Employee Engagement | How to Build, Measure and Grow Your Company Culture

Finding the right talent for your business is a tricky endeavour. There can be a lot of unseen costs to attracting, recruiting, screening and hiring new employees. This is why savvy companies will know this cost down to the penny, factoring in everything from posting a job online to the time invested in finding and vetting each candidate. 

However, bringing new people into your company is only the first step in building your rockstar team. Organizations also need to have a strategy to retain, grow and empower employees at every level – otherwise risk turnover rates and wasted investments.

Why Are Employees Leaving You? the Challenges of Building and Keeping Talent Within Your Organization

A common pitfall for companies is simply just not engaging your employees enough after they are hired. The good news is that it’s not difficult to start today, small efforts can have a big impact on employee satisfaction.

You may have heard some of the tips and tricks used by companies big and small such as:

  1. Welcoming new employees company-wide. No need to overthink this one, we’ve seen everything from writing a welcome message on a whiteboard to Facebook posts announcing new team members.
  2. Using the “buddy system” to pair new hires with champions within your company. This is a great way to bring new hires into the company culture and give them a clear path to ask questions safely.
  3. Building a team culture with social events like BBQ lunches or outings when possible. Shared moments outside the worksite to help cement relationships… there’s a special power behind sharing a hotdog or hamburger.

These, like other team-building strategies, are proven methods to bring people closer and help build a team culture. But, as helpful as these strategies are at bonding a team together, they still fall short of the core reason people disengage from their job – their bosses.

Supervisors, managers, team leaders, executives and bosses of all forms are at a critical position within your company to either be the driving force behind employee retention or be the biggest reason your talent is leaving.

Your organization’s leadership are the gatekeepers to an inclusive employee culture. The challenge of each organization is to give your leadership team the tools and confidence they require to grow the company culture that keeps your talent and attracts the best of your community.

As the Saying Goes, “People Don’t Quit a Job, They Quit a Boss.”

Fundamentally, the strategies companies use to increase employee engagement all pull at a few of the same themes: trust & respect; fairness; and listening.

These themes need to be baked into your organization’s culture, operations and ethics. From how your employees interact informally, to the procedures and protocols that guide your business.

Your challenge as a leader within your organization is to create a system that emphasizes these themes throughout every employee’s employment-cycle.  

Remember though; it’s not about the perks – breakroom upgrades, annual raises or free coffee are nice to have but are shown to not address employee engagement in a meaningful way. It’s really all about how employees are treated. How they are treated by their leaders and how their coworkers treat them.

Trust & Respect Your Team

How much freedom does your frontline employee have to make “executive decisions”? Are they empowered to bend protocol if it meant a better customer experience or a more efficient workflow? Are your frontline staff supported and encouraged to create change?

Trusting your team means being open to their ideas, solutions and abilities to make decisions to better their jobs and the organization. 

When people feel trusted to make decisions and share their ideas your teams will build value from the bottom-up. People want to know that their efforts and ideas have the potential to add value – being disregarded is a fast-track to being disengaged.

Fairness and Equality

Closely linked with equality – getting this right is not just about flattening your company hierarchy, instead to reduce the disparity between the groups within your company. 

People want to know that they are being treated fairly and similarly to anyone else in an equitable position. Compensation, attention, opportunity, reviews, and more should be aligned to treat everyone in your team with equal fairness and judgement.

When people feel they are being treated fairly, they are less likely to attribute short-comings to their leaders and more likely to be self-reflective and self-improving.

“The thing that erodes trust in an organization faster than anything else is when employees feel that they are being treated unfairly.” – Micheal C. Bush | Great Place To Work

“The thing that erodes trust in an organization faster than anything else is when employees feel that they are being treated unfairly.” – Micheal C. Bush | Great Place To Work

Listen, Don’t Just Hear

To listen, you need to go past the body language and the best-practices of active-listening. Eye-contact, repeating what you heard and remaining present are good ways to make someone feel heard in the short-term but your employees also need to know that what they say has the potential to have a long-lasting impact.

Good listening means being humble and open to different perspectives or new ideas. Employees are more engaged when they know their ideas and concerns are given respect and consideration.

Your organization’s leadership should be challenged to constantly be looking for the best ideas possible and never bias towards where they may come from. This requires you to be open to being wrong, receptive to change and increasingly adaptable – none of which come easy, but all of which better engage your teams.

Measuring Success: Employee Engagement and the NPS

In our industry, we often can see a direct line between the work done and the end result. A well-kept property, happy clients in their new pool; or a 15-year-old paver job, still holding its form. Our results are right in front of us for us to learn from or celebrate.

We want to know that what we put into a project is producing the effects we want. This is why measuring employee satisfaction is a critical piece in understanding your employee engagement.

Here are some quick facts for you:

  1. Roughly 50% of the working population say they are happy at work.
  2. Organizations with a lot of happy employees have 3 times the revenue compared to organizations with lots of unhappy workers
  3. Turn over is half that within companies with a lot of happy employees compared to organizations with a lot of unhappy employees

So how do you know if your employees are happy or not? Sure, you can ask them individually. In a small team this might work, but can you always expect to get an unbiased answer?

Fortunately, there is a quantifiable way to see how happy your employees are – a survey. Certainly not a new tool, companies have been asking their employees and customers how they are doing for decades. The real secret sauce though is in one question, one metric that will give you the insight you need – the Net Promoter Score (NPS)

Finding Your Employees Net Promoter Score

Q: How likely are you to recommend others to work at ABC Landscaping?
A: 0 (Not likely at all) – 10 (Extremely Likely)

That’s it. One question, either alone or in a larger survey, will get you the insight you need to make better decisions about employee engagement.

What Your Net Promoter Score Tells You

After you have the results, ideally anonymous, sort your answers into three categories.

  1. Promoters (score 9-10) are loyal employees who wants to see your company grow and will often attract other talented people.
  2. Passives (score 7-8) are satisfied but unenthusiastic employees. 
  3. Detractors (score 0-6) are unhappy employees. Finding out what is holding these employees back will be a big win for you.

Finally, subtracting your percent of detractors from your percent of promoters will give you your Net Promotor Score. At first, track this as you periodically survey your employee engagement. Over time it will become a benchmark for future reviews, letting you know when your company culture fluctuating.

Net Promoter Score Groups

% Promoters – % Detractors = Net Promoters Score
(*scores can range from -100 to 100)

Using a Net Promoter Score though is not a magic bullet, it is only a snapshot of the current vitality in your company culture. How you react to the NPS will be how you build and grow your employee happiness and engagement.

Supercharged Employee Surveys

Conveniently, we have recently rolled out a new landscaping business tool to help you collect vital information on your employees and their supervisors.

Our 15 Minute Review Tool is a unique 360-degree review system that quickly and effectively surveys your frontline teams giving you deeper insights into your workforce.

The customizable survey can be catered to your needs, including the use of a Net Promoter Score question and is only completed once both sides of the team have filled out the survey. Typical only taking 10-15 minutes, both managers and crew review each other and their personal experience based on your questions.

Get in touch with us to unlock the insight you need today to better understand your teams tomorrow.

Start Small, Think Big

Overall, the approach is straight froward. Listen to your employees, empower your management and measure your outcomes. Remember, people don’t leave their jobs, they leave their bosses – so be the best boss you can by elevating your team to make the autonomous decisions that drive your business forward.