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A recent study from Deloitte University suggests that culture and engagement are core business issues, not just HR topics—87 percent of organizations cited these areas as one of their top challenges.

With the talent gap in Canada widening, keeping employees engaged is now more important than ever. Though many business owners realize this in theory, the overall work experience is actually deteriorating, according to the 2015 Trends in Global Employee Engagement Report from Aon. The report claims that perceptions of resources and programs that empower employees are declining across many markets and that “employees who are engaged, but not empowered are at risk of frustration, burnout disengagement, suboptimal productivity and turnover.”

So how can companies begin to address this challenge? Here are three ways to start to make the shift from a disengaged to an engaged employee base.

1. Treat your employees like you’d treat your customers

If you started losing customers you’d sit down and take a long, hard look at your processes. You need to take the same approach with employees. Consider building a cloud-based community where employees can interact, drive business action, and stay up to date on the issues that are most important to them.

By giving employees the tools to participate and collaborate, and encouraging them to use these tools, you’ll be able to gain insights into employee sentiments and mitigate potential issues before they spiral into unmanageable problems. The trick is to act upon what you see and make sure that your employees feel heard.

2. Work towards a common goal, beyond making money

Most people want their job to be more than punching a timecard to collect a paycheque. They want to feel like they’re a part of a team, and that they’re making an actual difference in the world.

When a company takes a stand and commits to a common goal like corporate giving, employees get to feel like they’re making a real-world difference, and can take pride in working for a company that does the same. A recent whitepaper suggests that corporate social responsibility (CSR)is the third most important driver of employee engagement overall, and an organization’s reputation for CSR is an important factor in both engagement and retention.

At Salesforce, for example, we have a strong philanthropic culture. The company was founded on a corporate philanthropic model called 1-1-1, where one per cent of product, equity and time are donated to improve the communities we live in. Last year alone, Salesforce’s employees spent over 31,000 hours volunteering with organizations of their choice across Canada.

3. A great company culture starts at the top

When leadership doesn’t ‘walk the walk,’ it’s difficult for employees to stay engaged. Sites like LinkedIn, Glassdoor and Facebook allow current and former employees to rate and reveal a company’s culture, so it’s no use trying to hide it. Leadership needs to embrace transparency and be upfront with workers. The result: highly engaged employees.

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With retention more important than ever, it’s time to treat employee engagement as a core goal to work towards. It’s simply good business.

David Borrelli is the GM of Commercial Sales for Salesforce Canada, the Customer Success Platform and world’s #1 CRM.

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Do you agree? What’s your top strategy for engaging employees? Let us know by commenting below.

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