There is one all-too-common reason why organizations don't implement employee engagement programs: they think it's too expensive. But from a productivity perspective, this is a very serious problem, as disengaged workers don’t put in as much effort as their more engaged peers. It also has financial implications too. Disengaged workers are more likely to search for new gigs, forcing businesses to fork over a lot of money finding their replacements.
Though they understand the problem, many businesses unfortunately don't have the resources to give workers more time off or jack up everyone’s salaries by 15%. But that doesn’t mean they’re completely out of luck. Here are five ways to improve engagement that won’t cost you a penny.
1. Recognize your employees’ hard work
Our Employee Engagement Report found that less than 33% of employees feel valued at work. That’s not to say employers view two-thirds of their staff as expendable. In many instances, it’s likely they’re not good at telling their workforce how much their contributions matter.
There’s an easy fix, and it won’t cost you a penny — only time. Make it a top priority to regularly recognize your employees’ work. When someone goes above and beyond, take a couple minutes to talk to that person face-to-face and let them know that their efforts are not going unnoticed. A little compliment can go a long way.
2. Let employees make their own schedules
Do your employees really need to be in the office during the same specific hours every single day? Instead of making your employees work the same hours, give flexible scheduling a try. Essentially, this allows workers to tackle their jobs during whichever hours are most convenient to them.
Some people prefer working four 10-hour days instead of five 8-hour days. Other people might like coming into the office at 11 a.m. and leaving at 7 p.m. So long as your employees are getting their work done and not missing any appointments or meetings, does it really matter which exact hours they work?
3. Survey your employees on a regular basis
Many companies wait until the end of the year to check in with their employees. But from an employee engagement perspective, that’s incredibly suboptimal, to say the least.
One of the easiest ways to improve employee engagement is by asking your workforce how they’re feeling at regular intervals. Not only will your employees appreciate the gesture, but you’ll also be able to identify any problems that are brewing before they become crippling.
4. Encourage your workers to undertake personal projects
Working on the same kind of tasks day in and day out can become monotonous for everyone. From time to time, to maintain sanity, we could all use a little change.
To this end, let your team pursue pet projects that excite them. In doing so, your employees will own at least a little bit of your company. Because their names are on them, they’ll work hard to make sure that these projects are done well. Sometimes a little disruption from routine can work wonders for morale and engagement. Who doesn’t like to pursue their interests, even if they happen to be work-related?
Here's a short video about LinkedIn's hack day. And keep in mind that hack days don't always have to involve engineers. You can have marketing think of new campaigns, sales think of new processes, and customer success think of new ways to nurture clients.
5. Listen to your employees’ ideas
Your team works hard every day. They are familiar with the ins and outs of your operations. Odds are, they are closer to a lot of the more granular details and processes than you are. Because of this, they’re almost certainly full of great ideas — at least sometimes.
Make sure every initiative isn’t driven from the top down. Periodically pick the brains of your employees to see what ideas they have. Put the best ones into practice, and your employees will be more engaged because they’ll realize that they themselves can actually change the company.
- 12 Need-to-Know Statistics on Employee Engagement
- 15 Signs You’re Doing Employee Engagement the Right Way