September 13, 2016 For most businesses, the customer is king. However, there is a very important part of the business that some owners routinely forget. This is the aspect of employee engagement. A study on employee engagement in Singapore reveals just how big this problem can be. Back in 2003, Gallup reported that a disengaged workforce cost the country’s economy a whopping $4.9 billion. This value can go as high as $6.7 billion depending on the variables. Across the world, the problem persists. In fact, in 2015, poor employee engagement has been the biggest flaw of retail brands. Studies show that businesses with engaged employees have higher productivity rates. This can be as high as 51% more in some instances. These employees drive an increase in income of as much as 19% over a whole year. These numbers alone highlight the importance of caring for your employees. They should not just work for you, but act as effective representatives for your company’s image. Here are a few tips you can use to help drive engagement in your workforce. Freely exchange feedback. Give and receive feedback regularly. This is an excellent way of keeping employees in tune with the company. A half-year cycle for employee feedback won’t do. Try to do it weekly or, at least, monthly. This increases the likelihood that your employees will open up about their thoughts and suggestions on the business. Open communications. Your employees have lots of things in mind — you have to let them say it. You must make the top team available for anything that employees might want to discuss relating to the business. Opening communication will also give employees a position of influence. This will make them feel empowered, increasing their drive to perform. Have fun. No one can be motivated and engaged when they work in a sweatshop. Give your employees some alternative activities they can have fun with. This includes contests, team building activities, simple team outings, and more. Give them the big picture. Employees want to know that they are working for something bigger than themselves. Letting them know the bigger picture in the company will inspire them to work towards a unified business goal. Have their backs. Employees want to know that they aren’t being played for the company’s gains. This means you have to be completely transparent with them. Let them know that you have their backs even in tough times. For employees, a good company is one that has his best interests at heart. Consistency in leadership drives morale, which in turn drives engagement. Employees are your company’s greatest treasure. Their motivation and engagement can spell the boon or bane of your business. Make sure that you take care of them just as you would take care a loyal customer. Make them feel valued, so that they add value to the business.