There is no denying that it’s the employees who keep a business ticking over and can really turn it into a success. Smart business moves and shrewd management strategies are vital, but a strong company culture can make all the difference when it comes to business triumphs. This is all the more important for startups and small businesses, where a high staff turnover can be detrimental on a number of levels.

Fulfilled employees are far more likely to stay committed to the company, working for a favourable outcome and minimising new starter training costs. But just how do you get your employees involved and engaged? In today’s post, I discuss the art of networking, and the importance of encouraging an active voice from your employees–to get your business off to the best start.

Get Personal

A business should work as a team, so getting to know each other on a more personal level is a sure-fire way of creating a friendly and team-focused atmosphere. When starting up, hosting a low-key event for your employees is a great way for everyone to meet each other, and encourage active involvement from the get-go.

Establishing a cooperative effort from the start gives employees more responsibility, meaning they’ll endeavour to produce the best results they can. Getting to know your employees is one of the most underrated business tactics–some employees may look to develop their careers in the future, so why not make their progression work for you? First, understand what opportunities they’re looking for, and then see if you can accommodate this in your business. If an employee is gaining valuable experience, they’re likely to be far happier and work to the best of their ability.

Network, Network, Network

Networking isn’t just important for meeting potential clients and sponsors, it can also be the perfect opportunity to get all of your employees involved. As a hosting organisation, you’ll be providing opportunities for your employee’s career progression. Allowing your employee to connect with professional contacts and build strategic relationships will create a positive and supportive atmosphere. Employees will really value your mentoring, and are likely to return the favour with their loyalty.

Share Responsibility

Designating all the responsibility to one employee is a real business risk, and sharing out important tasks can actually be hugely beneficial for organisations. Invite your employees to share ideas at business meetings–where they will not only feel valued, but they may also have a really worthy contribution. Getting all the team involved in the relatively low importance everyday decisions will encourage employees to have an active voice, and they’ll be able to share their experience of what has worked well already.

But why stop there? Whatever your industry, there’s opportunity for development. In the world of retail, encouraging in-store staff to get involved in the all-important store design is a great way to let the team know that you appreciate their opinion. Whether it’s investing in a new point of sale display or reworking the store layout, direction from in-store can be incredibly valuable when coupled with expert marketing advice.

Employees Are Brand Ambassadors

The power of social media makes it a vital part of any brand or business. But how do you get the ball rolling online for a startup? The answer is your very own employees. Your employees are the best advocates for your firm–as they’re well-informed and will share your company message in a really positive light. Just establish clear guidelines on what can be published, and ensure your pages stick to the company voice and brand identity.

Employees are the lifeblood of any business–and by taking care of your staff, your business will take care of itself.

Siobhan Sweeney is a marketing executive at shop4pop.com, which offers more than 40 years’ experience creating and producing full event and retail campaigns for large clients in a variety of industries.