How to Engage your Employees

Get the right mindset.

When employees are an afterthought to the business – rather than what actually drives the business – they don’t wait long to leave. But, we’re preaching to the choir. You already know that employees present a great opportunity to improve your business.


Provide meaningful work.

Don’t confuse this with glamorous. In 1962, President John F. Kennedy interrupted his tour of a NASA facility to ask a man carrying a broom what he was doing. The janitor replied that he was “helping put a man on the moon”. Explain to people why their jobs are important. People want to feel they are part of something bigger than themselves. Connect their job to the business goals. Then, ideally, connect the business goals to a greater cause. People will go to great lengths to support something they helped create. Give them a chance to make a difference.


Align mission.

An easy way to connect the dots for employees is to focus them on your customers, not the bottom line.

  • Share your vision, goals and plans. Better yet: give employees a scoreboard so they can see how the business is doing.
  • Keep them focused on key success indicators (like customers) for your business. Reward behavior, not just results.


Create a positive environment.

  • Be a company that people want to work for by adopting a “give and take” approach.
  • Be flexible and supportive. A little flexibility in helping employees deal with the work/life balance can help create motivated and loyal employees.
  • Make recognition a natural part of your culture. Say “thank you.” Give kudos, awards, bonuses, time off, gas or coffee cards, free lunch, etc. Better: Personalize it. Best: Create an environment where recognition flows from peer to peer.


Create trust.

Share the good and the bad news. Be honest. Helpful byproduct: Employees usually reciprocate.


Growth opportunities.

Growth doesn’t necessarily mean promotion. Use employees’ natural abilities, even if they were not hired for that purpose.

  • Give them opportunities to learn new skills, while getting support when they need help. Work them into their best role.
  • Reward learning and cross training. Added benefit: Cross training reduces the chances your customers hear “ask someone else”.


Be hands on.

Provide simple, clear goals. Good instructions and regular feedback go much further than annual performance reviews. Contact Cardinal for review forms and tips.

  • Review them at least quarterly.
  • Coach, don’t parent.
  • Criticize constructively, privately.
  • Make feedback 2-way; getting it is more important than giving it.


Understand relationships.

An employee’s relationships with the company and boss are important. However, an employee’s relationship with other employees is critical. Let them have fun and be a team. Relationships, not perks, define your culture.


Free poor performers.

Let them go find a better job fit. The longer you keep them, the harder it is to keep the good performers. Period.

Let us help find your right fit next new hire!



Yes, wages and benefits are important. And, if you need help determining the appropriateness of wages, we can help. Wages should be evaluated against turnover costs and your ability to attract qualified candidates. However, wages themselves are not the only, or even the most important, factor in play.