It’s no secret why you’d want a happy workforce. If people aren’t enjoying their jobs, you can’t very well expect them to remain engaged—and a lack of engagement often means everything from work quality and productivity to recruitment and retention will suffer.
In short, employee engagement is important to business success.
The only problem is that the majority of workers are disengaged — 70 percent of them, to be exact. And it’s costing businesses and the U.S. economy an estimated $500 billion each year, which leaves us with one big question: What do we do about it?
While not all employee engagement initiatives will work for every company, the following 12 tactics could be the solution to improving the happiness and morale of your workforce:
- Give staff a purpose. These days, people want their work to serve a greater purpose. And if your mission somehow improves the community at large, it can be enough to engage team members and inspire them to work toward achieving your organizational goals. In fact, 73 percent of employees who work for purpose-driven companies say they’re engaged — compared to just 23 percent who don’t.
- Seek feedback. You probably conduct employee satisfaction surveys. But if they only take place once a year, you’re not getting a true picture of engagement. Give staff a greater voice by seeking continual feedback. Ask questions about morale, career progression, and growth opportunities — and then act on your findings.
- Create a collaborative environment. When it comes to business success, collaboration is key. It can improve not only employee engagement but creativity and innovation. And with nearly 40 percent of workers believing their employers don’t collaborate enough, your efforts could actually help retain and attract talent.
- Offer greater flexibility. Of all the benefits available, workplace flexibility topped the list for 75 percent of employees. After starting a flex program, companies often experience greater employee satisfaction, productivity, and retention. Instead of enforcing a rigid schedule, consider allowing employees to make their own schedules — with a stipulation, of course. They must put in the required hours.
- Get to know staff schedules. You’ve probably walked the work floor and noticed that one of your team members seems distracted or disengaged. Chances are, it has nothing to do with work. Take the time to really find out what’s going on in your employees’ lives, and then work with them to better accommodate their outside schedules.
- Focus on fun. People don’t often associate fun with work, and at many companies, the two are mutually exclusive. But here’s the thing: there are a number of ways to incorporate fun into the workday without disrupting work itself. Hold contests, scavenger hunts, and after-work events. Celebrate “national” days; March alone has Banana Cream Pie Day, Pound Cake Day, Oreo Cookie Day, Write Your Story Day, etc. Just make the office fun for staff.
- Offer more than money. No one’s going to turn down a raise, but there are plenty of other ways to show your appreciation for employees — and improve engagement in the process. Consider giving extra time-off for a job well done. Or, offer up tickets to a sporting event, concert, or even movie. Gift cards to local restaurants and coffee shops can also show you care about staff.
- Share praise. Managers shouldn’t be the only people praising employees for a job well done. When staff “crushes” a project or achieves a goal, leadership as a whole should personally congratulate them for their efforts. You should also encourage the rest of the team to throw a little praise their direction.
- Make philanthropy a priority. Philanthropy and volunteerism have become core tenants in building employee engagement initiatives. Why? Research has shown that 67 percent of people would rather work for a company supporting a social cause. But don’t just pick any charity. To drive deeper engagement, your choice of nonprofit must align to both corporate and employee interests.
- Award with responsibility. It’s one thing to give employees more to do; it’s another thing entirely to give them additional responsibilities. If you allow people to take ownership of their work, you’ll be surprised at how much it will drive them to achieve their goals. Give those deserving of more responsibility an important project or take the lead on an initiative.
- Engage through gamification. Gamification is the process of integrating game mechanics into an organizational platform or application, like a website, enterprise software, or online community. The idea is that “gamifying” something with point scoring, competition, etc. can encourage greater participation and engagement.
- Experiment with initiatives. What works for one team won’t always work for another, so play around with different engagement activities to determine which ones most resonate with staff. Given time, you’ll find a variety of options that will improve engagement levels.
If you’d like additional tactics and strategies for improving employee engagement, contact us! A member of our team would be more than happy to help.