6 Employee engagement ideas to grow your bottom line
Do you staff seem disinterested in the job? Haven’t really heard anyone laugh wholeheartedly or seen any genuine smiles around the office in a long time? It could be because your team suffers from low employee engagement. It’s pretty common. In the US, almost 60% of employees feel that they are not engaged at work.
What does this mean for you?
How do you drive engagement within your business?
Good questions. Before we answer those questions, we need to understand what employee engagement is.
Defining employee engagement
There are many definitions for employee engagement. For the purpose of this blog post, we’re going to define it as follows:
Employee engagement is the extent to which employees exert themselves, both physically and emotionally, while performing their jobs.
At TuYu, we like this definition because it speaks to much of what employers expect out of employees. A lot of business leaders see their businesses as breathing, living things. Like all living and breathing things, leaders want the best for their businesses. They look to employees to nurture their businesses, growing them into successful enterprises. In order to do that, employees need to care. They need to be able to understand the impact that they make on the business. They need to be invested in the organization.
What about commitment?
In an insightful blog post about employee engagement, Linda A. Barlow, CHRP, introduces commitment as a part of the employee engagement construct. Linda also makes the distinction between two kinds of commitment that employees experience.
The first kind of commitment is called How do you drive engagement within your business?
Linda shares that this has to do with the degree to which employees feel their manager, team, and the organization have their best interests (financial, developmental) in mind.
The second kind of commitment is called emotional or “feeling” commitment. This has to do with the degree to which employees actually enjoy their jobs and appreciate their leadership team and colleagues.
What’s very interesting to note is that both forms of commitment center around employee personal experiences. This means that engagement is all about how employees feel towards the business.
It’s pretty clear what low engagement looks and feels like. But just to make sure that we have the same understanding, here are a few signs of a business suffering from low employee engagement:
- There’s a general indifference about the success of the organization
- People hardly come up with new ideas
- There’s a feeling of unease whenever extra effort is required to complete projects
- There’s a sense of distrust among employees
- You’ve heard or often hear the words “what is the business doing for me?”
If any of these look or sound familiar, now’s the time to make a change. Continued low employee engagement will erode company culture and impact your business’s bottom line.
Making engagement work
If getting the best out of employees is really hinged on employee engagement, why do so many organizations get it wrong? That’s a tough question to answer, but we think that the two reasons so many organizations never get the best out of their employees are:
- they are not focused on employee engagement
- even if they are, they don’t know how to drive engagement and make it a part of their company’s culture
If your organization is in a similar space, and low employee engagement is beginning to eat away at your bottom line, we’ve included a few ideas below that you can implement to start to turn things around.
But first, before you try any of the ideas that follow, you must embrace the discomfort.
Embracing the fact that your employee engagement is low is the first step to making a change. Also, being absolutely honest with your team that you are aware of the low engagement levels, is a best place to start. The alternative is acting as if everything is okay, and that you’re a new person who’s suddenly interested in their personal and professional well-being. The latter screams disingenuity and entrenches any negative associations that staff may already have of the business.
Here are six ideas on how to engage employees:
1. Recognise your staff
Sharing praise and giving rewards is actually something that staff expect and want to receive. Creating a way to reward your staff for their efforts is your way of recognizing that they are there putting in the hours and sweat to help you build something great.
2. Be open to new ideas
As a leader, there’s a high likelihood that while you understand how your business operates, you’re somewhat removed from what actually happens on the frontline. It’s pretty common. Some of the best ideas come from people on the ground. Those are the ideas that are focused on helping customers get what they want faster, making processes simpler and saving money.
3. Connect regularly with individual staff members
Employees want to be engaged by their managers more often than they let on. The kind of engagement that they are interested in relates to how they are performing on the job and how the work that they do is making an impact on the business. By developing a culture of both regular formal and informal interactions with employees, you begin to learn more about how to relate to your team and how to get the best out of them.
4. Express an open door policy
This really only works if you’re approachable and invite employees to engage you if they need to. What’s often evident of a successful open door policy is that as employees begin to feel more involved and effective because they understand the impact they have on the business. They become more confident and less reliant on running every idea past you for approval. The outcome is a higher standard, one you’ve set because you created a space to learn.
5. Encourage balance
Some of the most successful businesses work because they drive the idea of a healthy work-life balance. You don’t have to compete with unrestricted vacation time to be able to encourage balance. All you have to do is be able to gauge when your employees need a break. Encouraging balance can be as simple as creating a health challenge by introducing a juicer into your canteen. To make it even more fun, create a contest where staff come up with really tasty juice combinations. The winner could be given the reward of leaving work a few hours earlier than everyone else.
6. Create a mutually inclusive environment
Creating an environment where your team can interact without the fear of alienation is a big deal for any leader. If you can get it right, you’ll be able to take your business to new heights. Imagine a place where everyone respects each other; people genuinely feel happy to be in their workplace and around their colleague, and dialogue is understood as to be the way to share ideas, perspectives and reach agreements. It’s possible, and you can do it. One of the simplest ways to do this is to set a few new standards and start paying them forward. Your team will begin to notice your actions and start emulating you.
Running a business is tough. But if you take care of your people, you’ll find it easier to achieve the results you set out for, because you’ll have the support of a team that is physically and emotionally invested in building a truly successful business.
If you’re looking for a way to reward your staff, and find that simply handing out vouchers won’t do, take a look at our Rewards and Recognition Value Proposition Guide. In it we share the importance of reward program structure and design, engagement, and how finding the right frequency and ratio for staff rewards can help you get the most out of your incentive program.
Download your copy here.