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Want to keep your team more engaged and feeling appreciated? This is what you gotta do.

Is your team in need of a little TLC? We’ve collated the best advice on how to make them feel like the stars of your business show.

by Vivienne Egan
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Good team culture and engaged employees aren’t just nice to have: a healthy, engaged team has proven links to a business’ profitability, productivity, retention rates, investment opportunities, attracting great employees, absenteeism and even health and safety. A company is only as good as the people in it, so it makes sense for entrepreneurs to invest in engaging their team from day one. Is your team in need of a little TLC? We’ve collated the best advice on how to make them feel appreciated:

Healthy teams have goals

While it sounds like a buzzword, employee engagement is much more than a box to tick. It needs to be baked into operational strategies. Startup entrepreneurs are often too caught up in running the business to worry about making sure their people are happy, but it’s never too late to start building a healthy team that works well together.

As Simmons School of Management professor Mary Shapiro points out at Harvard Business Review, teams are brought together to accomplish a task because of their diverse strengths. However, too often there’s a lack of discussion of how those teams can work effectively together – until problems arise.

However, Shapiro says that “it’s never too late to go back to what I would call the infrastructure building of a team.” She advocates for teams to set ‘process’ goals: that is, goals for how they will achieve the required outcomes, rather than just what outcomes are expected.

Show appreciation to improve retention

When it comes down to it, human beings aren’t that complicated. One of the most effective ways to keep hold of good talent is just to show employees that they’re appreciated. In fact, a recent survey of over 12,000 employees found that those who felt appreciated in their jobs stayed in their roles an average of 3.7 years longer than those who didn’t. Here are some ways to give employees the recognition they need:

  • Public and private acknowledgement of a job well done (a handwritten note, or a shout-out at a team meeting, for example).
     
  • Fun team bonding events (nothing boring or weird).
     
  • Asking for and listening to feedback.
     
  • Investing in training and upskilling.
     
  • Involving employees in important discussions and decisions.

When you’re a small startup team, often working demanding schedules, it’s especially important to let your team know that their hard work hasn’t gone unnoticed. It doesn’t take much – pizza on Fridays, an email saying ‘thank you for all your hard work this week’, or a fun activity to celebrate a win goes a long way to communicating appreciation.

Recognize (and embrace) your team’s differences

A high-performing team will be one with complementary attitudes and motivations, so it’s important to recognize and celebrate these differences in your employee engagement program – your team’s strength lies in these differences.

The kinds of things people want from their jobs can be a result of a variety of factors, like what generation they belong to, their gender, career aspirations, family commitments and religious background.

They might prioritize flexible work arrangements if, for example, they have a young family. Millennial employees might be more keen on upskilling, career progression or the ability to take more leave.

Taking a tailored rather than a one-size-fits-all approach to work-life balance or career goals will help individuals feel more engaged and valued. If their employer helps them meet their professional and personal goals, employees will be more likely to feel like they have a stake in the business and stick around to help it grow.

Each member of your team is an individual – find out what motivates each of them at work by signing up for Fingerprint for Success.

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