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Just imagine that right at this moment your best employee is sending someone his CV or updating his profile on Upwork, or even worse, negotiating a time for an interview with your competitor. Would you like to know why? And how to deal with this?
Based on the intensity of the marketplace rivalry, companies nowadays are focused on perfecting their products and gaining recognition from the customers and partners. They are careful with the media they are featured in, conferences to attend, and about their customers to satisfy their needs.
But the reality is that it’s crucial for companies to pay attention to both external relations as well as internal ones. Employees need to be treated the same way as the customers. Gallup meta-analysis shows that only one third of the employees is engaged. Unfortunately, many employers neglect the importance of employee engagement which in turn, leads to lower business-unit profitability, decreased productivity, worse customer relations, and higher turnover. Opposite, when the workers love their job, they perform enthusiastically, and it positively affects financial indicators of the enterprise.
Engagement is the attitude of employees when they do their job with genuine interest, and full dedication, while being extremely productive and hitting the company goals. It serves as an indicator of a trusting relationship between the organization and its employees.
Let’s walk away from the business and step into a high school history class. Joe is trying to listen to his professor because his parents promised him a nice summer vacation if he ends the semester with "A" grades. Meanwhile, another student Michael is learning the history of the Roman Empire simply because he is interested. He asks lots of questions during the lectures, comes back home and watches historical TV shows. He is planning a trip to the Roman Forum this summer to see the founding of the ancient Roman Empire with his own eyes.
Joe is artificially motivated while Michael is truly engaged as a student. Can you imagine how different things would be if every student had the same attitude towards the class as Michael? The students will become closer, united by a common hobby, get higher grades, and can even receive a grant for the state historical contest. It could positively influence school rank, making the director happy and make the school itself more prestigious within the state.
The same approach is applicable to businesses. Everyone - from the ordinary employee to the business owner - will benefit if the team is engaged.
If the company hasn't worked on employee engagement before, the initial analysis is likely to yield minimal results. Engagement is not the constant value - after a vacation or a teambuilding event, people are normally full of enthusiasm and desire to work. While the employees, who are doing monotonous work without proper encouragement are close to the burnout syndrome.
You may use the following techniques to measure the level of employee satisfaction.
Pulse Surveys. Short but frequent surveys are an excellent way to keep abreast of the staff mood and respond quickly to the negative changes. The questionnaire should not be long and complicated - it is enough to include from 5 to 10 questions about the feelings of your colleagues.
One-on-Ones. Team leaders have to be proactive and establish one-on-one meetings on a regular basis. Employees have to be sure that you value their work and consider their suggestions. One-on-one sessions help reveal individual employee goals and the ways you can shape them into the company goals.
Exit Interviews. HR managers can get valuable insights into the working atmosphere from a particular department or the company as a whole from the exiting employees. Such people can be more candid and provide constructive feedback about the organization. Even though it’s too late to improve relationships with a certain person, it’s a good opportunity to find out the issues that have to be solved immediately to keep current employees loyal and happy.
You might think that the only thing you need to measure employee engagement is an experienced HR manager who can conduct surveys, one-on-ones and has the power of empathy. But you are wrong. In the era of digitalization, there are particular employee engagement software that can act as a supplemental tool.
Working with different teams sometimes feels like two different universes: sales team complains about the lack of leads, while the marketing team blames them for neglecting the leads. One software to align all departments and make them work in collaboration is a CRM system.
CRM system is a software to manage incoming leads, sales process, and nurture client relationships. It helps all departments stay on the same page by accessing the information about every deal. Some CRMs are built-in your fav Gmail account and help sales reps close deals right from their email account, eg. NetHunt CRM. It keeps the sales team on their toes, ensuring healthy competition among employees.
A handy CRM system helps the team set up complete transparency in their daily routine and allows to share insights, learn and improve overall team performance. This, in turn, increases the team spirit and maximize the productivity of every employee. Having access to closed deals and the financial value of it keeps managers engaged and motivated for further achievements.
When surfing the Internet and looking for the related books on Amazon, you will find tons of ideas for employee engagement. The thing is that every company is unique, with its corporate culture, management mode, and atmosphere. You need to analyse them pick a few to implement at the early stages. Here is the list of the ideas worth trying:
1. Respect your employees
If you ask your employees what kind of treatment they want at the workplace, most of them would like to get respect. It is one of the simplest strategies to aspire team members. A number of employees can even sacrifice some social benefits like medical insurance or additional weekend towards respectful manner. Here are a few things that display fair attitude:
- Polite and kind behaviour - these are people you send with the third part of your day, so treat them as your family members
- Encouragement to express ideas and never put down the ones that you dislike
- Use people’s ideas as it encourages to create new one
- Express equal attitude for all employees
2. Recognize Accomplishments
Acknowledging the achievements of employees is a low-cost but high-impact approach. A worker wants to feel that their attempts and achievements will not go unnoticed. It does not necessarily have to be a cash reward (although the majority are waiting for exactly this), but a public recognition can be a good option. The main thing is to demonstrate that you notice every achievement, you value your workers and appreciate their commitment.
3. Provide opportunities for development
Employees have to be constantly upskilled in order to be involved. Once they gain new knowledge and see the progress they achieve, they stay motivated. Let your colleagues attend industry conferences and professional meetups. While sharing the same space, it’s possible to meet influencers or industry experts they admire, make a new connection, find the next mentor or even sit next to potential customers.
Apart from professional growth, you need to take care of their personal development. From the first glance, there is no connection between employees’ personal development and their productivity at work, but in fact it is pretty straightforward: when employees know that you cherish them, they will reciprocate.
Even a simple activity such as guitar playing can play a significant role in relieving stress. So ask yourself, do you want your employees to be stressed and unhappy or relaxed and engaged?
4. Let Your Employees Focus on What They Do Best
There is a story that explains this thesis the best. Most of you know that Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin, but probably just a few of you know that he did it while working on a side project when he was not involved in formal experiments. Today, big companies like Google allow their employees to spend some time on projects they want to do if they are related to the industry. And this approach proved itself to be quite successful. It will help you, as a manager, attract the best people with the best ideas.
5. Timely Communication
One of the methods to measure employee engagement is to conduct exit interviews with the employees that are leaving your company. However, it's much more effective to talk to your workers while they are still with you and it’s possible to impact employee retention. Find out what makes the employee keep working with you and what factors may make them leave.
A small amount of employees can come their manager and say honestly that they are uncomfortable at their workplace. Take the initiative and ask colleagues to anonymously share their thoughts. Be sure to let your employees know that you heard them.
Some ideas and suggestions will not be easy to implement immediately, so split them into stages and keep colleagues informed about the progress. Try to prevent the disaster before it’s too late.
6. Improve the workspace environment
Nowadays, the job market is very competitive and employees have lots of opportunities. Employees no longer want to stay at the same company for their whole life, they would rather choose the companies that resonate with their values.
To attract new employees and retain existing ones, companies should create an engaging work environment. Often, employees feel disengagement when they are sick and tired of a boring office. Therefore, try to create a unique and comfortable space around them.
7. Provide Flexible Work Hours and Locations
Flexible work hours have already proved to be very beneficial. Studies show that flexible work hours lead to increased loyalty, engagement, higher job satisfaction, and better productivity. A free schedule also reduces conflict between work and life balance.
Research shows that successful accomplishments of life responsibilities helps employees perform better. Flexible locations are also suitable for both employers and employees.
For example, working from home frees up at least an hour, which is usually spent to get to and from the office, at the same time reducing organizational costs for employers.
8. Hold Regular Brainstorming Sessions
Brainstorming sessions, if done correctly, can be very useful. Such sessions improve critical thinking and problem-solving skills of an individual and of a team. Employees find it easier to share their ideas and to accept their colleagues' thoughts.
The most important thing to do during a brainstorming session is to follow some simple basic rules, i.e.: no criticizing, generation of a wide array of ideas, new ideas based on existing ones, any idea is good, etc.
9. Make Work Fun
Why not make Friday a day to spend some fun time together? Shorten your workday by a couple of hours and go wall climbing, bowling, take a cooking class or just share a couple of drinks with each other. Such social events help people to connect with people they do not communicate with on a daily basis. It helps to create a stronger feeling of the community within the organization.
10. Promote Wellness
There is a direct correlation between the health of personnel and their productivity. It sometimes happens that we are so busy with work and household duties that we don’t have time to take care of our health. This influences work capacity.
The upshot is clear - staff wellbeing should be integrated into the company's business strategy. Develop a comprehensive package of benefits and initiatives and carry out systematic work towards this direction.
Start small and put some healthy snacks in the office fridge or order some fruits and organize a fruit time. Find a gym near the office and provide your employees with membership cards. To go the extra mile - hire massage therapists to help workers relieve stress. Any step towards a healthy lifestyle enhances employee engagement.
11. Focus on Collaboration & Working Together
Both social and professional collaboration at work increases engagement among employees. They are connected, they share ideas and experience, and sales or production cycles become shorter. It’s a new way for the team to complete the tasks which are always engaging, and this increased productivity is beneficial for the company.
Think of some social and volunteering projects that might be interesting for your colleagues. Common projects that are united by a shared hobby can be a good way to drive employee engagement.
12. Encourage Experimentation
Routine eventually leads to burn out. Establish the challenges and motivate the team to unleash maximum potential by changing the work process that they're used to. Set clear goals and let your workers find the path by themselves. It’s fine if they make mistakes, but who knows, you might celebrate a new success?
Conduct experiments like letting your colleague work in another department. Let them know the ins-and-outs of the business. This kind of shuffle helps employees get to know each other better and apply new knowledge and approaches to their own position.
#13 and so on..the un-obvious ideas for employee engagement that you’ve successfully integrated into your company. Share the most creative in the comments under this article!
To sum up, options for the company to engage employees may be different, depending on the management involvement, specifics of the relationship in the team, and background.
In some cases, emotional engagement does not require special expenses: there is already a close-knit team loyal to business and ready to consciously work for the good of the company, and it remains only to maintain this spirit and moral attitude.
In other cases, it will require hard work, a combination of tangible and intangible methods, trials and errors.
However, what is nice, the expended efforts always give the results, so it’s worth trying.