-thanksgiving-here-s-why

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