Why aren’t you getting the most out of your staff? It’s a common frustration among company leaders. You’re paying them well. You’ve pulled out all the stops in giving them a beautiful and functional workspace. What more do they want?
The good news is, cracking the nut of employee engagement and improved productivity is actually easier than you might think. Create a positive working environment, focus on employee happiness and help your team achieve work-life balance and issues like engagement, productivity and retention tend to take care of themselves.
But what does this look like in practical terms? Here’s five staff engagement ideas that you can implement in your workplace.
1. Encourage staff training and personal development
It’s okay to admit that training can create problems for many businesses. It’s often costly, it’s always disruptive and there never seems to be a right time for it beyond the employee onboarding process. Once a staff member has become a fully functioning cog in the machinery of your workplace, it can be hard to remove them even for a half-day. There’s always a looming deadline or important target that takes priority.
However, when you make training an integral and ongoing part of the employee journey, team members feel a lot more valued. They see that you care about them outside of the set of functions they serve for you in their current role. It shows them that you value their skills and the part they play in your success.
Moreover, it provides them with a sense of challenge. Employees rarely want an easy life. They know that over time when their job becomes too easy this usually leads to complacency, boredom and stagnation. An ongoing programme of personal development means that they always have something to work towards. There’s always a new challenge on the horizon and a new opportunity to learn and grow.
2. Emphasise the importance of health and wellbeing
Very often your staff will spend more of their waking hours with you than they do with friends and family. And if they’re only looking after their health and wellbeing outside of office hours, they’re not really looking after themselves at all.
The best way to get the most out of your employees is never to work them too hard. However, when you help them to look after their health and wellbeing, you’ll find that they work better.
There’s a range of ways in which you can do this:
- Make sure they have easy access to healthy snacks and plenty of water.
- Give them access to standing desks and encourage them to get out of their seats at least once an hour.
- Give them the autonomy to work at their own pace and step in when you feel they’re overdoing it.
- Join the Cycle To Work Scheme and actively encourage walking, cycling or carpooling.
- Arrange social events where teams can improve their relationships and build emotional intelligence while instilling a happy and social company culture.
- Invest in an on-site gym or give out free or discounted gym passes.
- Let them interact meaningfully with their peers. After all, it’s not school and you shouldn’t place a blanket ban on conversation.
When their day to day working lives are more conducive to good health, you’ll find that you lose less money and productivity to sick days and enjoy much healthier and happier employees.
3. Provide flexibility and encourage a work-life balance
By all means, you should expect commitment and dedication from your team. But you should also expect and encourage them to have a life outside work. Work-life balance is important for all of us (including you, by the way!).
Addressing work-life balance is an important way to demonstrate how much you value them on a personal level. Be flexible where you can in their work hours as well as entertaining the possibility of remote working (which can also bring down your overhead costs). Let them leave a little early to pick their kids up from school or let them come in a little late to give them plenty of time to cycle to work, take a shower and grab a coffee in time for the working day to begin.
A little flexibility goes a long way.
4. Give employees a voice — and listen to it!
Part of creating a company culture that keeps employees happy and engaged (and preventing them from crossing the road to join your competitors) is making sure that they can speak out with confidence. They should be able to speak out when they have an issue without fear of reprisals. They should know that they can voice their ideas without being ignored or shouted down. They should be able to give and receive feedback reciprocally. With you and on a peer-to-peer basis.
Whether it’s through a part of your intranet, a specific communications app or even something as traditional as a suggestion box, it’s essential to give employees a forum to make their voices heard. But it’s just as important to make sure that they know that they are heard.
Whatever platform you use to help them express themselves, it also needs to be used to demonstrate a timely response on your part. Which brings us to…
5. Use a dedicated social platform to celebrate employees’ achievements
Many employers can (understandably) can get a little uncomfortable when it comes to the use of social platforms in the workplace. After all, social media can be a time waster and a productivity-sapper. But it can also make employee communications more efficient, encourage your employees to celebrate their own and one another’s achievements at work, and even improve employee engagement.
It’s simply a case of using the right social platforms.
Using a dedicated social platform allows you to share employee successes quickly, as well as facilitating peer-to-peer recognition. Most employees want more than just to walk away with their payslip at the end of the month. They want to feel like the work they do is valued. That it makes a difference. These platforms can do exactly that while encouraging and employee interaction. This is especially important in larger companies where some team members can feel like they’re working in a vacuum.
These dedicated employee recognition platforms can even be used in conjunction with a rewards system that gives employees more of what matters to them, whether it’s an extra half an hour for lunch or an early cut on a Friday afternoon. Still, if these could derail productivity, fear not — recognition is usually its own reward.
They can also be used to share information and key developments about the company, helping team members feel like a community and reminding them that your success is their success.
Keeping employees happy, healthy and in the loop is the key to improved employee engagement. With the right digital tools and the right activities using the staff engagement ideas above, you can give your workplace a huge shot in the arm!