It seems like everyone wants to be at a company where they can do what they love! Workplaces are scrambling to make their spaces more interesting, engaging, and fun to attract the cream talent they desire. And rightly so!
Employee engagement is important. Not because it directly makes you money, but because it gets you commitment, drive, and passion that money can never buy you.
Here’re five ways to make your work place stand out from a sea of sameness. There is more to employee engagement strategies that creating a welcoming work environment. Plan around these strategies to drive engagement, productivity, and better results overall.
1. Reward With Liberal Time-offs
They say if you don’t want monkeys, you shouldn’t pay peanuts. And if you don’t want donkeys, maybe you shouldn’t make them work like one too.
Burn-outs are expensive mistakes that you can prevent, by offering your employees well-deserved breaks from their dreary routines. This doesn’t always have to be unlimited vacations like at Netflix. You could break the routine by giving your own twist to the tale.
For instance, at Zappos, they have Zappos Zollars. Employees can earn the company currency by going above and beyond in their work and the Zollars can be used for branded goodies, charitable donations or in raffles for bigger prizes.
One particularly interesting thing LinkedIn does to engage its employees is called “InDays,” where employees get one day a month to work on special projects.
Another company with a focus on helping their employees take care of themselves is P&G. They offer stress and time-management training to their people, in addition to a multitude of activities that make P&G one of the most engaging workplaces there is.
It’s a clever strategy to reward your employees with liberal time-offs, vacations, or breaks. Let them recharge and rejuvenate! It can do wonders for their energy levels and morale.
2. Give Away Perks
Free food and shuttle buses are almost becoming the norm for Silicon Valley companies. Everyone enjoys the company perks and free stuff that come with the job. From onsite gyms and childcare centers to company-sponsored travel and volunteering, there are a lot of companies that make sure you’re taking care of yourself while still helping them succeed. You could experiment with what your brand has to offer or draw inspiration from others who have pulled this off to great success.
Facebook has gotten their enviably high employee engagement rates not by doing nothing. Their many employee-friendly policies include free snacks, a bike shop, gym, and even dentist and doctor’s offices!
Google offers their employees a myriad of perks, not limited to free meals, pet-friendly premises, and the infamous on-site laundry services.
At Apple, things get really interesting! They give nice employee discounts (15% to 25%), first dibs on company technology that’s going to be recycled, employee gifts (like iPhones), and handwritten notes from managers congratulating them on any success they experience in their job. Who would say no to that?
3. Give Back to the Community
The knowledge that you are working for/supporting a cause can be a great comfort and a matter of pride to your employees. Encourage your employees to volunteer or take up a cause that is close to their hearts. Why don’t you make the company CSR more about people than just the respective department activity?
Give back to the community by offering excellent volunteering programs. It is irrefutable that, when people give back, they feel better about what they’ve done and the company that helped get them involved in the first place.
Take Microsoft’s Carbon Fee Program, for example. Combining sustainable practices and engagement, Microsoft created its Carbon Fee Program to hold its business units financially responsible for their carbon emissions.
Pfizer is another company that devised a brilliant strategy to give back to the community. They created an online community for its employees called “Think Science Now.” It allows Pfizer employees to share ideas that could potentially prevent, treat and cure diseases.
Come up with your own plan that helps connect all your employees around good causes which will fetch you engagement like never before. The goodwill and positive PR this will bring you is a bonus
4. Align Your Policies with Your Core Values
Does your company’s core values do anything more than decorate the walls? It should.
Abide by your company values and instill it in everything you do. Make your core values visible, and let it be something that your people can be proud of.
Google got this beautifully right. The tech giant uses its core values of transparency, inclusion, and trust to build engagement. Moreover, the company conducts business with a simple motto: ‘Don’t be evil’!
Guess what Nike does to connect the employees to the company and brand? They have a marketing staff member whose only job is to tell new employees the original story of how Phil Knight created the company.
Purpose is becoming a chief differentiator in business. In fact, some go as far as to think that by 2020, there will be hardly any distinction between for-profit and non-profit businesses. Rather, companies will be classified as for-purpose and not-for-purpose.
5. Encourage a Work-life Balance
It is a wise move to invest in your employees as well as their lives beyond the workplace. Because it pays off in the long run. Forget mid-life crisis, Millenials are now bothered with a quarter-life crisis. Burn-outs are alarmingly main-stream.
Enter work-life balance! People are starting to realize how ‘fair’ and ‘flexible’ work timings can benefit their overall well-being. Companies that are empathetic, proactively work to provide the appropriate personal time for employees and tend to stand out.
Work-life balance can be baked into a company’s culture. You can aid your employees to strike a work-life balance with a series of benefits such as flexible hours, healthcare, and remote working. It helps them build on their professional life without having to compromise on their personal one.
It doesn’t matter if you are a conventional 9-5 company or operates round-the-clock, you should encourage your employees to have a life. Studies suggest that millennials would even take a price cut in order to secure a greater work-life balance.
There are many companies who’ve gotten this right. The beloved food retailer emphasizes flexibility in their corporate culture. The Trader Joe’s website states, “We don’t believe you have to compromise important priorities in your life to be in ours.”
Southwest Airlines employees are offered uber cool free unlimited travel privileges for themselves and eligible dependents on Southwest flights. Or you could draw inspiration from Airbnb, which takes its own advice seriously—travel often, travel globally and travel together. Which is why every employee is given $2,000 per year to travel anywhere in the world!
Even if your company cannot afford to offer such copious privileges, fret not. You can come up with a policy that fits your brand personality best. Or be like Raytheon and offer flexible work schedules or incorporate compressed work weeks, flextime, job sharing, reduced hours and telecommuting. Anything to make life easier and manageable for your employees!
So you may not have an entire algorithm to spot disengaged employees (Google does)! But you can always run a little employee survey to see where you stand and shed light on where you should go next. There are umpteen online survey tools that’ll do the job for you without breaking a sweat.
Here’s to hoping that you’ve found at least one idea, program or strategy you can take away and implement in your company to enable employees who are highly engaged. At the end of the day, it all boils down to enabling a work environment where your employees can be at their most productive, and keep getting better over time.
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