All in the Family: Engaging Employees by Engaging Their Families

Part of the Employee Engagement For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Spouses and other family members have a huge influence on how a person feels about his job or company. These individuals' views on the firm can make the difference between keeping a valued employee and losing that person. They can also make the difference between having an employment offer accepted or rejected. Savvy employers work to engage their employees (current and future) and their spouses!

Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • When an employee works late into the evening or during the weekend, send a handwritten note to the employee's spouse to thank him or her for donating family time to the firm and to emphasize the employee's critical role in accomplishing something important for the firm.

  • When an employee helps land a big contract for the firm, send the employee's spouse a handwritten thank-you note expressing your firm's appreciation for the employee's efforts.

  • When your firm gets an "atta boy" letter from a client, extolling the virtues of one of your employees, send a copy of the letter to the employee's spouse along with a handwritten thank-you note from you.

  • When making an offer to a potential employee, hand-deliver the offer letter to the person's home on your way home from work (assuming he or she is local).

  • When interviewing a potential employee from out of town, invite his or her spouse to come along. While you're at it, arrange for a local real-estate agent to show the spouse around town, including areas where they might be interested in purchasing a home.

Sure, these are small things. But they can make a huge difference!

These tips are focused on spouses. Be leery of extending such courtesies to employees' parents. (Don't laugh — many organizations are struggling with how best to politely decouple their Millennial employees from their helicopter parents!)

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