Most companies recognize employee engagement as vital to their long term success. While “People,” in Triple Bottom Line thinking can include supply chain and community, this blog will focus specifically on employee-related actions you can take to improve your triple bottom line. Items like employee engagement, benefits, and communication are all crucial to a successful “People” framework.

Sometimes we can get caught up in the environmental benefits of sustainability. Finding and integrating “People” strategies are just as important in creating a sustainability framework. This blog will focus on important people actions you can take as a small business owner.

So just how important is employee engagement? Employers in the United States spend $1.1 billion annually looking for new employees. The time and effort spent to find new employees is much better used in retaining them. Companies with high employee engagement are 21% more profitable. The statistics go on and on.

You can use engagement techniques, benefits and communication to help improve your people strategy.

Improving employee engagement is an exercise in research and information gathering. You’ll want to gather information from your employees to find perceived gaps. Use that alongside external information from competitors and best practices to create a robust strategy.

A critical part of employee engagement is knowing where you stand. Start with a survey asking employees if they’re engaged, why or not why, and what your company can do to improve their engagement rate.


Conduct employee surveys to figure out where or how to engage employees. Examples of survey questions can be found here and here. There are extensive resources for employee surveys. The important thing is to send it and take the feedback accordingly.

Collate the surveys and find similar themes. Once you’ve got the information, save it. Your offerings could improve down the line. Google and Apple didn’t always have amazing benefits, they worked toward them.

Depending on your company growth and trajectory, a bi-annual survey should be sufficient. Follow up with questions asked previously to make sure you’re on the right track. Ask employees how they feel before and after making any changes.

Turnover rate and information

When employees leave do you know where they go? Exit interviews provide information from employees to see if they are leaving for more money or flexibility will help you create better internal systems and benefits. Figuring out how many employees you’re losing and why will help you boost your efforts.

Check the competition

While you’re looking at turnover rate and exit interview information, check out benefits offered by competitors. Companies providing great benefits share those details widely. Review and take notes from their company website, sustainability reporting or external websites like Glassdoor.

Use Gathered Information to Improve Benefits

Only 12% of employees leave the company for more money. Most employees are interested in other benefits, tangible and intangible. Use the information from internal and external research to review your current benefits.

Don’t feel the need to change all at once. Find the one or two most important to employees and create a plan to expand or add the benefit within the next 12 months.

Benefits to Review or Consider

Parental Leave

This is a big one. Studies show this is the most popular and requested benefit offered. If you’re having issues with retaining parents after parental leave or employees mentioned parental leave as a needed benefit, consider increasing the time allocated.

Flexibility/Remote Work

Are employees allowed to work at home? Can employees adjust schedules to accommodate family needs? Adding flexibility in the form of working from home or offering flexible hours is another coveted benefit.

Wellness Benefits

Items like health insurance, gym reimbursement, and health education ultimately benefit your business. A healthy workforce reduces absent or sick time. Review these benefits to make sure you’re providing optimal resources for your employees.

Professional Development

Employees who see a long future at a company can usually chart their career path or see opportunities for advancement. Make career paths clear to employees and survey to determine how they would like to grow.

Other professional development offerings include tuition reimbursement, education opportunities, paid professional development days, and paid conference attendance.

Free Ways to Engage Employees

If you can’t increase salaries, think of time-oriented ways to increase engagement. Yes, time is money but if you’ve used time correctly, you’ll still see benefits from these changes:

  1. Employee-led lunch and learns
  2. Employee book clubs
  3. Regular office outings or happy hours
  4. Rewards including time off or longer lunches

Brainstorm and find ways to acknowledge employees’ effort without spending a ton of money.

Recognition and Communication

37% of employees consider recognition to be the most important form of support. Have managers add recognition as part of their one-on-one meetings with employees and encourage them to set up a recognition system for their employees.

Communication is a great, free way to engage employees. Employees that feel in the know are more likely to feel like they’re contributing to the general mission and goals of the company.

Best practices for communication include:

  1. Regular surveys with communication results and changes from surveys
  2. Recognition within a team
  3. Regular all-hands meetings where employees can share wins or ask questions
  4. Anonymous feedback forms to encourage communication
  5. Leadership sharing planned improvements or hopes for the company’s future
  6. Weekly or bi-weekly email communication to employees about goals, company information or change

Share Your Great Benefits

If you’re working on improving your benefits offerings or have made significant changes, share it. It’s important to share changes with existing employees and prospective ones. Make sure your careers page has up to date benefits and any external job sites have a robust roundup of company offerings.

If you’re interested in this and engaging employees, there are multiple services, software platforms and people you can consult with to assist with employee engagement. I recommend checking those out to dig deep.

Are there any other engagement information you would add? Share in the comments.

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This post was originally published on Green Buoy Consulting’s blog.