Employee engagement is a hot topic these days. It’s a measure of how emotionally attached your team members are to the company they’re working for. The deeper the attachment is, the more effort your employees will make in the job.
This, in turn, translates into improved staff morale, higher productivity levels, better staff retention, and greater company success all round.
Crucially, the opposite also applies, which is why all managers and team leaders would do well to make employee engagement a priority issue.
The good news is that this doesn’t need to cost much. In fact, research has discovered that highly engaged employees aren’t all that motivated by monetary rewards, though an uncompetitive salary is certainly not a motivator! Instead, your strategy to engage your team members should focus on the four key main points: communication, trust, appreciation, and progression.
Communicating company values
Employee engagement begins with communication, it is vital to define your company mission, its core values, and long-term vision. With the entire team aligned, feeling empowered and working towards the same goals, there’s no limit to what can be achieved.
Start with your website; there should be a page dedicated to your company values, not only both for the benefit of your employees but also your customers. Some companies do this extremely well including Google and Etsy. Make sure that any new recruits are encouraged to internalise your core values from the get-go and use your onboarding process to reinforce this.
Next, think about empowering your employees, for example by authorising them to share social media updates on behalf of the company. It’s an easy way to make them feel part of the team, while turning them into brand ambassadors at no extra cost to you.
In terms of your offline presence, use your office environment to reinforce your company values, and build a sense of shared purpose and drive. Take a look at the physical environment and interior design. Does it give the impression of a comfortable work environment in which your team can truly thrive?
Perhaps the current lockdown is an opportunity to rethink and refresh your layout and colour scheme, and get the decorators in ready for when the world returns to some sort of normality.
One little trick is to have mission statements, brand values and inspirational quotes printed inexpensively on posters or canvases and place them strategically on office walls, adding an extra dimension to the decor. Here’s an online print supplier that makes short work of this.
Building trust in your team
Employees feel valued and engaged when they feel that their voice is heard, when they know and trust their leaders and feel that their ideas are taken on board. Recent research showed that workers who feel heard are almost five times more empowered to perform to their best abilities compared to those who feel they have no input.
Communication should be a two-way street; honest staff feedback is a valuable commodity. Rather than a clunky annual staff satisfaction survey, how about introducing an online suggestion box where team members can voice their opinions on anything from company morale to operational improvements to business growth ideas.
A complementary approach might be to ask for direct input on specific topics, initiatives, and campaigns. Ongoing communication and consultation go a long way to build loyalty and trust among employees.
Another important way to show your team that they have your trust is by encouraging autonomy and flexibility in the job. Perhaps remote working from home has already been introduced as a response to the coronavirus lockdown? Is everyone now meeting on Zoom?
Even when the pandemic is over, allowing your staff to adjust their work hours and workplace location to create a better work-life balance will play an important role in how engaged they will feel.
Showing your appreciation
Did you know that ‘thank you’ is one of the most powerful phrases in the English language? Everyone likes to feel valued in their job, and being shown appreciation is one of the most coveted forms of praise in the workplace.
The small and simple act of thanking someone for a job well done motivates and encourages that team member which, in turn, creates greater job satisfaction, more motivation to perform well and, ultimately, less staff turnover. Best of all, it costs nothing.
There are many other ways to show your appreciation that are nearly as budget friendly, and well worth considering. Here are a few ideas for you to ponder:
Devise a formal process to praise team members on a regular basis, Perhaps introduce an Employee of the Month scheme, or a Wall of Fame in the staff room that is updated periodically. Make your praise public on social media too.
Instead of distributing praise communally in group meetings, spend more time in one-to-ones. This will make the praise feel more personal and employers can go into much greater detail about what they were happy with.
Give out uplifting, personalised rewards as a token of the company’s appreciation.This can be quick and cheap to implement: priority parking for a week, coffee/tea served at the desk, favourite chocolates, branded clothing, and company swag.
Set up a ‘cheers from peers’ scheme so that coworkers can show appreciation to each other within the workplace. Give them the opportunity to shout out positive things that people are doing, so everyone in the company gets to know about them.
Celebrate individual milestones such as birthdays and work anniversaries, team wins, and important company events too. You may need to make a small budget available for presents and team treats such as cake, flowers, pizza, beer or wine.
As a new means of payment, you can also consider getting your employees digital coins by checking the crypto heatmap to see which ones are doing best at the moment. Businesses have started using digital coins or a usdt wallet or similar as a means of payments and budgeting. Some even use a crypto portfolio tracker to keep up with any value changes. This will encourage trading, so make sure to consult crypto tax advisors for tax-related queries.
Organise fun events that everyone in your company can participate in. From monthly quizzes to regular team lunches, weekend bike rides or corporate away days, ask your team what they would like to do and take it from there.
Growing your own leaders
Finally, to cement your team’s motivation, engagement and loyalty, you should think about the importance of having longer-term personal growth plans for each valued employee.
Research has found that a staggering 86% of millennials in a recent study would stay in their current job if career training and development were part of the package. Can you afford to take the risk of losing your talent?
Clearly, if an individual’s unique potential is recognised, valued and nurtured, they are more likely to go above and beyond in their job, making the kind of effort that comes from feeling secure, well-connected and invested in their work.
Training and professional development does not need to be expensive. In fact, one of the best ways to create future leaders from within is by providing guidance, mentoring, and coaching support rather than sending people to go on formal training courses.
A supervisor or line manager, team leader or even senior management team member could take on the role of coach or mentor, including the responsibility for career mapping an employee’s journey through the organisation.
By investing time into the development of your staff and teaching individuals the requisite skills needed to excel in their position, you will boost levels of employee engagement, motivation and confidence, while inspiring lasting loyalty to the manager and company as a whole.
A successful career progression plan will guide team members through the process with clarity and clear expectations as to what they have to do to reach career milestones. Employees who are encouraged to work towards a defined end goal with the support of their manager by their side remain engaged and motivated on their path to achieving it.
Creating a thriving culture of engagement in the workplace does not require a huge budget, but it does require commitment, dedication, and communication. The potential consequences of not investing in employee engagement include unhappy workers that are both unmotivated and unproductive, dragging down team morale, output, productivity and, ultimately, your bottom line.
The sooner you start engaging your employees, the easier it will become to retain talent and to maintain a happy, productive workforce in your business. Remember that employee engagement starts on day one. “The onboarding experience for an employee sets the tone for an entire employment experience,” advises one HR expert.
Make sure that your new hires start off on the right foot. Give them a clear sense of how their role impacts the company’s vision and mission and what the workplace culture is like.
By making a concerted effort to integrate them into the existing team as quickly as possible, you have the best chance of imbuing familiarity and a sense of team, which will stand you in good stead.
About The Author
Dakota Murphey is a freelance writer, based in Brighton, with over 15 years’ experience writing for magazines, news outlets and local companies. After working as a Business Growth Consultant, she developed her knowledge and now establishes herself as an expert in this field.