Employee engagement is an HR buzzword at the moment, and you’ve probably heard all about how important it is for your company. However, it’s not as simple as it sounds. Here’s the golden question: how can you really boost employee engagement at the workplace?
Achieving employee engagement is not as elusive as you think. Here’s a list of practical ideas which you can easily implement right away.
Free food or team lunches: This is possibly the most effective. Lynne Graham, HR Director at BaxterStorey and member of the BITC Workwell Leadership Team, explains the importance of offering free food at the workplace. “We are working longer hours than ever before and there is strong research to support the importance of a healthier workforce. In-house restaurants and canteens go above and beyond providing a food service, they are a social hub and can instill a sense of belonging and engagement.” It’s no wonder that successful companies like Google, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter offer employees an elaborate range of free snacks and meals. It’s a great way to help employees stay fueled, and an in-house cafeteria is an opportunity to let serendipity work. This means, it could help employees with similar skills or ideas to share expertise, or to launch an innovative project.
Ditch traditional appraisals for more regular feedback: This method is well tried and tested. Traditional, once-a-year employee performance reviews don’t work any more. Instead, more regular, data-backed performance feedback can help employees improve their game. Companies which have embraced this approach include Microsoft, Adobe, Dell, PwC, Deloitte and even General Electric. Management experts Peter Cappelli and Anna Tavis write in Harvard Business Review, “the biggest limitation of annual reviews—and, we have observed, the main reason more and more companies are dropping them—is this: With their heavy emphasis on financial rewards and punishments and their end-of-year structure, they hold people accountable for past behavior at the expense of improving current performance and grooming talent for the future, both of which are critical for organizations’ long-term survival. In contrast, regular conversations about performance and development change the focus to building the workforce your organization needs to be competitive both today and years from now.
Gamify the work process: According a report by PwC, the most effective way to boost employee motivation, is to ‘gamify’ the work process.. PwC recommends a game-based approach to working, which includes the elements of setting goals/ missions, competitions and celebrating achievements. As the PwC publication explains that combining game mechanics with reputation management and social networking could be really effective. This would also include recognizing employee progress with points or badges, which displays their experience, skill sets, and accomplishments across the enterprise. This could be backed with behavioral analytics, going beyond measuring activity to capturing how and why employees are (or aren’t) participating, providing real-time feedback, and enabling adjustments to optimize the experience.
Allow pets at the workplace: Nestlé Gatwick launched the PAW (Pets At Work) programme in late 2015, and it has been a smashing hit ever since. Richard Watson, Regional Director of Nestlé’s Purina division explains, “We wholeheartedly believe that people and pets are better together – and being at work should not stand in the way of that. It boosts employee morale, encourages more physical activity and helps us create a stimulating environment where our people are happy, have fun and can perform at their best. Having pets in the office is inspirational.” Allowing pets in the office is a great way to boost employee engagement, and is adopted by companies such as Google, Salesforce and GoDaddy. This idea is easy to implement, and is a great way to let employees know that you care about them.
These employee engagement ideas are effective and tested by various successful companies. The important thing to remember is: Employee engagement is a marathon, not a sprint. In order to see actual results, it’s important to embrace long-term changes in your company. With these ideas, you are sure to see a boost in employee engagement and motivation over weeks and months. Choose and adapt what suits your company best, and reap the benefits of a highly engaged, productive workforce!