How to Build Employee Engagement in Your Small or Medium Business

    Companies of all sizes often have difficulty understanding the importance of developing trust and engaging employees in their organizations. CEOs will sign off on a serverless API because someone has shown them that it can save cloud computing costs, but the value of employee engagement, employee collaboration and trust often goes uncalculated.

    That is not to say that companies don’t see problems that result from the lack of employee engagement and collaboration. A survey by Forbes and Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends revealed that 76 percent of survey respondents (2,500 organizations in 90 countries) believe that they have a significant retention and engagement problem. Ninety percent of these leaders think an engagement strategy will have an impact on business success, but barely 25 percent of them have such a strategy.

    How Employee Engagement Can Affect Your Bottom Line

    There is a direct and tangible added business benefit to organizations that invest in their employees. In fact, Gallup (via Dale Carnegie) claims that companies with engaged employees outperform those without by up to 202 percent.

    On the flip side, there is a measurable cost to having unengaged employees: higher turnover (estimates show employee turnover equals about 150 percent of an employee’s salary), lower productivity while on the job, and increased employee absence.  American businesses lose approximately $500+ billion per year because of disengaged workers, according to Gallup1 and Office Vibe.

    How to Build Employee Engagement

    Trust is a necessary ingredient of both engagement and innovation. If the people in your company are innovating, producing sustainable results, and building exceptional work relationships, they are also building trust in each other, and your company, in the process.

    Although it would seem that trust is an asset that grows organically, companies can implement collaboration tools to hasten the development of trust among employees. In other words, CEOs can model trust and collaboration in their actions, but it’s also important to have physical tools in place that allow for easier, ongoing collaboration among employees.

    Microsoft project is an example of software that doesn’t encourage collaboration and its cost is sometimes prohibitive to small and medium size companies. Binfire is a company that makes project management software specifically for small and medium businesses. David Robins, CEO and founder of Binfire, says his software enables teamwork and collaboration because, “Effective collaboration enhances productivity because it utilizes the knowledge of the group to create the best outcome.”

    Robins, who used to work for Polaroid, says that while there he worked on a digital camera project. He began by conducting several sessions to make everyone involved familiar with each other, using games and trust-building exercises.

    “People who know each other and trust each other will collaborate more and get more done,” Robins added. Then the project management software was implemented, offering tools that enabled further collaboration, such as:

    • Group chat, personal inboxes and status reports that ensure the team and clients are always updated with latest project status and on the same page.
    • A one-click functionality that lets project team members share, through a simple gantt chart, overall progress with each other and clients.

    The transparency afforded by project management software like Binfire enables collaboration among team members. Collaboration breeds trust and trust breeds an engaged workforce. Company leaders must model an atmosphere of fairness and transparency by their behavior, but they must also use tools that ensure such an atmosphere remains a top priority.

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