If you run a business or manage a team, you want your workforce to be engaged. One of the most important things you could do for your business is to improve employee engagement, whether you know it or not.
Why? Gallup data showed that only 15% of working adults across the world feel engaged at work. Engaged employees give better customer service, are more productive at work, and complete their tasks to a higher standard than their unengaged colleagues.
So, most likely, you need to work at making your employees more engaged, but how do you go about it? If your mind jumped to extra benefits or a pay rise, think again – although that may boost their job satisfaction, it won’t make them more involved at work. Moreover, employee engagement doesn’t have to come with a large price tag, just some extra care and attention. Find out how below.
Check in with individuals
Even if you hold group meetings, the benefits of one-to-one meetings cannot be understated. More reserved members of the team will be less likely to share give honest opinions in a group setting, so you may not be getting the full picture. By checking in regularly, you’ll be able to correct course before an issue becomes very problematic, rather than picking up the pieces afterwards.
Individual interactions will enable you to discuss each employee’s likes or dislikes. For example, someone may want more autonomy, and another may want to speak in group meetings less. This is especially important in diverse workforces where people are of various ages, backgrounds and skillsets. This leads into the next point…
Listen to your employees
You can collect feedback easily with an anonymous survey which may help you get more honest responses. When your employees give you feedback, it’s the mark of a strong manager to accept it and act upon it. It’s a known fact that people will give more to their work when they feel like their voice is heard. Ignoring feedback and carrying on as normal will just further decrease engagement because it will be clear to your team that you aren’t listening to them.
More social interaction
One of the things that can greatly impact employee engagement is how connected your colleagues feel to one another and how emotionally invested they are in the team as a whole. The best way to improve this is getting the team to interact socially. That doesn’t mean you need to hold awkward icebreaker sessions where people divulge personal information. Instead, focus on shared experiences that naturally build stronger relationships.
Go out for drinks, have a meal together to celebrate getting a new client, or take the team out for a fun activity like go-karting or laser tag. Make it fun and no-one will want to miss out.
Make recognition a priority
People respond well to being valued. Make it clear when employees are doing well and consider offering rewards for quality work. It doesn’t have to break the bank; even a token gesture will be appreciated. You could hold a meeting once a week where you call out someone who has gone above and beyond. It’s a good idea to highlight the reason for the recognition (e.g. customer experience, efficiency) that resonates with the company’s values.
Some people might want to stay out of the limelight (that’s why one-to-one meetings are so important), but you should still praise them, even if it’s in private.
Look after their wellbeing
Like above, employees want to be treated like people, not like machines. And there is more to an employee than just their productivity and output. To recognise this, you should make it clear that you are looking after their physical and mental health. This will lead to a happier workforce that are consequently more engaged at work. You can’t completely remove external stress from their life, but they will work better if they feel like work is a place where they will be cared for, not stepped on.
You could show this by offering discounted gym memberships or healthy snacks around the office. Alternatively, bring someone in to hold meditation or yoga classes that will calm the mind and relieve stress. Be sure to listen to what your employees want and how else you may be able to help them.
Provide training and coaching
Stagnating at work is a great way to become disengaged. In order to avoid this, you should try to give employees opportunities to develop in their field and learn new skills. That’s not to say they need to go on an expensive course, but there is probably some knowledge that you could pass on to help them grow.
Another cost-effective way of helping your team progress is to provide regular performance reviews so they know where they need to improve and where they are excelling. You could also draft progression plans so that they know what is expected of them to progress.
The best part about all of these suggestions is that you can begin implementing them right away. Most of them don’t cost anything at all, you just need to be willing to go the extra mile to show your employees you value their time and work. Otherwise, they may just find an employer who does.