Right - imagine a neat little flowchart. It reads: ‘Should I care about employee engagement?’ Then there’s an arrow that points down to ‘Do you employ humans?’, with YES pointing to ‘YUP’ and NO pointing to; ‘You’re consulting the wrong flowchart bro’. The point of this little visual exercise is to get you to understand that employee engagement should very much be top of mind in any business that is fuelled by the work, passions, desires and support of complex, living, breathing humans. AKA all businesses, until Skynet takes over. Jokes, that’s just a movie (but is it…?).
Enough shenanigans. Let’s get down to brass tacks. If you want your company to flourish in 2019, you need to be all up in this employee engagement business. It’s not just a buzzword, it’s common sense. Don’t believe us? Go have a look at this illuminating case study. You can also spend some time on this academic paper if you want more info.
In the meantime, we’ll be here breaking it down into actionable steps that you can implement at your place of business. So, let's get started:
1. Help your people to help themselves
When employees are feeling highly engaged they naturally become more high performing. Let’s be frank - none of us grew up dreaming that we’d be somewhat competent at a job that we could stand, for pay that kept the wolf from the door. We grew up dreaming of being firefighters! Famous singers! Celebrity chefs! Adventurous explorers! And while most of us probably aren’t cut out to rescue people from burning buildings, or capable of coming back from that 2007 hair-shaving debacle quite like Our Lady Britney, we’re still not keen on mediocrity. This much is clear from the most recent industry polls as well.
What this means for business owners is that employee engagement is not something you will have to force. When you find the right tools to draw in your particular merry band of rainmakers, the process will be quite painless, because people want to have a good time at work. All you need to do is ask them what they need in order to succeed, and then find a way to provide them with those tools. That is the magic formula right there.
2. Embrace and learn from the new generation(s)
Millennials, right? Can’t work with them, can’t convert a PDF to a Word document without them! Jokes - we love Millennials over here at bountiXP. We also get that they’re a wildly misunderstood generation who get a lot of flack from companies who feel perturbed at the notion of individuals who make a discretionary effort to be part of an engaged workforce by speaking up for themselves. That’s a big part of the reason why we call them snowflakes - they dare to see and portray themselves as individuals because they are. Just like we’ve all been (that includes you hard-grafting Baby Boomers as well!) the whole time. So let’s take a page from their playbook, shall we? Listen when people speak up instead of seeing it as insubordination and encourage the rest of your employees to do the same.
You can read more here: Employee experience - It's what Millennials really want
3. Dial up the compassion quotient
Want to keep your top talent around? Turn the scope inward from time to time. When you quit thinking about your individual employees as 'human resources' and the way you treat them as 'drivers of engagement', the heart will return to your organisation. In the end, we're all just human, and when you foster genuine connections with your employees, finding ways to smooth the way for their (and your!) success will come naturally.
4. Speak up about the good and the bad
Open up those lines of communication fam! And by that, we mean that you need to be frank about the good as well as the bad. In many organisations you’ll find that employers are quick to point out mistakes and missteps, but neglect to celebrate achievements and make some noise when someone does it right. While constructive criticism is a very sound business tool when wielded correctly, day-to-day recognition and rewarding should be included in the whole if you want to engage the troops.
5. Support work-life balance
When both employers and employees maintain a healthy work-life balance customer satisfaction follows naturally. Happy, well-rested employees = great customer service. It's as simple as that. The notion that someone has to spend all their waking hours at the office in order to be productive should go the way of the dinosaur. In fact - go check out this paper by local researcher Charles King on how sleep-deprived South Africans cost the economy billions.
Read more here: Work-life balance is good for business. Here’s why!
6. Measure with metrics
You know what’s great about living in 2019? We can measure employee engagement using all sorts of fun metrics! People analytics is one of this year's biggest HR trends because it allows companies to form a deeper, more nuanced understanding of recruitment, performance, and employee satisfaction tactics that actually work.
7. Embrace people-centric tech
Listen, bringing tech into the employee engagement space just for tech’s sake is seldom a good idea. Your workforce is likely to balk at the idea of adopting yet another freaking platform that they need to manage - unless it’s fun and easy to use… Therein lies the trick. Fortunately, there are all sorts of cool reward and recognition platforms out there that will tie in with your existing processes without a hitch.
As a nice little aside, we thought we’d share a few practical, real-life things you can start doing at your place of business today to drive employee engagement and boost business growth:
Practical employee engagement strategies you can start implementing today
- Pay your people what they’re worth. This should be a no-brainer, but somehow it always seems like the last thing big businesses are willing to do to keep their employees around. Here’s a pretty funny meme that sums it up nicely.
- Leverage the power of the employee engagement survey. People don’t like to moan about the negative aspects of their jobs straight to their boss or manager’s face. It’s just not cricket. An anonymous satisfaction survey? Now that’s a whole different kettle of fish. It allows employees to be frank about their circumstances, and provides managers with straight-up, un-glossed-over feedback. It’s an amazing tool and it doesn’t even have to take a lot of time - check out the skinny on pulse surveys.
- Break down silos in your enterprise. Good practices and ideas should be shared between teams. This type of peer-to-peer learning is a great way to celebrate the ideas and achievements of high-performing employees and plant the seeds of improvement throughout your business.
- Give your team plenty of channels to speak up. If someone has a grievance, there needs to be a quick and simple way for them to air it, without having to wade through a tiresome amount of HR paperwork or an intrusive interrogation. Make it as simple as possible and you are far more likely to receive regular, usable feedback that will allow you to retain your talent before they jump ship due to something that could have been resolved.
- Understand that there are different learning styles. Almost every employee would jump at the chance to upskill, but if you make this option available, always bear in mind that people have different learning styles. Some may prefer to work on their own, at their own tempo; while others prefer the dynamic environment of a group session. Provide your workforce with the ability to choose how and when they learn for best results.
- Follow listening with action. Continuous listening is all good and well, but you won’t improve employee engagement one iota if you don’t follow all that listening up with some serious action. Make a point of taking all the feedback you receive and creating sustainable solutions that show your employees you’ve got their back. Start small, but start.
There you have it - a few practical tips to get the ball rolling. Are you ready to improve employee engagement and business outcomes at your business in 3, 2, 1? Now you know how! Help your people to help themselves, embrace the new generation (we know you can!), dial up the compassion, speak up about the good and the bad, support work-life balance, measure with metrics and embrace people-centric tech. BOOM! Game plan all laid out. Now all you need to do is implement that sucker.
Not sure how to launch an employee recognition program that your employees will love? Click on the image below and download a FREE copy of our latest ebook to find out how!