What manager wouldn’t love to walk into the office each morning to a group of eager employees ready to take on the day?
But the reality is … that just doesn’t happen.
Distracted and disengaged
One of the main reasons your workers are sleepwalking through the day: They’re unengaged! A 2018 Gallup survey reveals only 15% of employees consider themselves engaged in their work.
Benefits of engagement
Apart from improving the office environment, engaged employees make good business sense. Satisfied employees create a higher quality of work. Not to mention the happier the employees, the less likely they are to look for a new job – and everyone wants to hold onto their top talent.
But many organizations don’t have the funds to take big swings, like sending employees to an overseas retreat or adding expensive perks.
While transforming every employee’s attitude can seem overwhelming, improving engagement doesn’t have to be a massive undertaking. A lot of small, low-cost initiatives can add up to make a huge difference.
There are several areas you can focus on for maximum engagement. Implementing a few of these simple ideas in each category will set you on the path toward increased productivity.
- Encourage staff to speak up. Your employees have good ideas, but may not be willing to speak up about them. Their hesitation usually comes from a fear of criticism. To fix this, make it known all ideas are welcome, and promote an open-door policy. Fostering a safe space for communication will have employees rushing to offer suggestions.
- Clarify goals and responsibilities. It’s hard for employees to be engaged if they’re confused about their role or expectations. Every time a new project comes up, take the time to thoroughly explain all the details and answer questions – the result is always worth your while. And while you’re fostering an open environment for ideas, make it clear that you’re always available for questions and concerns as well.
- Reward employees only for a job well done. Recognizing when your employees perform well is always a good idea, but it’s important to be careful not to overdo it. Dishing out constant praise can have the opposite effect, causing employees to get too comfortable and slack off. By reserving rewards for the best work only, employees will strive to achieve a higher standard.
- Celebrate birthdays and accomplishments. One time to overdo it with the celebrating? Birthdays and milestones. Employees will feel like you care if you take the time to wish them a happy birthday or congratulate them on a new baby.
Fun and Socialization
- Organize games and happy hours. Show your employees you want them to have fun in the office and get friendly with their co-workers with group events. Plan a happy hour at the end of a particularly busy week and let your staff unwind. Or, carve some time out of the day for everyone to de-stress by playing cards or a board game.
- Bring in food and treats. Planning a potluck lunch every now and then or surprising staff with donuts or ice cream is an easy way to promote socialization and brighten everyone’s day.
- Make your workspace unique. Dull, gray cubes and plain white walls don’t do much to inspire creativity. Try giving your office a little facelift. Even adding things like pops of color, artwork and plants can impact on morale.
- Perfect the onboarding process. There’s no such thing as too much assistance during a new hire’s first few months. It may seem like overkill, but the more involved you are during a new hire’s onboarding process, the more likely they are to stay long term.
- Let employees use natural talents. Everyone on your team has an area where they really shine, so let them use their strengths! Nothing tanks engagement more than assigning employees tasks they aren’t comfortable with. Match up projects with people’s natural talents, and they’ll be happy to tackle them.
- Be a mentor. Employees are going to encounter plenty of personal and professional challenges throughout their careers. Let them know you’re there for them! Carve out time to check in and let your people know you’re available to just listen or dole out advice.