Smaller organizations (let’s use under 50 employees as our benchmark) typically do not have a full time HR professional in their ranks. They rely upon one of their staff members to pick up those components, or they split the elements of W4’s and I-9’s, etc. among several employees, or may even use vendors for managing more complicated elements such as payroll or legal matters.
With no department in the ranks to champion the company culture, employees of these small to midsize businesses are left to fend for themselves. However, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to build up a culture and engagement strategy.
If you’re a small business and are having trouble wrapping your arms around the many complicated factors you’re facing today, here’s a quick list of what you’re probably after.
How do I attract new employees from other jobs?
How do I keep my talented employees from leaving me for someone else?
What makes people roll out of bed and be excited to come to work?
If you have answers to these questions, you’re in a good starting position to determine your company culture and values. If you don’t, asking some of these questions can get you started on the long path of engagement, which is the commitment and connectivity your employees have toward your organization and its values.
Three easy steps to determine what to do with your company engagement:
- Start with an engagement survey. You can’t get to where you’re going without knowing where you’ve been. These surveys can be short and sweet, or lengthy depending on what you’re trying to uncover. An engagement survey can help you understand if your employees connect to your company mission and values (a little or a lot). Tip: If you’re just starting out on a survey, start with a short list of questions (i.e. 10) so that you can do something with the answers. The last thing you want to do is deliver a survey and not do anything with the feedback.
- Define who your brand is to your employees. You might have an external brand image to consumers of your product or service, but the identity you have to your employees needs to be spelled out too. Ultimately, you want your employees to care about what they’re providing to your customers.
- Collaborate. Build a small committee internally to start planning out things you can do with your employees. The goal is to help facilitate healthy conversation regarding your survey results and what you’re going to do moving forward. You can also collaborate with similar businesses on ideas. Your culture may be different from the next business, but leveraging ideas in a group setting (i.e. your local Chamber of Commerce might be able to connect you to other businesses of similar scope/size) can also be helpful.
These are starting points. Even if you start with one, you’re starting down the path to building better culture. However, these things don’t happen overnight. The same is true with your company culture and engagement. It is a long journey, so don’t get discouraged if things don’t click immediately. If you’re after a band-aid or magic wand solution, you’re going to be disappointed.
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