It's not uncommon for companies to feel a little overwhelmed when it comes to building engagement strategies – what do you include, and where do you even begin?
Empowering your teams to perform at their peak is essential to keeping your business competitive, but what's the right formula for your particular industry?
In the manufacturing world, for example, a concern could be the number of units produced by an individual or team. For service-based industries, however, productivity is often measured by the amount of time spent on a project, the level of customer satisfaction, the number of sales, etc.
For many UK companies, unfortunately, productivity is a slightly sensitive subject:
"In the UK, productivity has stagnated since the 2008 financial crisis and failed to recover as it typically does following contractions." The Financial Times
At Sodexo, we've risen to the challenge. Using our hands-on experience in working with businesses across all industries, we've discovered that happy workplace cultures can help to bring out the best in people, and, as a result, boost productivity and profitability.
The great news is that enhancing productivity needn't be a complicated or expensive task. It does require a level of investment, however. This can include, but not limited to:
- the time and attention that managers give to their employees
- providing tools and technologies to simplify workflows
- using rewards and benefits to stimulate motivation.
Taking steps to engage your employees will have a significant impact on how they feel and perform in their daily roles. If you'd like to see a 21% increase in productivity, then building engagement should be a main focus and priority.
When your team is aligned and invested in your company objectives, you'll find that your organisation outperforms competitors and has a lower rate of staff turnover. Companies that make an effort to build real connections with their workers, manage to hold on to their top talent and get better performance results overall.
Here are some essential ideas you should explore and implement to start getting more out of your team:
1. PROVIDE THE RIGHT TOOLS
If it's time to update your legacy software and technology, don't put it off any longer than you have to. Before you start making changes to your infrastructure, however, be sure to check how the direct users will be affected.
If you'd like to frustrate your workers and put them off from doing a certain task, all you need to do is give them a complicated piece of software with little to no guidance on how to use it – it's a guaranteed mood killer!
Since the goal is to make your employees' lives easier, you should involve them in the decision-making process. If there are bottlenecks or inefficiencies in your workflows, ask your employees to do research and propose the possible tech solutions they would be keen to implement.
TOOLS THAT HELP WITH ENGAGEMENT:
- Project management software: Products like ClickUp and Asana give teams visibility across different projects and help to streamline workflows, delegate tasks and track progress.
- Communication tools: Use Slack or Microsoft Teams to create topic channels and centralise conversations.
- Collaboration tools: Equip teams with shared file storage apps like Google Drive to make sharing and collaborating on projects more manageable.
2. MAKE CULTURE-BASED DECISIONS FOR YOUR BUSINESS
When you’ve decided on what your ideal company culture looks like, you have to ensure that it's represented in everything you do as an organisation.
From how you identify, interview and hire new candidates, to how you support and uplift your existing staff within their roles – all of these decisions impact your employees' willingness to display the kind of positive behaviours you're hoping to see.
Key company culture activities that affect engagement:
- Hiring the right fit employees: Skills and experience are critical, but employing individuals who align with your company ethos and will collaborate well with your existing team is more important.
- Promote continuous learning: If you'd like to position your business as an industry leader, having well trained, confident employees makes all the difference. By providing upskilling and mentorship opportunities for your workers, you can help your company grow and achieve consistent results.
- Trust your employees: Naturally, managers want to oversee tasks and ensure that quality standards are being upheld, but there comes a time when you have to allow employees the autonomy to make decisions and be accountable for their own workload. Encourage and enable your teams to self-manage where possible.
- Organise team-building events: Break the routine and give your employees a chance to bond outside of the rigidity of a workplace environment. A team-building event will enable individuals to communicate and get to know one another on a more personal level, helping to improve their working relationships in the future.
3. ENCOURAGE self care
There's a difference between putting in the extra hours to complete a special project or help a client in exceptional circumstances, and continuously pulling all-nighters that eventually result in burnout.
With increasing demand amongst employees for a healthy work/life balance, companies interested in attracting and retaining top talent are sitting up and listening.
Why? Well, it's simple really: happy, healthy, fulfilled individuals make for more productive, innovative and motivated employees.
By supporting your teams with the right tools and incentives to encourage mental and physical wellbeing, you are showing genuine concern and willingness to invest in your workforce with a long term view to your company's success. This helps people to feel valued and appreciated, giving reassurance that the efforts they contribute to your business don't go unnoticed.
Key company culture activities that affect engagement:
- Help to deal with stress in the workplace: By listening to feedback from your employees, whether that's through informal check-ins or regular one-to-ones, managers can create balanced workloads that help to reduce overwhelm and allow employees to feel supported. Give your team the flexibility to tweak their hours or work remotely if it helps them to manage some personal responsibilities or admin that cannot be done outside of regular hours. These small, yet meaningful, allowances can hugely affect a worker's mental health and reassure them that your organisation sees them as an individual, rather than a cog in the machine.
- Give enriching rewards: Gifts and prizes don't mean much unless they genuinely address a need for the employee. It's important to find more personal ways of promoting job satisfaction and encourage self-development, too. Will a gym membership help an employee to feel better physically? Will a pair of movie tickets allow them to enjoy some downtime and decompress? Will a learning opportunity or industry-related book help them to grow in their role? Find out what matters to the individual and tailor your reward accordingly.
- Help wages to go further: Collaborate with local businesses to provide discounts for your employees. It's a great way to help your workers get a little bit more for their money, particularly if they're already shopping from these establishments.
4. Measure Engagement
As with all new initiatives, it's important to check in, see how your efforts are being received, and what impact they are making. By doing this, you can course-correct when necessary and demonstrate your commitment to building and sustaining a happy workforce.
HOW TO MEASURE Engagement:
- Send out regular employee satisfaction surveys: What better way to find out how employees are feeling than to ask them directly?
- Book informal meetings: Make time to catch up and ask workers about their suggestions and perceptions of your existing rewards and recognition plan.
It's human nature to find comfort in consistency. If you've presented your company, it's culture and core values in a specific light, your employees will expect to see this reflected in their everyday experience of working for your organisation.
READY TO TAKE THE NEXT STEP AND IMPROVE YOUR ENGAGEMENT LEVELS?
Would you like to find out more about how we can work with to help improve your employee engagement?
We’d love to see you achieve your goals, so don’t be shy, get in touch for a no-obligation chat and let’s start shaping up a more engaging and rewarding future for your business and employees.
Learn more about the range of Employee Engagement solutions and how it can help your business - just click the image below to discover more!