8 Simple Ways to Boost Employee Engagement
Increased employee engagement is linked to higher profits and better performance, so the importance of employee engagement cannot be underestimated. It can be a hugely important tool for growth, but boosting employee engagement in the workplace can be tricky because there are many aspects to consider. Read on to find out our top tips for increasing engagement amongst your employees.
Employee disengagement is a big problem in the UK, and the stats show that we have the worst figures in Europe. In fact, disengagement is thought to cost the UK up to £70 billion per year in lost productivity, so strategies and initiatives that promote and increase employee engagement are vital. Truly engaged employees are rare, and in Gallup’s most recent global study, it was found that only around 15% of employees are engaged at work, but studies show that even a small increase in engagement will have a huge impact.
An engaged employee is someone who is committed, enthusiastic, passionate and eager and on the whole will be much more productive and efficient at work than their disengaged colleagues. Engaged employees will go the extra mile because they are invested in their company and want to add value with their talent, time and energy. They are the employees that will help drive innovation and move your company forward, and increased engagement will improve retention and mean the top talent stays with you for longer.
Whilst competitive salaries are attractive, for the the modern worker a high salary alone won’t lead to higher engagement. Overall satisfaction might be improved slightly, but it won’t drive engagement and the extra effort that goes with it. Great engagement strategies don’t need to cost the earth, many are very low cost (or free) and can be implemented almost immediately. However, it shouldn’t be a one-size-fits-all approach. Management should take the needs and wants of employees into account to ensure the chosen strategies have the desired effect. After all, what works for a quirky tech start-up with 5 employees is unlikely to have the same impact on a 5000-strong accounting firm.
Here are 8 simple ways to boost your employee engagement strategy:
1. Encourage Flexibility
Offering a flexible working environment is increasingly important for the modern worker. What this actually means may differ business to business, but the simple act of giving your team more freedom will increase engagement. For some, it may be offering an agile working space, so employees can move around the office to work in different zones depending on their work tasks, or for others it may be offering flexible working hours, or even allowing your team to work from home. Giving increased autonomy to employees will show that they are trusted and will mean they are more productive, happy and engaged at work.
2. Transparency is Key
Employee engagement often suffers when employees don’t know what’s happening in the company. Without clear communication, the rumour mill starts to churn, doubt starts to breed and engagement drops. Strive to be a transparent company with open lines of communication between employees and their management. Transparency and authenticity builds trust, and a sincere relationship between management and employees will help motivation. It doesn’t need to be a daily occurrence, but perhaps send an internal newsletter or get the team together once a month, or once a quarter to share information about new developments, new hires and future plans.
3. Take a Break
The importance of employee wellbeing is well studied and well documented, and it can’t be argued that it’s instrumental in increasing employee engagement. Encourage your team to take regular breaks throughout the day, whether it’s to take a 5 minute walk around the office or to grab a cup of coffee from the office coffee machine. This will help maintain focus throughout the day and stop the dreaded 3pm productivity slump.
4. Clarify Goals
No matter the industry or job level, every employee should have a set of goals to work towards. Making goals and responsibilities clear from day one is important, particularly in the current working climate, where most individuals strive for personal and professional growth. Having a clear view of how their work contributes to the company’s purpose will help your team stay focussed and engaged.
5. The Working Environment is Vital
We spend upwards of 40 hours a week in the office, so it should go without saying that the environment we’re working in can have a massive impact on happiness and engagement. In order to improve engagement, focus on creating an environment that is comfortable and unique and that reflects the company’s values. A well-designed office that employees actually want to spend time in will have profound effects on engagement. It doesn’t need to be a big investment, perhaps it’s incorporating some elements of biophilic design, or adding desk lamps to brighten the dark spots in the office.
6. Encourage Collaboration
Collaboration is important for any business and should be actively encouraged. Not only does it lead to better ideas, it also improves relationships between colleagues, builds relationships between teams and helps improve engagement. A strategically placed, well designed coffee machine, like TopBrewer, can help inadvertently increase collaboration, as employees discuss projects and share ideas whilst drinking their morning coffee.
7. Provide the Right Tools
Make sure your team have the right tools to do their job. It sounds simple, but is often overlooked or forgotten. It’s difficult to build a culture of trust and improve engagement if your team aren’t able to effectively perform their job. As well as the tools needed to perform a particular job, just as specific software, this also means providing the proper training and development opportunities for your team.
A working culture that fosters continuous development not only benefits the company, who take advantage of the newly learned skills and knowledge, it also communicates to the employees that they are valued and worth the investment. An employee that feels valued and believed in is likely to be much more invested and engaged at work.
8. Say Thank You
Recognise and acknowledge when a member of your team has done a good job. It’s such a simple thing to say thank you, but it is often overlooked, particularly in large companies. Everyone wants to feel appreciated and know they have done a good job. In some firms, this thank you or recognition may be in the form of a physical reward, but a simple “thank you” goes a long way. If employees know their work is valued and they are being recognised by colleagues or management, they are likely to work harder, be happier and be more engaged at work.
Interested in this topic? Why not take a read of some of our related blogs: