As the quest continues for HR professionals to tackle the issue of disengagement in the workplace, companies around the world remain at a loss for reaching their maximum potential. Of the millions of employees in the Canadian and U.S. workforce, only 29% are reportedly engaged at work. In spite of this widespread dilemma, many employers are still failing to implement effective engagement strategies, and it is collectively costing them billions per year.
Employee engagement isn’t necessarily about keeping your employees happy and satisfied; it’s about eliciting an emotional commitment to the company and its purpose. Engaged employees show interest in and passion towards their job and the greater good of the organization.
The MacLeod Review reports on a number of studies that show when companies invest in a successful engagement strategy, there are a number of benefits that improve their bottom line including:
- growth in profits three times the rate of their competitors,
- enhanced performance by 20%,
- decreased turnover by 87%,
- an average of 3.5 less sick days annually per employee, and
- improved health, customer service, and innovation.
Whether you’re looking to implement a strategy or improve an existing one, here are five simple and cost-effective methods to consider for your small or medium-sized business:
1) Schedule CEO lunches
Positive managerial relations based on trust, respect, and open communication can have a great deal of impact on an employee’s perception of and attitude towards your company. To develop a strong foundation for these relationships, have your CEO schedule monthly lunches with employees, either individually or in small groups. This should be an informal and fun way to discuss current projects, ask questions, and simply get to know one another aside from work. For a small to medium sized business such as yours, this is relatively easy to implement and can go a long way in making employees feel valued and, in turn, committed to your company.
2) Fuel employee voice
Employees find more meaning in positions where their voices are heard and valued by senior management. Give your workers the opportunity to take part in senior leader meetings to discuss current issues facing the company. Be transparent and get them involved in decision making processes where they can pitch in their own ideas and thoughts. By doing so, you’re showing your employees the value, trust, and importance the company places in their opinions. In turn, they are likely to feel more connected to the organization, its leaders, and overall mission.
3) Enable job shadowing
These days, the pursuit for career development is prevalent worldwide and employees are looking to be challenged, learn new skills, and advance within their company. If your employees find that their career goals are not being met, they’ll lose interest and search for opportunities elsewhere. A great way to showcase the range of possibilities for moving up the ladder is to allow employees to job shadow different positions that interest them within your company. Not only is this a strategic move for succession planning, but it also enhances interest in the company and motivates them to put in their greatest effort as they work towards their foreseeable career goals.
4) Donate your time
Engaging your company in philanthropic initiatives can do much more than boost its image as a socially responsible organization; it can also foster greater commitment to the company among employees who are looking for a more meaningful sense of purpose in their roles. So, collectively pick a cause that they are passionate about and get out into the community where, as a team, everyone can do their part in making a difference.
5) Hack the engagement
As companies struggle to find a strategy that works best for their workforce, the hackathon model provides the perfect opportunity to get employees involved in breaking the secrets to achieving maximum engagement. Set up a workshop where your employees can work in teams to come up with their own creative approaches to increasing engagement. A healthy dose of friendly competition can foster engagement through innovation, motivation, and excitement.
Part of the challenge to engagement is that there is no universal strategy to go by. So as a leader in your company, it must remain a top priority to understand your employees well enough to know what gets them motivated. After all, you can only expect your employees to commit to your company if you’re willing to do the same for them.