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11 Ways to Create Real Employee Engagement

By: Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey
Posted: April 1, 2014, from the April 2014 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
11 Ways to Create Real Employee Engagement

According to the Human Capital Institute, companies with highly engaged employees enjoy profit growth at three times the rate of their competitors, and that increased engagement reduces turnover—one of the largest hidden costs in business—by 87%. Here are 11 tactics to help you create and increase employee engagement in your skin care facility.

1. Ask yourself: Would I work for me? Before you can make much progress in increasing employee engagement, you need an accurate understanding of what it’s like to work at your company right now. If you’re fooling yourself about what it’s like to work at your spa, you won’t make much progress.

According to Gallup, only 41% of employees say that they know what their companies stand for. If that’s the case in your organization, you’re missing a golden opportunity to add meaning to your employees’ work.

2. Hire smart. Hire people with foundational qualities you can build on. Give job candidates a verbal run-down of the position, your spa’s challenges and your expectations for the position. Then, have the candidate give you a demo facial and sell you retail afterward, and/or spend a day working in your spa as a trial. This will tell you volumes.

3. Go overboard with orientation. When everyone clearly understands what’s going on both inside and outside of their own areas of responsibility, they’ll be more invested in the overall organization. The extra time and energy spent in big-picture education will pay off with fewer mistakes, fewer misunderstandings and more efficiency.

4. Share the wealth. To create true engagement, you must tie money, employees’ personal success and the future of your skin care facility inextricably together. If a team member helps grow your profits, she should get to take more of them home. With this compensation system, nonproducers can’t afford to work for you, and producers can’t afford to leave.

5. Give more days off. The cadence that the new holidays will give to the year will relieve much of the long-haul tension that builds between the official holidays.

6. Be a mentor matchmaker. When rookies are taken under the wings of respected veterans, they learn more quickly, make fewer mistakes and have tangible evidence that you care about their success on a personal level. Also, it shows veterans that you notice and value their expertise.

7. Say “thank you.” Although nobody wants to hear a constant stream of criticism or anxiously delivered “suggestions” from the boss, workers do want to know that they’re doing well. Send out written acknowledgments or make an announcement when a person does something positive.

8. Allow them to make mistakes. Employees who are afraid of doing something wrong will never live up to their full potential or take any unnecessary risks—including the kind that pay off big. Your team members shouldn’t be afraid to make or report mistakes.

9. Observe some simple office courtesies. Saying “Have that report to me by the end of the day” can have a very different affect on your employee than the similar “Would you please have that report to me by the end of the day?” By using only three extra words, you transform an order to a subordinate into a request for a valued colleague.

11. Have heart. Heart is about a belief in your own eventual success, regardless of the odds, the naysayers or the time it takes. It’s the tenacity that keeps you going. In a nutshell, heart is what makes you feel good about what you do—and helps your team members to feel good about what they do, too.

Creating employee engagement is about connecting employees to your spa’s values, inspiring them to work toward its goals, giving them the tools they need and treating them as valued team members.

Bonnie Harvey and Michael Houlihan, authors of The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built a Bestselling Wine (Evolve Publishing, 2013), founded the national Barefoot
Wine brand.