Jacqueline Benjamin, Xexec
Staff engagement strategies require a clear set of objectives and some logical planning to ensure they deliver. If your team is properly engaged, they are more likely to put in extra effort in their work, stay with you for a longer period of time and recommend your organisation to others, so it’s worth thinking strategically about these things. But what about the low hanging fruit? We thought you’d never ask! Here are 9 simple steps that every HR manager could (and should) take today to drive employee engagement in their organisation:
Offer non-financial awards
Anything requiring budget (and therefor involving the finance department) runs the risk of being delayed, or even blocked by the powers that be. So be a bit creative and offer your team employee awards that don’t cost a penny. These can include things such as an extra hour in bed, a day off, or even a coveted parking space.
Offer experiences rather than material gifts
If you do decide to invest in employee awards, make sure they are memorable. Will your high performers remember the bottle of wine they received last year? Or the motor racing experience they won? Which will they talk about at the water cooler with their colleagues? Experiences mean more to people and are more likely to become a talking point around the office.
Offer flexible hours
Flexible hours are becoming increasingly popular – particularly with millennials – and are a good way of showing your team that you trust them to perform their role on their own terms. Plus, it’s an initiative that is quick and easy to implement and with good reason! Research from Cass Business School and Cranfield School of Management recently confirmed the view that homeworkers and partial homeworkers are happier, more engaged and more likely to work in excess of their contracted hours.
Offer mindfulness classes
Popular in the Silicon Valley and supported by research, mindfulness is known to release stress, enhance focus on improve engagement in the workplace.The Journal of Management recently analysed a whole raft of studies and found that just 3 minutes of mindfulness a day can make all the difference.
Give praise when praise is due!
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: praising and recognising employees for their hard work and achievements is one of the quickest ways of effectively engaging them. There is a lot to be said about the impact of praise on employee engagement and motivation. Take, for example, a study conducted by researchers at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania on the impact of pep talks (focused on gratitude) on university fundraisers. The university employees who “heard (a) message of gratitude made 50% more fund-raising calls than those who did not.” It’s easy to do, free and can be very powerful – just make sure you give it for the right reasons, as if not it can actually be demotivating.
Create team moments
Team moments are an important of way of building better bonds between team members, encouraging peer-to-peer recognition and, ultimately, fostering engagement. Whether a weekly team lunch, a Wednesday morning meeting, or a monthly ‘awards ceremony’ these don’t need to be over complicated and, in the days of the flexible/remote worker, are becoming increasingly important as a way of facilitating face-to-face collaboration between staff.
Don’t forget the simple gestures
Some employers can overcomplicate their employee engagement strategy when, in actual fact, it’s the simple gestures that have the biggest impact. Whether simply saying thank you to your team, commemorating birthdays with a cake and a card, or asking team members to chip in to a leaving present, these acts of kindness show your employees that you value them, help foster better relationships between your team and often cost little or nothing at all.
Offer voluntary benefits
From discount cards with major retailers, to vouchers and offers at local vendors, more and more businesses are using voluntary benefits as a way of engaging and motivating their employees. These schemes give valuable benefits and discounted offers to employees yet don’t require the same completion of enrolment forms, payroll processes, HR approvals, or employment contract variations as salary sacrifice schemes.
Embrace instant delivery
People engage with things that are quick and easy to use and it’s now easier than ever to provide instant delivery of employee discounts. From e-vouchers which allow shoppers to redeem a discount voucher in real time on their mobile phone, to promotional codes which offer discounts at the point of purchase, these allow for a much more instant delivery of benefits to your employees. Even more fiddly areas such as travel discounts – after all, searching for flights can sometimes be onerous and complicated – can be made quicker and easier by offering a telephone concierge service.