The Rules of (Employee) Engagement

Mar 30 2017

by Maggie Thomason

The Southern Coterie blog: "The Rules of (Employee) Engagement" by Maggie Thomason (photo: Kelli Boyd Photography for The Southern C)
Are your employees this happy?! (photo: Kelli Boyd Photography of The Vine for The Southern C)

I am, by definition, a millennial. I hate the term and connotations that it carries. If given the chance I will adamantly deny that I am “one of them” or at least try to convince you that I don’t belong.  In true millennial form, however, I have worked for four different companies in the short six years since I graduated from college.  I left two of them on my own accord, was laid-off from another, and ultimately began to question why nothing was sticking. Between my own surprising and often disappointing experiences and talking with colleagues and friends of all ages, I became fixated on figuring out what a satisfying, productive and fulfilling work environment looks like. Why does it seem to be eluding so many people, millennials and Gen X-ers alike? I jumped in deep end and immersed myself in research, corporate studies and first-hand accounts to find out what the deal is.

And it turns out, I’m not alone. 

“44% of working millennials are likely to leave their current employer within two years due to lack of leadership skill development opportunities, work-life balance issues, feeling overlooked and a conflict of values.” – Deloitte report from 2016 

It’s no secret that employers today face many challenges in regards to managing and retaining their employees, whether they are Millennials or Gen X-ers. Employee engagement is currently one of the most discussed business topics for a reason. If you cringed or rolled your eyes at the mention of that term, I don’t blame you–as a small business owner the last thing you need is one more thing taking up your time and resources. But research and real-world examples support the idea that engagement can help you retain your employees and keep them happier, saving your business money and lost productivity.

When done right and thoughtfully, engaging with your employees, through practices such as recognition, communication and collaboration, shouldn’t be draining, as often is the misconception. Adapting a few simple changes regarding interactions with your employees can cultivate an environment of trust, productivity, loyalty and growth, leaving you with a better more fulfilling business and happier employees.

So how to do it right and thoughtfully? Through a series of articles, I will explore three opportunities for engagement that will show that a staff of engaged, productive people is attainable for even the smallest business:

  1. Regularly communicating your company’s mission and values
  2. Practicing appreciation and acknowledgment
  3. Learning to listen and include (this might even lead to internal collaborations and creations!)

In each, I will share some of my personal experiences that depict the costly effects of missed opportunity for engagement (the employee side of the coin), as well as examples and tips from some amazing #tscsummit business owners who are thoughtfully engaging employees in their respective businesses (the employer side of the coin).

Ultimately, the topics we are going to cover together are not complicated. You may, at this point, question what relevance such a “corporate” practice has to you. However, when we’re done, you will see how a few small changes can impact the satisfaction and performance of your staff and your overall business, no mater the size. Get excited and stay tuned for the first installment coming your way soon!




Maggie Thomason View More Blog Posts from this Author

Maggie Thomason is an Auburn University grad, with a background in Industrial Design. Applying this knowledge in the wholesale home furnishings industry over the past 6 years has taken her on some unexpected adventures. Learning the ins and outs of international sourcing, design, and business development has cultivated a true love for all things home décor. Education and experience has played a major role in bringing out Maggie’s passion for creative review and finding the best, most authentic ways to move forward. Maggie lives in Atlanta, with her husband and enjoys spending time with her family and exploring the outdoors.

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