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Employee Engagement: How to take care of your people so they take care of business

Written by Chloe Johnson


Posted on June 18 2021

Take care of your people and they will take care of your business. That’s how the saying goes, but how does that translate into our daily work lives? What does the reality of that concept look like? What can you do as an employer to truly look after your people?

Working environments have been completely disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic and we, as employers, have had to be extremely nimble and flexible, while also acting quickly to ensure business continues to thrive and employees continue to feel secure in their jobs.

There’s no denying the pressure has been intense for business owners who are navigating new ways of operating, but, as leaders, we must take a moment to pause and go back to basics to focus on our people. Do this and the success will follow.

Ultimately, it is the efforts and attitudes of your people that will determine whether customers and clients do business with you repeatedly.

I recently read an interesting Forbes Magazine article which supports this leadership mindset. 

 “A company with a strong culture that values its employees and customers and strives to serve and succeed has a long and promising life span,” it read.  

“Having a caring company culture impacts the company’s profits in a clear, positive way. The more your employees feel appreciated and valued, the harder they work to succeed, and thus help the company succeed. 

“If they are passionate about the company’s mission and product, they are more invested in the company and helping it improve. Companies with a healthy culture also see less turnover and lower levels of absenteeism, which can directly impact the company's bottom line.”

In my role as a Corporate Gift specialist at Little Koha, I’ve had the pleasure of working with companies who recognise, appreciate and reward employees for a variety of reasons. Some of the most memorable so far this year have been:

  • Team members getting a surprise gift box when arriving for quarantine
  • Expectant parents going on parental leave
  • Administration staff being surprised on ‘Admin Professionals Day’
  • High performing sales staff
  • Acknowledgment of a family death
  • Wishing a speedy recovery after surgery

Of course, our gifts are certainly a creative way to boost staff morale, productivity and the bottom line, but here are 3 other ways you can take care of your people:

1. Authentic check-ins
It’s been a year since we were in the eye of the crisis, and some people still feel uneasy or lack clarity about their future. Checking in with your team frequently, and doing it with empathy, can really deepen your working relationship. Take them out for coffee, eliminate work distractions and listen with interest.

2. Solve their struggle
During your check-in, simply ask them to share one thing that is keeping them up at night. It could be work, it could be personal. Take that information away and see how you might be able to alleviate their stress. For example:

Problem: Childcare is difficult to work around due to the Centre’s opening hours not aligning with your office hours. It also adds an extra 30 minutes to the daily commute. 

Solution: Perhaps you could work out a system where this employee works 2 days per week at home. This will reduce the daily commute on those days and eliminate some of the stress in his/her life, showing you really care about this person.

3. Create a sense of belonging
This is almost more important than pay! We all want to be part of the bigger picture and have purpose in our lives. Make sure your company vision is crystal clear, along with your expectations, so your employees know exactly what their role is in achieving the overall objective. When an employee has purpose, they have a sense of belonging and that results in an enjoyable work environment and a highly effective team member. It’s a win-win all round.

In summary, people are what make your business successful – both the people who work in it and the people you serve. When you don’t look after this asset properly, you risk strangling your business’ potential and growth, so give it the caring oxygen it deserves and enjoy a much more pleasant and successful working environment.  


He aha te mea nui o te ao, He tangata, he tangata, he tangata
What is the most important thing in the world. 
It is people, it is people, it is people.




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