In the new world of work, an agile workforce knows that a good salary and impressive job title is not enough to produce happiness and fulfilment. One of the biggest challenges for HR managers is to maintain good retention stats is by implementing modern and dynamic employee engagement protocols. According to Gallup, only 13% of employees are engaged at work and the financial setbacks of this are enormous. Disengaged employees cost organizations between $450 and $550 billion annually in lost productivity and businesses with low employee engagement scores see 20% lower sales and 21% lower profitability than those with high engagement.
Pop culture has projected an image of modern work environments that cater benefits such as free dry cleaning, regular coffee deliveries, open bars, yoga classes and video game lounges. Most companies, however, cannot afford these luxuries, but smart employers do not need big budgets to foster high employee engagement.
Here are 5 low-cost employee engagement strategies:
Invest in new starters
Set the tone for joiners by implementing a clear and thorough onboarding process. Assign them a ‘buddy’ who will act as a friendly and familiar face to guide them through any initial difficulties or concerns in the beginning weeks. Employers should also encourage managers to introduce themselves and their line of work in order to familiarise the joiner with the mechanisms of the business, even if it doesn’t directly concern their own work responsibilities.
Promote a healthy – in the literal sense – workplace culture
A huge buzzword in workplace engagement has been wellness, with more employers taking active interest in the physical and mental wellbeing of their workforce. Businesses can make the easy and quick first step to their wellness initiative by introducing weekly fruit bowls, air-cleaning office plants, guided meditation sessions and after-work running clubs. In promoting healthy habits to their staff, organizations can help nurture both their brains and their bodies.
Recognise and reward high achievers
A study from Gallup found that one of the biggest motivators behind an employee’s work efforts is receiving praise from managers, resulting in higher loyalty and satisfaction. Through publicly acknowledging good-work, employers can easily foster a sense of community within the workplace, and even more so when they offer occasional rewards to big accomplishments, such as afternoons off or gift cards.
Organise team-building exercises
Tasks, challenges or extra-curricular activities that encourage team interaction are budget-friendly initiatives that can also increase productivity. Here at Morgan Philips for example, we host occasional BD competitions by encouraging employees that do not sit beside each other to work together on different projects and work towards a prize.
Employers should also encourage out-of-work socials, such as picnics during warm weather, quiz nights or even quarterly lunches for the highest-performers.
Ask your employees
Lost for ideas? Consider asking your staff directly through a company-wide survey on how they could be better engaged. Be sure to include a transparent disclosure on the budget limitations as to not arouse eager imaginations and set them up for disappointment. This transparency will be appreciated by the workforce, who value similar dialogue as a key way to foster relationships between them and the leadership team.