5 Employee Engagement Strategies for the Modern Workplace
No matter what business you’re in, it’s key to keep your employees engaged in order to make sure they’re satisfied in their work. Having a happier workforce means less turnover, fewer absences, and a more general sense of well-being throughout the office. And for those working in the nonprofit sector in particular, it’s even more important to keep spirits and morale high – there’s a lot of good work to be done, but it can be hampered by unengaged employees who just don’t seem to want to put in the effort.
When it comes to motivation, there’s no shortage of office perks out there – everything from gym memberships to laundry services to free meals – but it’s important to implement strategies that work for emotional fulfillment (corporate social responsibility is a big one here!) as well as physical comfort. As a bonus, having a more engaged workplace means you’ll likely start to attract a higher quality of employee, which means a stronger front line in general.
But where do you start, and how do you ensure that overzealous staff won’t take advantage of too much leniency and start slacking off? We’ve got you covered with 5 strategies for employee engagement in the workplace:
Have flexible working hours
A lot of modern workplaces are eschewing the punchclock-style 9-to-5 hours and instead letting employees choose whichever hours are best for them (some are more productive early in the morning, while some are more productive late at night!). Taking a more relaxed approach to when staff arrive and leave work shows good faith as well as understanding for individuals who are parents or have other personal responsibilities. Resist the urge to micromanage – if they’re being extremely lax in their working hours, their productivity will show it!
You could also consider the added bonus of seasonal hours which, for example, could allow employees to leave at noon on Fridays before long weekends in the summertime.
Make it OK to work from home
Much like having flexible work hours, the option to work from home is attractive to many current and prospective employees – particularly if they’re dealing with responsibilities outside of the office at the same time. Giving them the freedom to work from anywhere as well as tackle other matters could be a huge stress-reliever, which results in happier people.
Plus again, it’s a demonstration that you have faith your employees will get the job done without you looking over their shoulder constantly. Letting your employees work “on their honor” is how to build a sense of accountability and responsibility.
Set up the office for success
Although you’re offering the work-from-home option, you still want to make sure your office space is inviting to work from – after all, a motivational open space makes for productive staff. If possible, choose colors and designs that are bright and inspiring, or look for office accessories to liven up the atmosphere (pool or ping-pong tables are a huge hit).
Also, if you’re working with open concept, consider having separate breakout rooms and soundproofed quiet rooms for when people need to get down to business. Having personal quiet spaces is essential to making sure your staff feel comfortable.
Set up a volunteer program
71% of employees who volunteer through work report feeling better about their employer. Even if you’re a nonprofit yourself, it’s always worth looking at opportunities to give back to the community! Think about setting aside a few days a year for your employees to sort canned goods at a food bank, clean up a local park, or lend a hand at a soup kitchen.
If you’re looking for flexibility, consider allowing 1-2 days per year for employees to have off so they can choose to volunteer or do volunteer work for a charity of their choosing. You already know that your nonprofit’s staff have big hearts – it’s good to spread that spirit around!
Encourage social & team-building activities
Forward-thinking workplaces often have social committees made up of employees that put together events like movie nights, sports teams, or after-work dinners. Having these types of activities can help employees feel more at home in the workplace, as well as building friendships with their colleagues that can assist them in being more productive at work.
One step further is team-building exercises with the specific purpose to bring colleagues closer together and demonstrate how well they can work together as a team – think escape rooms, trust exercises, or problem-solving puzzles. It’s even better if you can get out of the office to do some team-building – this gives it more of an “event” feel, as well as a little break from sitting at a desk all day.
Employee health and well-being, corporate social responsibility, and generally making a company a more attractive place to work are all great reasons to promote employee work-life balance. Try out some of the above strategies and see how well they work for your team!