Engaged Employees are Loyal Employees: Strategies to Help Cultivate a Sense of Fulfillment in Your Workforce
The hospitality industry is today poised at the edge of an unprecedented period of growth, change, and development. Like many other sectors, the hospitality field is now characterized by much more aggressive competition. As a result, hotels, restaurants, resorts, and other properties have to take every step possible to leverage the strengths and advantages available to them in order to maintain a favorable market position.
From the perspective of traditional business analysis, an organization's workforce is seen as an important asset. However, there are many elements that can't be taken into consideration in the arithmetic of the balance sheet. For example, while it may be simple to calculate the size and costs associated with the workforce, it's much more difficult to express the quality of an employee -- or, for that matter, of an entire team -- in numbers.
Why Engaged Employees are More Valuable
Organizations depend on their staff's ability to work together in an efficient, productive manner. This is particularly true in the hospitality industry, where service quality is such an important determinant of success. Your staff's ability to work together as effectively as a well-oiled machine can mean the difference between success and failure for your business.
In turn, your staff's ability to work well together is determined, to a large extent, by the attitude and outlook of each individual employee. Decades of research have shown that happy, involved, and emotionally invested employees are more likely to be positive assets to the team than are their alienated, disengaged counterparts. Furthermore, employees who describe themselves as engaged and fulfilled are up to 75% less likely to report looking for a new position.
What Can You Do?
Employers often make the mistake of believing that they can't influence their employees' attitudes. While it's true that it's virtually impossible to magically transform a dyed-in-the-wool pessimist into an enthusiastic team player, there are many small and painless steps you can take to help make your workplace a more fulfilling environment.
Hire the Right People.
Believe it or not, the process of cultivating a more engaged workplace begins in the hiring manager's office. While it takes a broad range of personalities to help run a business, focus as much as possible on hiring qualified candidates who are enthusiastic self-starters with a verifiable history of long-term and loyal employment.
Get employees involved in the mission.
If you haven't already, develop a company mission statement. If possible, solicit input from your team when creating your mission statement. Try to make your vision as sweeping and far-reaching as you can. Find a way to connect your business's mission to the larger community. Studies have shown that jobs that impart a deeper sense of meaning help employees feel more engaged and fulfilled.
Become an advocate for your employees.
Workplace psychologists contend that nothing saps enthusiasm from workers more rapidly than feeling unappreciated or being the target of perceived unfairness. Develop policies and practices that show your support for the team. Small and large gestures alike can be effective -- whether you're bringing in gourmet coffee and pastries for the openers or pledging to help fund your staff's continuing education, your efforts will be appreciated.
Ask for input.
Recent studies suggest that when employees feel empowered, they're more likely to describe themselves as fulfilled, engaged, and loyal. Show your employees that you value their opinion by soliciting their input. Use a voting system to help make decisions about the organization's growth and future directions. Begin using 360-degree feedback evaluations that allow employees to evaluate managers' performance. Offer ample opportunities for both anonymous and public comments and feedback from your team.
Reward your team.
Money isn't everything, but it does go along way toward making employees feel appreciated. Make sure that your compensation policies reflect your commitment to cultivating an engaged, loyal staff. Reward programs that challenge team members to excel are another great way to boost your staff's interest and engagement. Inject a measure of healthy competition into your performance metrics to keep things interesting, and reward the winners with a generous prize.
It's clear that your organization can benefit from having a team of engaged, fulfilled employees, but cultivating this level of commitment takes time and effort. Start with a few small changes, then re-assess some of your broader policies and practices. Before long, you'll start to see the kind of positive upswing in your organizational culture that can really pay off in the long run.