By Mary Wong


It is hard work maintaining a workforce, and a happy one at that. The fact is, though, the happier people are at work, the better their performance.  If you operate your company under the correct energy and premise, authenticity is a byproduct that facilitates positive morale and employee engagement.


Creating the right environment for your workers might now be deemed more important than the actual work they do. Think critically how you can engage your employees to increase retention and morale at work because it can make all the difference to your bottom line.


Here are a few of my favorite techniques to keep the peace and engage employees:

1.Make your employees a priority.


Your employees want to feel that you are investing in them as much as they are investing in the company. Acknowledge a job well done. Your employees want to know their hard work is being recognized. This can be as simple as a thank you email. Put your staff first to build employee loyalty.


When they ask for a day off for personal matters, give it to them. By you demonstrating flexibility, it portrays a message of trust to your employees. Be understanding and compassionate, and they will be more committed to a company that puts their needs first.

2.Create a desired office culture.


Carefully curate an office environment that nurtures creativity and growth. First, clearly define your culture so employees new and old know what is expected of them. By creating options for flexibility, it instills responsibility and trust in your employees. You want people excited to come to work. When employees comfortably enjoy their environment, they produce better work and maintain a positive outlook.

3.Form relationships with your employees.


Don’t just see your employees as the job they do for you. Recognize them for who they are as human beings and equals. They seek positive personal experiences and relationships just like you. See beyond their 9 to 5 job description and learn their names. It is a simple thing that goes a long way.


Talk with them and get to know them personally as well as professionally. Find out their likes and dislikes. Have a chat with them every now and then. Remembering the little details will go a long way in harboring a positive relationship with you and the organization.

4.Operate with transparency.


Create transparency in the workplace. No one likes secrets, and if your staff feels information is being maneuvered around they might develop suspicions. Keep communication transparent between employees and management. Employees are more committed and loyal to a company the more involved they feel.


Be sure to keep your staff updated on recent happenings. Ask for their input to acknowledge their role in the team. Incorporate their ideas and leave space for them to contribute.

5.Work hard but have fun.


It is easy to get caught up in achieving a goal, but remember to have fun in the process. Your successful company is full of hardworking and dedicated professionals who deserve to relax after a hard day’s work.


Be sure to integrate leisure experiences into the work environment. Your staff will operate at peak performance if given time to rest, relax and have some fun. Organize an office happy hour to unwind. Stepping away from the work for a break contributes to increased productivity when it is work time.

6.Present opportunities for growth.


No one takes a job with a company hoping they will be there for the rest of their working life. If the company has a great environment, oftentimes people desire to grow within the company. You must present these opportunities for internal growth. Stagnation is the largest enemy of determined workers. Engagement and morale will both be better if your employees have a goal to work towards.


Promote from within to respect the goals of growth. In addition, support and encourage your employees to improve their skillset through continuing education, mentoring and other programs. If possible, you can allocate a set of funds to facilitate this continued education for your staff members.

7.Be respectful to everyone.


It is a simple thing that is often overlooked. Say please and thank you to your employees. Compliment them on a job well done. Do not interrupt them when they are sharing a thought or idea. Use active listening skills and never gossip. Peacefully resolve conflicts. Always maintain a positive attitude. Remember, you model the culture and attitudes that are reflected in the office. Your employees feed off your energy and mirror it. Be sure to start them off on the right foot.


Being the employer, you are responsible for engaging your staff. Their engagement reflects their investment to the company. In an era where the environment trumps the work done, creating the right cultural fit is monumental. The new wave of workers want their expectations mirrored through their employer. Tailor your procedures and policies to reflect these needs. If you present your best self and follow these seven tips, your organization will increase engagement and morale for all.

About Mary Wong


Mary Wong is the president of the Office Depot Foundation, the 501(c)(3) independent charitable giving arm of Office Depot, Inc.  To learn more about the Foundation and its new Difference Maker! Movement, visit www.officedepotfoundation.org.


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Advancing Women

Advancing Women