3 top tips to boost employee engagement without breaking the bank

January 31, 2024

With fears about quiet quitting, challenges of hybrid working and debates about returning to work, employee engagement has become more important than ever.

And the pressure is on us, as senior leaders, to find creative and cost effective ways to work miracles…

Employee engagement is considered to be a measure of how emotionally and mentally connected employees are to their work, their organisation and its goals.

Engaged employees are enthusiastic about their work, committed to their employer and motivated to contribute their best efforts. This, in turn, leads to higher productivity and job satisfaction and it helps to reduce staff turnover and absenteeism.

Of course, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to ensuring engaged and happy employees are roaming the corporate corridors. But there are some basic things we can all implement at work that will have a big positive impact on engagement, without breaking the bank.

1. Connect to Purpose

Simon Sinek shot to fame after his original Ted Talk ‘Start with Why’, when he explained that ‘people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it’.

Most employees can explain what their job entails or what their team does and they might even be able to describe how they reach their goals, but ask a team to describe WHY they exist and what their purpose is in the bigger scheme of things, and chances are you will be met with blank stares.

Purpose has to come from the top, and it’s helpful to have the CEO and exec team talking consistently about the company’s purpose and about the impact the company is making in people’s lives (instead of talking about the P&L and all the commercials).

Why did the founders start the company? What problem did they set out to solve? Why does the company exist today, who does it serve and what impact does it make?

In addition to helping individual employees to connect to the company purpose, it helps for each team to be clear on their team’s purpose.

A simple 30 minute session with teams can help them clarify and articulate their purpose by completing a simple MadLib:

We …….(what we do) for …..(who our customers are – whether internal or external) ….. So that…….(the impact we want to make).

2. A Culture of Appreciation

One of the core components of employee engagement is recognition and reward.

Obviously, this is a strategic matter and there is likely a lot of red tape to get through.

The biggest mistake that we have historically made in this space, is celebrating only the ‘big wins’ or having things like ‘employee of the month’ instead of expressing appreciation for the little things that our people do.

We can change this by simply creating a culture of appreciation and introducing ‘WOW Wednesdays’ or ‘Thankful Thursdays’ in our teams. Encourage everyone to express appreciation towards their colleagues and find at least one person to recognise every week.

You’ll soon have a recognition ripple effect throughout the entire organisation and celebrating the small wins or the little things that folks do for each other, makes people feel seen, valued and appreciated.

3. Promote a Healthy Work-Life Balance

Since the Covid-19 pandemic and the rise of remote working, many employees feel more pressure than ever to be ‘always on and always available’ and some have replaced the term ‘working from home’ with ‘living at work’.

As senior leaders, we are in a unique position to educate and coach our managers on the importance of a healthy work-life balance and encourage them to model these behaviours for their teams.

A simple first step would be to introduce mandatory ‘radio silence’ between 6pm and 8am daily. If employees aren’t receiving emails, DMs and text messages during these times, they don’t feel pressure to respond and are able to spend time on hobbies, interests and relationships outside of work.

We can also share free resources and apps with employees to promote overall wellness. Insight Timer is an amazing free app with loads of guided meditations and music for relaxation, stress relief and sleep. YouTube is also a great resource for free meditations and mindfulness practice.

By helping our employees to connect to purpose, switch off from work for at least 12 consecutive hours daily and feel more seen and appreciated, we can start improving employee engagement and reduce the likelihood of quiet quitting, absenteeism or resignations.

Once we have mastered some of these basics, we can start focusing on some of the bigger engagement challenges like learning and development, career advancement and communication.

Leeds based HR180 is a team of superheroes in HR Outsourcing, Projects and Consultancy committed to work in partnership with organisations of all sizes to establish working policies to go above and beyond Employment Law requirements, to protect both employees and employers alike. We love to hear from you, so call us on 0113 287 8150 or hit the Rescue Me button.

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