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It’s time to tackle employee engagement. Conduct your research and gather strategies to boost team morale and maximize productivity.

Implement flex hours? Give extra vacation days? Team competitions and contests outside the office? All great ideas, but alone, they won’t work long-term. Rewards and perks are wonderful to offer, but that’s all they are: rewards and perks – temporary stopgaps designed to slow the drowning of a disengaged team sinking deeper and deeper. Think of the time Bart Simpson clogged the flooding submarine’s pinhole leak with his new, fancy earring – but in this scenario, you have a cantaloupe-shaped crack with only an Employee of the Week plaque in hand.

Good luck filling a circle with a square.

Your company culture connects the organization’s respective teams. It strengthens each department’s belief in your organization’s mission, empowering them to collaborate toward achieving the common goal. To reach optimal engagement, efficiency, and productivity, a company culture must consider the contributions offered by all members, the teams they belong to, and the leaders of those teams. The few arbitrary words in the mission statement isn’t a company culture, and there’ll never be enough shiny earrings for that growing pinhole.

So, what can you do?

Team members need to feel valued by their organization, that their opinions, ideas, and contributions matter, and that they’re not another cog in the conglomerate – small, invisible, and expendable. Involve your team. Ask them how you can improve. Engage them. Why ask anyone other than those who need it?

Employee engagement means opening the communication lines and keeping your team informed. It means valuing accountability so the same standards and expectations are applied to everyone. It means appreciating and valuing members’ individuality and the unique abilities they import. It means welcoming, considering, and requesting new ideas and constructive criticism with an open mind.

Employee engagement starts with the organization’s recognition and acceptance that there’s always room for internal growth. Engage your team, invite them to the table, and watch them transform your organization.