Studies have shown that employee engagement is one of the top three workplace priorities for UK businesses, but performance improvement specialists Avinity says the challenge is magnified for start-ups expanding into SMEs.
Adi Reed, Head of Engagement at Avinity, said: “Employees can become disillusioned with start-ups if they feel left behind by the company on its journey of expansion. Staff need to feel part of the journey, whether through training to develop their professional skills and expertise or by reward and recognition programmes.
“Once the adrenalin rush is over and work becomes business as usual, those first employees realise there isn’t really anywhere for them to go. They can’t learn anything more from the people around them and they can’t get a pay rise.
“Yet start-ups can have an upper hand over their competitors if they can effectively engage and motivate their workforce and are more fairly rewarded than their peers who work as cogs in a giant machine, clocking in at 9 and leaving at 5.”
Avinity, the creators of AvinityAlive, a one-of-a-kind reward and recognition platform, suggest start-ups looking to expand should focus on nurturing and developing their existing workforce to encourage staff loyalty and retention.
1. Reward time and effort: Early employees worked all hours to make sure the company delivered, so once your company is seeing a healthy margin, share the wealth with those who gave everything and keep on rewarding that extra commitment.
2. Create a career ladder: Help those first ‘jack of all trades’ employees become experts in their fields – develop a career path for them.
3. Encourage best practice: Smaller companies tend to have fewer processes and employees are often firefighting to get things done. Allow employees time to learn best practices and give them time to implement them within your business.
4. Nurture ownership and action: Make time to understand what employees are doing and what they want to improve and empower them to make changes. Keeping this culture alive means that every employee will continue to understand the importance of their role and how they can make an impact, in both business and personal success.
5. Provide meaningful employee benefits: Some growing companies can be behind the wave when it comes to providing benefits – they cannot compete with the range and variety provided by larger corporations. But by understanding what benefits their workforce would value most and regularly reviewing their offering, even growing companies can provide a few key ones that are highly valued and appreciated.
AvinityAlive is a social engagement platform that brings company values alive.
Developed by performance improvement specialist Avinity after seeing the need for reward and recognition programmes to be reimagined for today’s workforce, AvinityAlive combines social technology, employee autonomy and the latest behavioural science to get values off the page and into real life, boost personal happiness and shape positive cultures. Its experiential approach to behaviour change sees employees given the choice to take meaningful, enjoyable and rewardable challenges, as well as the voice to recognise and reward their peers for values lived and the social space to share, connect and create their own big-hearted community.
Avinity has helped hundreds of companies improve their performance through employee engagement and customer loyalty since it was set up in 2005, and has particular expertise in global and in-country reward sourcing and fulfilment.
Kay Phelps, PRinHR, www.PRinHR.co.uk; kay.phelps@PRinHR.co.uk