If one of the top three HR challenges is creating a corporate culture to attract the best employees, recruiting should be a top priority for every organization. There is much more to recruiting than just attending a job fair. Do all of your recruiters know your mission and values backwards and forwards? Do you have sufficient recruiting materials that give an accurate snapshot of what your organization does? Do you personally follow up with the brightest candidates? Do you thank everyone who expressed interest in your organization? If you answer no to any of these questions, your recruiting program might need a tune up.

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If you’ve pulled out all the stops to find the best and brightest, you don’t want them to lose that engagement high once they come on board. It’s incredibly vital to your success and theirs to keep them as engaged as possible right from the very beginning. Each new employee needs to feel as if they are part of a team, and that their voice matters, whether it’s among five or five thousand other voices. Keep in mind the Four C’s of Onboarding: Compliance, Clarification, Culture and Connection. A good organization has a solid mix of all 4. And a great organization makes the new hire transition as smooth and seamless as possible.

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You’ve found the right talent and warmly welcomed them into your organization. Now what? While it’s true that your new employees should generally know the job they applied for, no one will know your systems, your software or your processes inside and out. And if your new employees don’t get the tools and training needed to do their job effectively, engagement and production levels drop. The same is true for current employees when new software is incorporated, new programs developed or new processes put in place. It’s imperative to provide the appropriate training to ensure your employees can do their jobs effectively.

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When most people think of team building, trust exercises and corporate excursions are the first things that come to mind. But, building your team and creating a culture of mutual respect and loyalty takes work and involves numerous methods and options. Your mission and values come into play here. Does everyone know them? Is everyone clear of the tasks at hand and how to attain that mission? Enforcing your brand with your employees should be just as important – if not more important – than with your clients. The ultimate goal is to provide a positive culture of teamwork and loyalty that engages your employees to stay.

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Showing your employees that you appreciate them is one of the best ways to keep them engaged and your organization running smoothly. Most people don’t think about the fact that every single employee automatically has two things they can be recognized for, regardless of their performance. By acknowledging your employees on their birthday and their work anniversary date, you’re showing them that you appreciate them and their loyalty to your company. It can be something simple to not break the bank, but the important thing is that these dates are recognized. The more personal the recognition, the greater the return. Be sure to include this in your next engagement plan.

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Is your organization part of a high-risk industry or are your employees prone to accidents? Consider adopting a Safety Observation Program, meant to be used in conjunction with an organization’s existing set of safety policies and procedures to engage employees into promoting a safer work environment. They should be designed to emphasize positive reinforcement and leading indicators such as reporting safety violations, making safety suggestions, taking steps to remedy unsafe situations and volunteering for safety committees. The use of lagging indicators, like recordable incidents, should only be used sparingly, as they can be misused or go unreported to skew results.

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Like Safety Programs, a Wellness Program is a great way to engage employees while also promoting employee health and strategic organizational objectives. The personal nature of these programs allows your organization to communicate how much the importance of your employees’ health is to both them and their families. And more and more top employees are factoring quality of life benefits into their decisions on where to spend their career. Partner a Wellness Program with Team Building initiatives and put a friendly competition in place among departments or locations. The results of an effective Wellness Program go beyond just organizational goals, but also provide overall healthier individuals.

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Every employee should strive to be the best they can be each and every day, but we all know that isn’t always the case. Some employees need more motivation and incentives to reach their goals. Is your customer service department struggling? Are your safety incidents on the rise? Are your sales numbers looking weak? Is your office morale non-existent? Think about areas in your organization that are lacking and determine a level of achievement each employee can reach to improve that area. Be fair with your recognition. Your goal should be to engage your employees to put their best foot forward each day, not to foster a culture of negative attitudes and destructive competition.

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Easily the most common and one of the oldest programs to promote employee engagement, a service award program should be meaningful and frequent. Typical service award programs only recognize an employee once every five years, which can mean that 40-55% of an organization is never recognized for their loyalty and service. In today’s business climate, younger workers don’t value staying with one organization as much as generations in the past, making it more important that successful organizations recognize early and often. This can be seen as a continuation of the on-boarding process and recognition should continue throughout the first year of the employee life cycle.

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Surveys are one of the best tools to identify, measure and implement employee engagement in organizations of all sizes. Utilizing an engagement survey within your organization can let you know what is working and what isn’t. It’s also important to continually track the results of your strategies and programs because their effectiveness tends to diminish over time. Survey results will help you find areas to improve and adjust. This continual improvement in Employee Engagement is key to attracting and retaining your top talent. But, be sure to listen to the results. A survey is only as good as the action plan put in place to correct any issues.

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Retirement programs are a continuation of your engagement of an employee’s life cycle. No matter how long an employee has been with you, it’s important to identify and recognize an employee’s worth over the years. By showing respect to those who have served diligently throughout the years, you show the next generation of employees how much you value their work and continued service. It doesn’t have to be much, but the recognition can go a long way.