Employees are one of the most important parts of any organization. And if the labor shortages around the world are an indication, a lot more needs to be done to increase employee engagement. But how can this be done? Especially in a simple, cost effective way?
What if with a few small changes to your business, you can actually produce more with the employees you already have? And these same steps also worked towards improving retention and referrals?
Increasing your employee engagement can do just that. And we have 5 easy-to-implement tips for making it happen in your company.
Engagement isn’t just a buzzword or the latest HR trend. It’s measured by Gallup on a daily basis along with things like economic confidence and consumer spending. Engaged employees make up about 30 percent of the workforce. They put in what is called “discretionary effort,” effort that is beyond the minimum needed to perform the job to standard. They’re the ones who literally go above and beyond.
They’re also less likely to call in sick, have accidents or leave the company, and they’re more productive than their unengaged counterparts. There’s a few other benefits as well.
Here’s a few ways that increased employee engagement will help your team, organization, and customers.
What drives success? Happiness!
When your team’s more satisfied on the job, they are less likely to look for work elsewhere. That translates to an increase in workplace loyalty. As well as a higher retention rate.
Satisfaction helps in other ways. It lowers absenteeism, some studies show as much as 41% less absenteeism for engaged workers. It makes for a better home life, which in turn makes for a better office environment. And in the time of remote work, doubly important. Since for so many their home is also now their office.
Health and happiness go hand-in-hand. When people are happier, they are less likely to engage in harmful activities. Plus, things that boost engagement – fruit in the breakroom, afterwork activities, and a more inclusive work culture – can all lead to better health. But you don’t even have to go all out.
A study from the past year showed that 40% of global employees said that no one at their company had asked them if they were doing OK. A surprising number considering the state of the world these past few months.
If the previous reasons aren’t convincing enough, how about the impact on your bottom line?
When your staff is happier, they are less likely to leave. That’s less turnover which eats into your time and budget.
Moreover, it’s been shown that employee engagement drives organizational growth. With companies that have an engaged team seeing a 17% increase in productivity. This can also translate to sales and productivity. With each seeing a respective 20% and 21% increase compared to their disengaged counterparts.
Guess what. Happiness is contagious. And when your team’s happy, so are others. Including your clients. Studies have shown that engaged teams have 10% higher customer ratings than disengaged teams. That’s proof you can take to the bank.
Plus, when people are happier, projects run more smoothly. This means your projects are less likely to fail, and the project clients will be more impressed with the good work.
So, how do you improve engagement? Turns out there are some specific, inexpensive and uncomplicated steps you can take.
Regular meetings with management are shown to improve engagement. This is especially true among millennials, who are 50 percent more likely to be engaged if they meet with management regularly.
Remote and virtual employees also benefit from regularly scheduled meetings. As it may be the rare occasion everyone can come together across time zones. And sync up their plans.
This is because meetings boost employee participation, creating a shared sense of purpose. It gets everyone on the same page about team objectives and goals. As well as defining individual goals, and developing opportunities for personal growth.
Of course, having meetings for the sake of meetings can be counterproductive, but proper resource planning can help you meet more efficiently.
To make regular meetings part of your company culture, set expectations from the beginning.
When you write your job descriptions, be sure to include regular meetings as part of the job for everyone. Make it clear during your onboarding process as well, and then follow through. Create schedules with time set aside for recurring meetings and notify everyone if there’s changes.
Another thing studies have tied to engagement is meaning. When employees feel their work is meaningful, they’re more likely to be engaged. It makes a lot of sense if you stop to think about it. Would you be willing to go above and beyond if you felt your job was pointless?
Companies have tackled this in several ways. Some give match employee donations, others allow them to donate work hours to a charity – in other words, the company gives them paid charity days. Others hold charity events at work.
Steve Jobs was known to directly tie meaning to the work his employees did in unexpected ways, once famously explaining how improving a computer’s speed could, in a sense, save lives.
An even simpler solution can be done whilst creating an employee schedule. With resource management software, managers can help by pairing the right task to the right person. Helping your staff feel more fulfilled in their work. And allowing them create their own meaning on the job.
Tip: Custom data fields are great at helping PMs match the right person to the task. In Ganttic, you can add data fields about all work-related traits. The languages someone speaks, their shoe size, their location or time zone. And more! You can even filter and group according to these fields, so you’ll easily and quickly find what you need, fill capacity, and get the job done right.
It seems that the more autonomy employees feel they have, the more they get to make decisions. And there is a direct link between this feeling of control and how engaged they are. As a study on self-management proved. Which showed that the simple act of making a plan for the day went a long way in increasing the level of engagement employees experienced.
Start by helping your employees self-manage. Even if it’s something simple, like giving them more control over how they tackle a project.
Provide them with tools and resources to take their management into their hands. Personalized Kanban boards can be great for this. And pairing these with Gantt charts that the whole office can interact with, can work towards improving workplace planning and management. While keeping all work activities organized and in one location anyone can refer to.
And are there some places where you can give up control? For example, can you allow for more flexible schedules or remote work? Reorganizing your workspace to create a hybrid office is one step a number of companies are beginning to take.
What would happen if you let them decide how many vacation days they get, as some places like Netflix does? Not all businesses or jobs lend themselves to this, but it just goes to show there are many ways to provide flexibility to the workplace. Which can go a long way in improving overall engagement.
This is one of the most interesting and easy to implement ways of increasing employee engagement. All it involves is a shift in attitude. When bosses and managers focus on building employee strengths, rather than trying to rid them of weaknesses, employees become more engaged.
It creates an environment where people want to be. As opposed to something they dread. Positivity breeds positivity, so not only will your employees be happier, but this can trickle down into their work, your clients, and overall profitability.
Start by practicing what you preach – the next time you meet with an employee, focus on their strengths. Beyond that, talk to other managers about how this can improve engagement, and see if they’ll commit to trying it for a period of time. Successful project managers know that communication is the most important leadership skill. And by focusing on more positive communication, it’s a win-win!
Finally, one of the biggest drivers of employee engagement is recognition. This is one of the easiest to understand. When people go above and beyond, it feels good to get recognized for it. And if people know they’ll be appreciated, they’ll probably feel better about going above and beyond next time. Peer recognition seems to be the most effective.
There are several cool apps that make it easy for employees to connect and give each other recognition. You can also try simple programs, such as imitating one that Zappos uses. Each month, employees get to vote on which of their peers went above and beyond. Whoever gets the most votes wins $50. Clearly, it’s not about the money (although $50 is always nice to get), it’s about making employees who have gone out of their way for the company feel like it’s being noticed.
Ok, there are 5 low-cost, easy-to-implement ways that you can help boost engagement at your company, and help it sail through this difficult time for hiring top talent. If you’re strapped for time, see if you can just start practicing tip 4 on your own, and watch the effect it has.
And with resource planning software like Ganttic, there’s a lot of ways that the tool can help increase engagement:
This is a quest post by Paul Peters who is a content marketer and job ad writer with Betterteam. Before Betterteam he spent 6 years building an education startup, where he was involved with many aspects of the business, including hiring and marketing.
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