If you really want to engage your people during the toughest times, you’ve got to show them the finish line that they’re moving towards. In a race, seeing the finish line helps them know when to push and lay it all on the line, which is usually right when the race has hit its hardest point.
It’s similar for employees. It can be discouraging to do the same kinds of work every day, especially if the hours are long and the assignments are hard. It’s critical to keep the real aspirations of the company, and the positive fortune that represents for employees, at the forefront of your communications if you expect them to actually buy into that vision. Here are three tips to coach employees to hang on and kick for the finish line:
1. Let the money talk.
If you’re a high-growth company, it’s likely that equity incentives are a substantial part of your compensation package. Expanding the equity pool is an aggressive strategy to improve engagement that connects value creators with the end results of their hard work. This is something some top-level investment firms are exploring.
Even if you’re not offering every single employee a stake in the company, it’s important to show them how their efforts impact the bottom line and how those benefits wrap back around to them. If you have year-end bonuses tied to stock performance or EBITDA, encourage leaders across the organization to talk about that periodically and encourage your internal communications team to let employees know how the company is doing.
Engaging employees is about a lot more than money, but the promise of an impending payday gives you a big head start — especially when they have recruiters on the phone promising them higher salaries. Communicating about the financial benefits awaiting them over the next 1-5 years is the most tangible way to show employees the finish line.
2. Talk about who you aspire to compete with.
Employees who don’t work in finance probably couldn’t easily distinguish a company with $200 million in revenue from a company with $20 billion in revenue, but they do know the difference between being the mid-sized company they are today and competing with Google.
When you communicate about the future of your company, don’t be too modest about who you plan to go up against. It gives employees a benchmark for the kind of scale and notoriety the organization could reach, and it will entice them to remain a part of it.
3. Promote promotions.
As hardworking employees are rewarded in your organization, you can engage employees who are less senior in your vision by showing them how the hard works pays off. Have your internal communications team publicize promotions and look for specific success stories to feature in newsletters. Especially in the age of remote and hybrid work, where career growth can be slower, it’s critical to show employees the finish line of their hard work by connecting it to promotions and opportunities.
Want to engage employees by connecting them to your future? Tribe can help.