You might think salary motivates your employees to give their all at work. Of course, we all work to earn, but money is often not the driving factor when it comes to motivation and performance in the workplace. Employees who feel engaged and happy in their work are more productive. They get more done and perform at a higher level — which is great for business. Conversely, people who feel unhappy or disengaged from their work are less productive and more costly to a business due to higher levels of absenteeism, more accidents, and a greater number of mistakes. So how can you boost employee engagement in the workplace?
- Give Employees a Voice
Employees who are ruled over by a distant, faceless senior management team are more likely to be resentful of workplace rules and to feel disengaged from the business. People rarely feel loyalty to a company that shows no regard for their opinions or feelings about day-to-day operations that they are an integral part of.
Give your employees a voice by developing a culture of open communication where everyone is invited to have their say. There are many ways you can achieve this. Simply adding a statement to the company values, such as “All employees have the right to be heard,” and “We value everyone’s opinion,” can help to instill a healthy culture of communication. Build on this by implementing processes that provide a forum for people to have their say — meetings, suggestion boxes, anonymous staff surveys — there are countless ways to elicit feedback from employees. This feedback provides business owners with a useful insight into how their workplace runs — and it will make employees feel valued.
Make sure you put systems in place to keep people updated on how the feedback they provide is being used and be sure to take action on good suggestions for workplace improvements. Employees will not feel listened to, valued, and engaged if their recommendations repeatedly fall on deaf ears.
- Build a Culture of Teamwork
Employees with positive workplace relationships are more likely to be engaged and loyal workers. Most people need good relations in all spheres of life to feel happy. Many of us spend a significant proportion of our time at work, so relationships here are just as important as those outside the office. Employers can encourage a culture of teamwork in a variety of ways.
Work uniforms are a great way to turn your workforce into a team. Providing employees a set uniform promotes equality and unites employees. There is no pressure to compete with colleagues for the title of Best Dressed or Most Expensive Jewellery. Uniforms level the playing field and foster a spirit of “being in it together.”
Allowing time for team building events is another effective way to encourage positive working relationships between colleagues. Team building is especially important if the company is large with many disparate departments. Team building activities, days, or weekends provide the opportunity for employees to mix with those in other departments. This can help them to feel part of the business as a whole, rather than just the small group of people they work with each day.
While team building sessions do take people away from their work and may incur a cost, they can prove to be a fantastic long-term investment. Employees who enjoy working with their colleagues are more likely to remain in the job, meaning less time and money spent on recruitment and training new staff. There is also a good chance that allowing people with different skill sets from multiple departments to get together could lead to exciting new business ideas that boost productivity and profits.
- Invest in Professional Development
Some employees will be happy to remain in the same role indefinitely, but many are keen to progress and achieve for the company and themselves. Investing in the professional development of your staff has many benefits. Employees feel valued and will have a greater sense of loyalty to the company — and the company will benefit from the employee’s enhanced skills and knowledge. Recruiting and training new staff is one of the biggest costs for businesses. Providing appropriate professional development is an effective way to retain experienced, motivated, and loyal staff.
It’s essential to implement a structured process for training and development. Employees need to feel they can approach senior staff to request support for progression, and they need to understand how to do so. Include an assessment of training needs in the performance management process or schedule regular email surveys that invite employees to suggest training sessions they are interested in. Employees should drive their professional development, and their employer should support this.
- Recognize Outstanding Achievement
Who doesn’t like praise for a job well done? One of the simplest, yet most effective, ways of boosting employee engagement is to recognize outstanding achievement. If someone has achieved fantastic results for a client or gone above and beyond on a project, praise them for it! Recognition can be formal or informal. As long as the employee feels it is sincere rather than a checkbox exercise, praise can make people happier and more productive in their work. Senior management should be reminded to verbally praise those who do well. Perhaps ask them about who they have praised and why in performance management meetings. It’s also a good idea to implement a more formal process of recognition, perhaps with an Employee of the Month program or a bonus scheme.
If employees feel their contribution is valued and recognized, they will be more engaged, productive, and loyal to the company. This recognition is a quick win which any employer can implement right away!
- Show That You Care
Complying with Health and Safety regulations is not only a legal obligation, but it is also important for employee engagement. People who feel their employer is investing in keeping them safe will feel a stronger affiliation with the company. Make sure you communicate what actions are being taken to protect employees and what responsibilities they have with regards to Health and Safety. This can be as simple as putting up posters in relevant workspaces or circulating an email with any policy updates.
Employee feedback can be incredibly useful too. Policies are often written by management who may not be involved in the daily tasks that the policy refers to. Invite employees to highlight any gaps in safety provision and to voice concerns about things that are not working as they should. They may even have the perfect solution!
Invest in Employee Engagement and Reap the Rewards
Business leaders may be tempted to sideline workplace changes aimed at boosting employee engagement, in favor of more demanding business needs. But those who underestimate the impact of employee engagement on business productivity and success may do so at their peril. Without employees, there is no business. Happy, engaged employees will be loyal, dedicated, and hardworking people who are keen to work with you to see the company thrive. A small initial outlay in work uniforms or an Employee of the Month scheme could reap significant rewards in the short and long term.