Personally, I love your pool table. The last thing I want you to do is stop having stress relievers available to employees, especially when they commit so much time to be at work. However, if employee engagement, motivation, or morale seem off, it’s not because you need to add to your collection of stress-relieving toys; it may just be YOU that’s the problem.
Moi? Yes. Workplace leadership both directly and indirectly drives employee engagement. I’m not saying that you or your leaders are bad bosses (those exist, they just don’t read articles like this). But you may be missing some easy opportunities to make your workplace better -- even without a climbing wall.
You can start by asking yourself these six questions. Each one points to a pretty simple but necessary solution that you need to keep employee engagement high.
1. Are you giving employees the services they need … and want?
If your business is small enough, you may not provide health insurance. Or you may have opted to keep expenses down by offering only a high-priced/low-benefit plan. Either of these could indirectly hurt employee engagement. How? Because high-priced or low-coverage health insurance frequently carries the following unintended side effects:
- Employees (and recruits) look for employers that offer better coverage plans.
- Employees avoid treatment until the situation escalates because of the cash outlay required.
- Employees spend time fighting with doctor’s offices over bills.
Advice: Offer a competitive insurance plan. Yes, these do exist, even for small employers.
2. Are morale-building efforts actually a distraction?
Anytime you’re attempting to build morale, you’re doing a good thing. Just remember that employees want and need to be productive, too.
Advice: Limit the number of big events to just one or two per year and add smaller-scale, drop-in activities at the workplace that have similar impact without the commitment. For example, schedule company-wide potlucks once a month in the breakroom or a Friday afternoon ice cream social on the front lawn. Small get-togethers not only improve morale, they can increase productivity, too.
3. Do bigger cultural issues slip by?
Today’s news is filled with stories of sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace. These aren’t isolated incidents affecting just the victim or where responsibility lies only with the accused.
Advice: Don’t try to do everything yourself. Work with your HR rep to set up employee training to review your company’s anti-sexual harassment policy and protocol to ensure compliance. This training in should be held on an annual basis.
4. Do employees know they’re appreciated?
There’s a need in everyone to feel valued, to know that they’re making a contribution that matters.
Advice: Praise employees one-on-one for a job well done. Set up simple appreciation programs, like an employee-of-the-month. (Want an affordable reward? How about access to a reserved parking space during the month that follows.) You could even set a goal for yourself: seek out one employee each day, shake their hand, and thank them for a very specific thing they did -- that way they know you’re paying attention. That little bit of effort can go a long way towards improving employee engagement.
5. Have you asked your employees how you can make the workplace better?
The best workplaces survey their employees regularly and act on the results.
Advice: Set up a survey today to gauge employee engagement, but keep it simple -- even just three to five questions can provide you with great insight. You may also be able to use surveys to help you decide on workplace changes and new expenditures, like updated office chairs vs. a meeting room scheduler.
6. Do your employees know whether they’re winning or losing at work?
This can be defined by whether you’ve set clear expectations and goals for your employees. If an employee always knows what is expected, where they stand, and how their individual work aligns to the company’s overall mission and goals, they are much more likely to be engaged and perform at a higher level.
Where do I start with making improvements to employee engagement?
Boosting employee engagement starts by ensuring the workplace is working well first. By asking yourself a few simple questions, you’ll get a better view of what you can do to make affordable improvements. Be sure to talk to your certified HR expert whenever you need help!
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