For any company, ensuring that their employees are enthusiastic and committed to their job is crucial to their long-term success. Not only do engaged employees make more productive workers but it also translates to lower turnover rates, higher customer satisfaction and overall a more friendly and transparent work environment. In fact, organizations with strong employee engagement reported revenue growth at a rate 2.5 times higher than those with lower employee engagement.
Despite its importance, however, a survey by Gallup revealed that only 34% of U.S workers feel engaged at work. The numbers are pressing but it is still far higher than the world’s average which stands at just 13%. Fortunately, increasing employee engagement isn’t difficult and there are even ways to do so without incurring a heavy expense. Taking notes from the industry’s top experts, we share with you some powerful methods for increasing employee engagement at the workplace.
1. Give Your Employees the Freedom They Need
No one likes being micromanaged. If an employee is not being given the flexibility that they need in regards to their work, they will be less likely to feel engaged with it. Not only that, but it also harms their ability to learn and grow as a professional.
To make your employees more passionate about the work they, give them the freedom they need at the workplace. This can range from allowing the employee to formulate their own work schedule to giving them full leverage on how to approach a particular project.
Many employers fear a loss of productivity if the employees are not constantly monitored by the managers. However, the opposite is true. Organizations that offer greater flexibility to their employees showcase improvements in productivity, communication, creativity, and engagement.
2. Foster Collaboration
Teamwork makes the dream work. An employee that is always working individually on their projects with chances of interaction with their fellow co-workers would quickly feel atomized and start losing interest. Whenever plausible, encourage collaboration and teamwork.
This will help improve employee engagement as well as facilitate better task outcomes due to the exchange of ideas and individuals within the groups filling in on each other’s shortcomings. Because the responsibility is shared, it generates less stress as well as naturally motivates a sense of camaraderie within the team.
Furthermore, it also helps with an employee’s growth as they get a chance to learn from co-workers, supervisors, and bosses.
3. Have an ‘Enabling’ Infrastructure
Employees are more likely to succeed in their role if they are provided the right tools for the job. For instance, a person working in the capacity of a social media manager can give better performance if they are given such as tools as a post scheduler, ideation and automation solutions and social media analytics provider. This is referred to as ‘enabling’ infrastructure.
By having an enabling infrastructure in place, your organization will obviously benefit from higher employee productivity. But, apart from that, by removing the most mundane, time-consuming and repetitive processes out of their daily tasks, employees would be more able to put their focus on their core competencies, helping improve work satisfaction and driving greater engagement.
4. Get Involved in Charitable Causes
Let’s face it, no matter what you do, employees aren’t going to feel much engaged with their work if it only means making money for the company. Sure, higher pay and perks can be an incentive but they alone seldom guarantee strong engagement. Rather, get your organization involved in making a difference within the community and encourage your employees to volunteer their skills for the effort.
Doing this will help boost the morale of your employees and make them appreciate and feel proud of the organization that they are a part of. Not only that but it will also improve the public image of your organization. Both of these outcomes translate to higher growth prospects.
5. Make the Workplace Comfortable and Welcoming
Often, it is the small things – a broken air conditioning system, weird smell in the office, a drab aesthetic, etc. – that, over time, contributes a lot to dampen the mood and makes employees less eager to come to the workplace.
Making the workplace environment more comfortable and welcoming can go a long way in increasing employee engagement. Adding a new touch of paint to the walls, making the office lighting feel less jarring and ensuring the office temperature remains in the comfortable zone are just some subtle ways that can greatly lift the mood of your employee, reduce stress and make them more motivated at work.
6. Encourage Feedback
Encouraging your employees to provide their feedback and acting on them can showcase them that they are valued and their opinion matters. This can make them feel like a more integral part of the organization and make them more motivated towards contributing to its success.
A lot of issues facing employees at the workplace can be immediately noted and addressed by directly asking about it. Feedback can also extend to input regarding certain proposals, design concepts, and policy implementation. In similar regard, there could be personal or professional obstacles preventing an employee from becoming fully engaged with their work and giving their best. Often, only through feedback will employers be able to know of these issues and aid their employees in resolving them.
In addition, taking employee feedback about their work can also help the management better assess their capabilities and better match them with work that they are most comfortable with. Naturally, giving individuals the task that they are most well-suited for is bound to deliver a higher engagement level.
7. Show That You Care
If your organization is giving off the image that all it is interested in the work that your employees deliver that will be quite detrimental to their engagement. Employees are likely to bring more passion into their jobs if they are shown that the company really cares about them.
For starters, encourage them to take short breaks between work instead of forcing them to be glued on to their seat all the time. This will help them de-stress from the work and freshen up their mind. Less stress at work drives engagement.
In addition, incorporate a people-focused culture at the workplace, enabling your employees to better balance their professional and home life more easily. To this end, it is also important to have proper policies in place in case of events that require an employee’s commitment elsewhere e.g. death of a loved one, childbirth, important family responsibilities.
Asking your employees to sacrifice their personal lives for the sake of the company isn’t going to still well with them and the only one to lose here is the company due to the employees becoming demoralized and losing any incentive to perform better or just outright quitting. Any productivity lost due to a few days or even weeks of paid leaves can be more than made up for by the employee that is eager to stay at the company for the long term and feels thankful for the compassion it has for its workers.
8. Invest in Their Growth
This is a recommendation that we particularly want to stress upon. Good employees are highly growth-driven (INSERT LINK: Biggest Reasons Why Good Employees Quit). An organization that invests in the growth of its workers and provides them with opportunities to advance their careers are likely to enjoy stronger employee engagement.
Knowing that their hard work will get rewarded and that they are not stuck in a dead-end career will make employees more motivated and committed to the workplace. There are many ways you can aid your employee to grow in their careers, not all of which requires a huge budget. Here are some simple and inexpensive ideas that your organization can implement:
- Encouraging the management to act as mentors and providing on-site training.
- Encouraging employees to attend workshops relevant to their career or even inviting industry leaders to the company to give a talk to your employees.
- Focusing on cross-training employees so that they can learn to perform other people’s jobs in addition to their own.
- Putting an emphasis on regular one-to-one coaching sessions between an employee and their supervisor.
Some employers may shy of investing so much into their employees given the ever-present risk of job-hopping. However, doing so becomes a self-revealing prophecy as a failure to invest in your employees result in them having fewer incentives to continue working for your organization.
In addition, it may also be important to know that job-hopping is, in fact, on the decline. On average, employees are choosing to stay longer at their current jobs compared to previous times.
9. Develop Empathy in Management
Employees are resource but they are people too. There will be times when an employee may feel stuck in their work, might be feeling down and demotivated due to some personal event or may suffer from a burn-out as a result of too much work. In such situations and more, an understanding and empathic management is crucial.
Employees themselves are often shy of revealing any shortcomings that they may be facing so it is important for a manager both be more approachable and be able to look between the lines to see if the employee may be having any issue. A distant manager that shows no concern for their workers and only focuses on results can be extremely demotivating and make the entire team lose interest in their work.
Understandably, the management cannot always be there for their employees due to their own heavy workload. However, going the extra mile to assist their employees when a problem arises and guiding them in work can really help with engagement.
10. Simplify Human Processes
Work is becoming increasingly complex but that doesn’t mean that processes requiring human input shouldn’t be streamlined and simplified. Care should be taken that the work procedures in place don’t serve as an unnecessary burden on the employee. For example, asking employees to give a daily report of their work may be unnecessary when automated tools are in place that can better report on these activities.
The policies and procedures in place within an organization should serve to aid in efficiency and reduce unnecessary work lord on the employees. If instead, they are acting as a hindrance to getting the job done, they can add to employee frustration and make them less engaged in the workplace.
Tools such as automation, management systems, and self-learning A.I exist to ease the complexity of the workplace. Giving your employees the resources to adapt quickly to a changing environment and removing inefficient and bureaucratic barriers is essential not just for increasing employee engagement but also for the long-term survival of the company itself.
11. Recognize Achievements
Everyone loves to be appreciated and for their hard work to be recognized. Employees are more likely to give more to their company if they knowledge that the effort that they put in would be recognized and even rewarded. Even a simple thank you email from the boss can really go a long way in keeping the employee motivated about their work.
Recognition can come not only from the immediate manager but also from peers and even the top leadership within the company. For any large organization, highlighting the effort of its various employees may be difficult which is why a comprehensive and transparent recognition and reward system should be in place to make the whole process easier.
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