A highly engaged workforce committed to companywide success is not easy to sustain, but has become one of the primary goals for companies looking to retain employees, lower costs and boost their bottom line.
According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the total cost of employee turnover can range from 90-200% of the lost employee’s salary. Meanwhile, a separate study from the Corporate Leadership Council revealed that employees experiencing diminished engagement levels are four times more likely to quit their jobs than employees who are engaged.
There is a wealth of literature on the topic of creating an engaged workforce, but sifting through it to find the right blend of strategies and principles for your own business can be a painstaking process. There are some general ideas that nearly all businesses should abide by, so with that in mind, here are some major do’s and don’ts that any business can get behind.
An atmosphere of positivity involves setting a positive tone. For managers, it’s important to be aware that their attitude carries over to the people they manage. Celebrating accomplishments and a job well done can go a long way toward achieving this, as well as accepting feedback so that employees feel they are valued. It’s also helpful to make time for fun, whether that means leaving the office for a little bonding time or enjoying an in-house game day.
Build a Work-Life Balance
Employees are more likely to be engaged if work isn’t overwhelming the rest of their life. Creating a top notch work-life balance can be achieved in a number of ways, but a good place to start is by offering some time away from the office. Encourage employees to take full lunches, use their vacation time and pursue volunteer opportunities through a set number of paid volunteer hours. For employers working in certain geographical areas that suffer inclement weather often, having a flexible weather policy that ensures employee safety will also ensure productivity, as employees are less likely to be at peak performance when enduring long commutes and having to coordinate childcare when school is cancelled.
Clarify Career Paths
Having a clear vision for their advancement helps employees to set goals and reach milestones. With millennials making up a significant chunk of the workforce, it’s important to have strong promotion tracks in place. Research from SHRM shows that this demographic expects promotions and raises every one to two years. Employers who clearly map out opportunities for growth and adopt a promote from within culture will be most successful in meeting these expectations.
It’s important not to bog your employees down with endless emails and meaningless meetings. Both will prove to be a drag on productivity and affect employees in a negative way. According to a study by Professor Thomas Jackson of England’s Loughborough University, 92% of employees experience a spike in blood pressure and heart rate after reading office emails. With that in mind, it’s important to keep communication channels open through chat apps and an open door policy that allows employees to provide feedback and managers to do the same so that employees are well informed about their performance.
Invest in Employee Futures
Professional development courses and tuition reimbursement for employees looking to educate themselves further is a good way for businesses to show that they support their staff when it comes to self-improvement. Another approach may be to grant sabbaticals that allow employees an opportunity to pursue passions or spend time with loved ones.
Employees often find it difficult to have confidence in a manager who feels the need to oversee everything they do. Micromanaging often leaves a bitter taste in employees’ mouths and stunts their development. Stressing over trivial items and worrying about mundane details is also bad for managers as it slows down their own rate of work. A good rule of thumb to prevent micromanaging is for managers to know how their employees are doing, but not necessarily what they are doing.
Change Direction Often
Nothing kills morale like seeing work amount to nothing or feeling meaningless. Changes in thought around how the staff should handle assignments bring about negative reactions. Even the best managers or teams will see an erosion of morale if change is constant. Change is stressful and often comes with new projects and concepts that require people to work harder, but not always more efficiently. Sticking to a plan and letting it play out will show decisiveness, confidence and patience. Even if the results are not what is desired, often times the process of getting there will yield valuable lessons.
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