The success of any business depends on having engaged staff. Most businesses make one big mistake when it comes to priorities. They direct plenty of resources to external marketing, and little to none on creating a positive internal experience.
In today’s job market, employees expect a strong and positive company culture. With so much mobility in the workplace, if someone isn’t happy, they’re unlikely to stick around. It’s worth prioritising the improvement of the day-to-day experience of your employees to keep them motivated. This advice will help.
- Find a good fit from the start Everyone has different values, views and behaviours – choose staff whose traits best align with the business for higher levels of accord. When people feel aligned with what your business does and how it does it, they’ll identify with it, which will lead to stronger loyalty and commitment. If you work for a business that shares your personal values it’s more likely you’ll be happier (and therefore more motivated), there. Next time you’re interviewing, focus on whether a candidate’s personality matches the business personality. Tip – you’ll need a clear idea of the business personality first. The rest of this post will help with that.
- Show your appreciation Recognition goes a long way towards improving employee engagement. Even just a simple acknowledgement can give an employee a sense of pride and value. Try creating a recognition program, like an employee of the month. Certificates and prizes work well too. Prizes don’t have to be monetary. You could use things like half days, work from home days, etc. Ensure that the majority of your feedback to staff is recognition for a job well done.
- Think about internal branding Taking care of the people who take care of your business is worth the investment. The first step is a commitment to investing, not only money but also time and effort. You want this to be successful the first time around, so it’s important to have a good strategy and complete each step of it. Firstly, find out what your employees want and need from the business. Then develop a long term plan to achieve this. Why not start by conducting a survey of your current staff? Work out what kind of environment would keep them happy while attracting more talent. Then plan out what’s required to make it a reality. This is something you should do regularly to stay on top of the employee experience.
- Offer interesting perks You’re probably competing against other companies that can afford to spend more on wages. However, most employees will look at the whole package when deciding where to work. These days, there are plenty of non-monetary benefits in high demand. Consider offering flexible working schedules – if you don’t absolutely need your staff there at the same time each day then let them work the hours that suit them best. Work from home days is also very appealing to most people. What about free breakfast or lunch? Provide healthy food and snacks – your staff will love it! Other ideas include early marks on Fridays, casual clothes days and early marks as rewards for high performance.
- Gamify tasks Gamification is about turning business operations into games, to increase fun and a sense of achievement in the workplace. It’s a great way to get better results while improving morale! You can gamify anything, from taking calls to serving customers or performing basic admin tasks. Employees will get a kick out of performing tasks to watch themselves improve their ranking on a leaderboard. It’s a smart way to get people excited about coming to work! There is a tonne of ideas to help you create a game for your workplace.
- Let them speak up Everyone wants to feel heard. It’s important to ask your employees for regular feedback and suggestions for the business. By doing this you are showing them that they matter. It allows you to stay on top of any issues they are having at work before it gets to the point where they want to leave. A good option is to take each employee for a coffee or lunch on you every month (or more often). This is a good chance to reconnect on a personal level too. You can find out what’s happening in their lives, and what they see for themselves moving forward. By aligning professional development opportunities with personal goals you’ll have a better much chance of employee engagement
- Involve staff in business decisions Everyone wants to feel important. It’s easy to get bored in a role where you just follow the instructions that are handed down to you. When an employee is aligned with you in trying to achieve a goal, they’ll be more engaged with the work they’re doing. Make sure that employees are on board with your vision from the start. Then get them involved in making important decisions. Hold employee brainstorming sessions whenever you undertake a new project. As you grow, you can even hold thinktank sessions and ask them to come up with innovative ways to take your business to the next level. You’ll increase engagement and probably get some good ideas to boot.
- Encourage growth People like to see a future that is brighter than what they have right now. This motivates them to work towards attaining that future. You can support the growth of your employees in a number of ways. Provide training and development opportunities, mentoring arrangements or team-building activities. Consider giving your staff time off to attend personal and professional development courses. Provide ways for them ways to upskill. When they feel like they are actively growing and moving towards that brighter future they’ll be happier and more engaged.
- Meet day-to-day life needs
We’re all human and we all need time to recuperate now and then. Don’t overstress your employees by forgetting this simple fact. Factor in things like time off for personal issues, remote working days and regular breaks. If they know they can count on you to be flexible when they need to recharge, it’s likely they’ll be more engaged and productive in return. Employees appreciate bosses who value the wellbeing of their staff. It’s now much more acceptable to ask for time off to deal mental health issues. Have a procedure in place for when your employees start to feel overwhelmed. Support them in dealing with stress.
- Develop genuine relationships We are social beings who crave connection and meaningful interactions. Working with a team of people you genuinely like makes work much more enjoyable! Having good relationships with your colleagues also adds a greater sense of purpose to your day. Strengthen relationships between staff by getting them to work together on tasks outside of their normal job description. You could organise a team building day, or even just a lunch or dinner outside of work hours. You could also hold a friendly competition that requires people to work in teams. A regular social catch up is another good option.
Keep your staff motivated and you’ll be giving yourself the best chance at creating momentum to expand your business. Working on the above steps will improve your company culture, which will boost morale and overall productivity. Work hard to retain your existing employees – it’s worth it. Then you can direct your efforts into strengthening and expanding the business, rather than recruiting and training new hires.
Check out our small business guide to hiring the best employees.
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