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Employee Engagement: Small businesses have an advantage

"I am glad this is an environment where you feel free to fail", says the famous Adman Don Draper from the television series Mad Men. In his small advertising agency, he successfully manages a free environment of employee engagement. It really is crucial for small businesses to engage employees positively.

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Good news is it is much more achievable in a small business since there is greater opportunity for personalization. Businesses can do a lot of things to ensure employee engagement. Here’s how:

  • Accessibility: The ability to have an access to seniors gives employees confidence and a feeling of importance. This becomes a motivating factor for their positive engagement. This is all the more possible in a small business enterprise. Leaders must create an environment in which they treat everyone equally and all get a chance to interact with them personally from time to time.

  • Fun environment: It is important to physically create an environment of fun for increasing employee engagement. Little things such as allowing them to keep family photo frames or coffee mugs on desks, having tea/coffee breaks twice a day, installing coffee machines, dartboards and bulletin boards, fun email forwards from HR, movie night on a weekend in a month, etc. take a lot of heat off the employees. It is much easier to implement this in a small business.

  • Recognition and feedback: It is up to the management to ensure that employees are recognized as frequently as they are given feedback about their work. With each improvement tip, an employee must be reminded of his value through his strengths. Small enterprises can achieve this by standard formats of recognition/feedback containing qualitative and quantitative factors. This goes a long way in making the employees feel excited towards their work.

  • Suggestions: Small enterprises must encourage employee suggestions and implement them. This helps in engaging them in two ways: first, they feel a sense of value when their suggestions are taken seriously and implemented. Two, they will be motivated to go the extra mile for the company since this will help in creating a sense of belongingness.

  • Allow failing: While results are crucial for small businesses, adopting an accepting attitude towards failures will keep the employees motivated and engaged in their work. Monthly targets can keep them hooked to their results orientation but pointing out the lessons learnt from failures instead of blaming the concerned employee will be a better approach towards improvement. The employees thus will feel free to work and will try their best to deliver.

These small enterprises enjoy greater flexibility and faster feedback mechanism. For such enterprises, achieving employee engagement is not only possible but also profitable. If they are able to retain active employees, they will progress faster.

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