Survey after survey confirms the importance of compensation. That makes sense since employees need to support themselves. There are, however, many other ways to impact employee engagement. When monetary incentives are not appropriate, tap into these ideas to keep your team motivated throughout the year
- A job well done
When an employee has achieved a goal or overcome a challenge, acknowledge their accomplishment and how it has benefitted the company. While an earnest “great job!” within daily interactions is important, there are other ways to amplify the value of their contribution:
- Publicly highlight it in a team meeting, company meeting, etc. This validation gives them deserved kudos while reminding everyone else that the company values contributions.
- Handwritten note or email that is solely focused on their contribution is very personal and gives them something tangible to keep. This could come from either their manager and/or someone from the leadership team.
More formal recognition programs are an option, but that’s a completely different story. We’re advocating for a culture of personal recognition.
- The person behind the employee
Take the time to get to know your team. Beyond “water cooler” conversations in a typical office setting, schedule monthly coffee meetings or lunches. Whether your technology of choice is Slack, Trello, Skype or FaceTime, consider bringing coffees in and including remote team members. When scheduling, don’t forget to factor in the various time zones. By learning about their outside hobbies, obligations and aspirations, you can be sensitive to those needs. Employees will be inspired to work hard for someone who genuinely has their best interests at heart.
- Volunteer together
It feels so good to give back, but oftentimes there isn’t time. When you volunteer as a work team, you get to bond while helping those in need. It’s truly a win-win experience especially when paired with a non-profit that your team cares about. While some companies worry about time away from work, research shows it positively impacts productivity, team morale and retention. Remember to promote your community involvement on social channels because it makes everyone feel more loyal – employees and customers alike!
- Learn, grow, thrive
Nobody enjoys feeling stagnant in their career. Dissatisfaction drains motivation and impacts others. Since you’ve taken the time to understand employee aspirations, looks for ways to proactively support them before stagnation hits. Identify any free/low cost online learning resources and allow them to dedicate a certain number of hours per month towards that achievement. Reinforce that learning with “stretch projects” where they can develop those skills under your guidance.
- Flexibility matters
Outside responsibilities don’t always happen after hours. Give your team members latitude to address those when they occur. Deadlines remain important, but a flexible schedule provides a healthy work-life balance with less stress. Furthermore, flexibility should include work from home options so team members can work when they’re most productive and avoid long commutes. Your leadership team can demonstrate its effectiveness by modeling flexible work schedules themselves. This reinforces a culture of trust.
Empower employees to take ownership over their work. Understand the difference between providing autonomy and setting someone up to fail. Give them the tools to succeed but encourage them to make their own decisions and learn from any mistakes. This requires a “fail forward” mentality where employees feel comfortable taking educated risks without retribution. Since managers must lead this autonomous charge, make sure they’re properly trained for this careful balancing act.
Certified by the IRS, MidwestHR is a leading Chicago PEO. Clients outsource their HR to our team of experts so they can focus on growing their company. Our a la carte pricing allows clients to choose if they want us to manage all or some of the HR functions including outsourced employee benefits management, HR guidance, payroll and taxes, training, workers comp, retirement, hiring/layoff/firing and more. Having partnered with clients for over twenty years, we also share proven best practices for maximizing employee engagement. Give us a call at 630-836-3000 to learn more.