Celebrating the people behind British small businesses

Use the 3 Cs of employee engagement to grow your small business

Employee engagement

A perfect metaphor for teamwork is the V-shape of geese flying overhead, all working towards a common goal.


According to Karen O’Donnell from Toastmasters International, If our small businesses create a supportive environment, our teams have the potential to be actively engaged, adopt the organisation’s vision and purpose, and boost the bottom line.


A recent survey of business leaders, in the Harvard Business Review, showed that less than a quarter of employees are actively engaged; having a real sense of belonging and actively finding solutions to work challenges.  More than a quarter are actively disengaged and the remaining 50% are simply turning up and blending in and might easily leave if they get a good offer elsewhere.


Clearly there is huge untapped potential that business owners can be doing something about; half your staff, if given the right environment and support, could be actively working towards the goals of the company.  What’s needed is active communication and making them recognise that they are an important part of the team.


This will reduce employee turnover, increase productivity, improve customer retention and therefore significantly increase profits.


To enhance employee engagement, in your business, I recommend using the  3 Cs: communicate – collaborate – celebrate.



Make use of all the technical tools available for team communication and don’t forget the value of face-to-face meetings.


Key action

In your diary prioritise scheduling weekly one-on-one ‘conversations’ with your direct reports. Use the time to review progress from the prior week, and review priorities for the current week. Develop an interest in them as a person.  There may well be times when they have personal challenges and for that week, they may not be able to give you 100%.  Knowing this, you can organise support through the other team members.  Showing empathy will be repaid in many ways


A good question to end the meeting is: What specifically do you need from me this week?


By maintaining this sense of ‘connection’ your team is more likely to expend less energy and complete projects more quickly. This translates to bottom line financial benefits.



Effective collaboration comes from each team member feeling as though they are an integral part of the success of the organisation.


Key Action

Develop a business culture of listening. Brainstorm with your teams and you will uncover gems – this will ensure a high level of collaboration. When you encourage ‘idea sharing’ within your business, you empower employees to think creatively to generate new products and services for your organisation.  They are also best equipped to come up with improvements on how they can be more efficient and effective.  With genuine teamwork each member has a vested interest in the success of the business or specific project. This means they will collaborate.



When we are acknowledged and appreciated, we are more likely to help and co-operate with other team members.


Being acknowledged, even with micro-recognition, on a frequent basis triggers our intrinsic motivation and inspires us to work better, harder and more efficiently.  This recognition happens “in-the-moment,” as a verbal appreciation of gratitude, and helps employees to draw immediate connections between the noteworthy behaviours they performed and the positive lift they feel from the instant recognition.


Key Action

When thanking a team member, use the power of three: (1) say thanks, (2) specifically mention what they did that’s worthy of praise and (3) explain how it is in line with the company’s vision and goals.


Catch team members doing good things and celebrate even small achievements, Say, ‘thank you’ – two simple words that have an immediate impact. Saying it in front of others will magnify its impact.


Growth and employee engagement go hand in hand. By incorporating the 3 Cs with the underlying foundation of communication, you will have a fully engaged team where each employee believes in the direction the organisation is going, everyone feels they belong and that they are an integral part of the business. By actively encouraging communication, and by celebrating, even small achievements, each member will feel their input really matters; they will enthusiastically support fellow team members, assist customers and promote the brand.


If you are running a small business focus on the 3 Cs and develop a company culture where communication is given priority, where teamwork thrives and where profits build.