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Discussing Employee Engagement with Claire Newell, President of Travel Best Bets

Miles HR speaks with President of Travel Best Bets, Claire Newell:

We spoke with Claire Newell to learn more about the great culture at Travel Best Bets and gained valuable insights on their top tips for employee engagement.

How can higher levels of employee engagement impact an organization?

Employees are at the heart of every organization. They create success and are the face of the company providing success day-to-day. Without an engaged team, productivity and morale are bound to be low which has a huge negative impact on an organization.

Conversely, by ensuring employees are engaged, you can create a positive workplace that is efficient because you have addressed the needs of your team through engagement. There is no doubt in my mind that creating an engaged workplace leads directly to higher profitability, increased customer ratings and reduced turnover.

Can you tell us a bit about the current employee engagement programs at Travel Best Bets?

We have really tried to give employees the freedom to adjust their work schedules or location to better suit their needs, especially now that we have 3 locations (Vancouver, Burnaby & Langley).

We also have some employees working from home.  We have found that offering flexible hours and locations has resulted in a more productive, happier and more engaged team. We try to bond as a team with some outside of the office events a few times a year.  We also celebrate birthdays, babies, weddings, and other special events on a regular basis in the office.

When new employees start, we try to capitalize on their enthusiasm.  It has a great effect on the whole office.  That said, it is important that they have been hired with the right skills, and that they do interesting and productive jobs right away. This way they feel like they’re part of the team and contributing. We pair every new employee with a mentor to help train & acclimate them to the culture of Travel Best Bets.

Our managers also have regular touch points with the teams to check in on morale and performance. Being present and available in the office is important for our Management team also, as they can provide support and advice to the team as and when they need it.

How has employee engagement benefitted Travel Best Bets?

The Management team at Travel Best Bets have been incredible in understanding the importance of employee engagement. Through implementing employee engagement plans and devoting time to effective discussions with staff, we have seen some great benefits:

Turnover has significantly lowered at Travel Best Bets – Thanks to management buying into employee engagement, staff have seen their concerns addressed and their desires to develop further are listened to.

We have a stronger and positive company culture – We now have buy-in from everyone as to the direction of the organization and what makes us tick.

Our team is more productive, well-trained and efficient – Through employee engagement, we have learned what our team needs from management in order to do their job better. By implementing these changes it creates improved processes that ultimately benefit the business.

How can managers improve their engagement with staff?

I think that one of the most effective employee engagement strategies that any company can deploy is having Managers demonstrate the characteristics and behaviors that everyone else is being asked to display. The tone of any business culture starts at the top.

I feel that Managers should be accessible and visible around the office, which makes employees feel they are approachable and available for guidance and assistance. It’s so much better for the general office moral than having Managers locked away behind closed doors.

Managers should try to regularly recognize employees for their contributions and achievements publically in the office. This motivates those individuals to continue doing great work, but also inspires their peers.  Also, a simple ‘thank you’ for an employees efforts goes a long way – it’s the easiest way to build trust, restore tense relationships and energize the workplace.

What three tips would you give to organizations looking to grow their employee engagement?

Make it known that you care about your employees – Be present, be approachable and take action.

Really listen to your employee’s feedback — and make changes accordingly if possible. Employees often know what needs to change in order to make a more productive and efficient workplace. Listening to them can be an incredible low-hanging fruit for improving a company’s performance.

As a business owner, never lose sight of the fact that the more engaged your employees are, the more productive they become. As a result, you will get something money just can’t buy – a happy workplace.

On behalf of Miles, we’d like to thank Claire Newell for sharing her valuable employee engagement insights!

You can also learn more about Travel Best Bets here!