Are your employees engaged with their work? If not, you could be losing money and not even realize it. Engaged employees are more productive, offer better customer service, and make more money for the company.
But how do you get employees engaged and keep them that way? You need to make sure they’re being fairly compensated, taking plenty of time off, and balancing their work and personal lives well. Recognize their achievements, anniversaries, and life milestones. Give them the autonomy they need to decide when and how to do their work. They’ll pay you back with higher levels of engagement with their work and commitment to the company.
1) Pay More Money
Who doesn’t want a bigger paycheck? Compensating your employees well is one of the most important things you can do to keep them engaged. Fair compensation means your employees won’t be running themselves ragged working second or even third jobs to make ends meet. They’ll feel valued and appreciated by the company, because they will be.
A higher hourly base rate is just part of the picture. Give bonuses – yearly for the holidays, and perhaps more often based on performance. Offer opportunities for holiday pay and overtime. Give a desirable benefits package, too. Provide tuition reimbursement; reimbursement for parking and transportation; health, life, vision, and dental benefits; a retirement plan with contributing matching; and gym membership and other wellness benefits.
2) Guarantee Employees Take Time Off
You should give your employees plenty of time off – four weeks is a healthy amount, because it gives employees the time to take a relaxing vacation, some mental health days or personal days, and some sick days each year. You might think that giving employees that much time off would lead to decreases in productivity, simply because employees aren’t at their desks. But employees need time to rest and recharge in order to be productive at all. Employees are 31 percent more productive when they get plenty of time off.
Make taking time off mandatory – and set a good example by taking plenty of time off yourself. Don’t overwork yourself, either – arrive at the office when business begins for the day, and leave on time. Take your meal and coffee breaks every day. Employees will follow your lead and be more productive as a result.
3) Recognize Achievements, Anniversaries, and More
When it comes to giving employees the recognition they crave, employee anniversary recognition is a great place to start. It makes employees feel good to get that recognition of their years of service, even if it’s just a thoughtful note and a gift card for a free coffee.
Give employees appropriate recognition for their successes in the workplace, too. Recognition can be as simple as a printed award certificate, a small prize from the dollar store, or a simple thanks. It can be as elaborate as you want, too – some companies host full-on awards ceremonies to recognize high achievers. Make sure to recognize those achievements that typically aren’t heralded with trophies and awards, such as being reliable, helpful, and patient.
4) Give Employees More Autonomy
No one wants to be micromanaged. Feeling like someone is breathing down your neck all day can evaporate any feelings of agency and engagement that you may have had with regards to your work.
Instead of hovering over your employees and micromanaging everything they do, give them the freedom to manage their own workloads themselves. Most employees will appreciate some autonomy. Being free to do your work your own way can actually create more of a sense of motivation to do a good job. It’s also easier for you, the manager, to trust your employees to work effectively and efficiently.
5) Encourage Work-Life Balance
When employees don’t feel like they have the time to handle their personal responsibilities outside of work, they can get stressed and lose feelings of engagement with their work. Employees are people first – they need the time and space not only to have personal lives, but to put in the work with their families, friends, homes, and hobbies.
Giving employees plenty of time off and making at least some of it mandatory will go a long way towards encouraging a strong sense of work-life balance in your employees. Give employees the option to flex their schedules when needed to allow them to attend to personal responsibilities. Encourage things like maternity and paternity leave. Allow employees the option to work from home at least some of the time. All of these things can foster greater work-life balance and boost engagement.
It’s not as hard as you might think to keep employees engaged at work. Sure, it might take some policy changes on your part, but it’ll be worth it see how much more productive and creative your employees are when they’re working in an environment that encourages employee engagement.