We all know by now that the most important asset in any business is your people. Without people you won’t have a business and that includes online businesses too.  So, how do you best engage your people so that they stay longer and contribute to the success of your business and for themselves?

When you think of employee engagement you may think of surveys, collecting data, interpreting it and then formulating a plan to attend to the feedback.

The engagement I want to discuss are the strong binding relationships you build and develop as leaders, where you find out about your people and what makes them tick, their interests and aspirations.  When you start finding out this information, it leads to discretionary effort made by your people to get things done not because they have to do it but because they want to do it.  Strong engagement in your business along with capable leadership builds and strengthens your culture and gives it an identity.  You’ll see your engagement levels flourish and transform your business to another level.

On the list of top 10 employers in New Zealand are organisations like Air New Zealand, the Department of Conservation, Healthcare of New Zealand, New Zealand Custom Service and Flight Centre. They are there because they care about their people and there is no reason why your business can’t be on that list too. Yes, they may have big budgets and teams of people running their recruitment and development programs but take a look at their operating model and study what they are doing with their workforce to fit their business model. This is what sets them apart.  Air New Zealand for example, has worked very hard with their customer journey and not only focus on how to make it easier for someone to book a flight, check-in and then get to their destination but also prioritise minimal disruption in that process. This whole journey involves people along the way, from booking the flight to when they check in, boarding and picking up their bags at the other end!

Take a step back to review your business and the operating model. See where your people fit into each part of your customer journey and how your people can influence the outcomes that have an impact on your service, brand, reputation and culture.  Then have a think about the types of conversations you and your leaderships teams are having with them.  You maybe be surprised at how much of an impact an engaged workforce has on your systems and processes to deliver a high level of service that keeps customers coming back.

To help you with stepping into the right direction to improve your employee engagement here are few things to review;

Roles and responsibilities

Are the roles in your business clearly defined and do your people know what outcomes they are driving? Do they have the rights skills and capabilities to complete their jobs? Do you they need further training and development?  Do you have the right people in the right places?

Coaching conversations

The 21st Century leadership style is about coaching conversations and feedback. The days of “do as I say” are fading fast.  People want to know how they are doing each day and where they can improve. Don’t wait for the end of year review to let them know because it’s too late by then.

Capable leadership

People leave because of their managers.  You want leaders in your teams and not managers. You want leaders that understand and inspire people, they know how to get the best out of individuals and teams, play on their strengths and build their confidence in the areas they need to improve on.

Purpose, vision, mission, values

Do you have these in place? What does your business stand for? What is the purpose for the existence of your business?  Get your people on the journey of your purpose, vision, mission and values.  Give meaning to your business and your people will follow.

Reward and recognition

People want to know that they are doing a great job.  If you have a reward system in place, make sure that it aligns to the purpose and values of your business.  People in your teams buy into what your business is about.  When you recognise and reward the right behaviours, you start operating at an extraordinary level and not at an ordinary level.

There isn’t much between your business and the likes of Air New Zealand.  All you need you to do is make the tweaks above and you’re heading into the right direction of being an extraordinary business.


Will Allan
Founder + Director