Studies have long established that employee engagement is a crucial factor in order to achieve better performance in the workplace. In one study, it has been found that engaged employees have 51% higher productivity than a business of disengaged employees.
To build an effective and happy workforce, it’s important to create an inclusive culture that rewards good performance. Following on from our 5 Key Factors that Make People Happy at Work article, we have listed eleven tried and tested ways to engage your employees!
1. Encourage Employees to Voice their Minds
Very often, people will go through the majority of their working life feeling uncomfortable to openly speak their mind. This is especially true in Asian culture, where people are more reserved about their opinion and would rather opt to keep silent than to risk standing out from the crowd.
To encourage employees to speak up, you can implement an “open-door” policy that creates a safe and open environment for the exchange of ideas. To further elevate this, make sure you build the office around this concept, creating open spaces that push for a greater exchange of communication.
2. Instill Job Shadow & Onboarding Processes
Being a new joiner can be somewhat of a nerve-wracking experience. To help employees ease into their role, it is helpful to have an onboarding process in place that introduces each person into the company, making sure you welcome them and leave them with a good first impression of the company.
For more junior or “in-training” roles, it is also helpful to have the opportunity to shadow a more senior employee. This will help encourage learning and helps smooth out the stress that comes with uncertainty, as well as creating an organic buddy system for new staff.
3. Be Generous with a Job Well Done
Rewarding good behaviour has long been a staple of behaviour modification. It is a great way to show recognition for employees’ hard work and encourage them and others to be even more engaged with work.
However, some HR managers get this wrong by dishing out rewards left, right, and centre, in hopes of striking a balance and pleasing everyone. Unfortunately, this is the wrong way to do it.
Instead of engaging people, this ends up reducing the perceived value of the reward, making the people who actually performed well feel less appreciated and the people who received the reward just because, feel less motivated as they know they didn’t deserve it in the first place.
4. Demonstrate an Empathetic Understanding
For a responsible adult, one of the most demeaning things is to have someone hold your hand while you work. You hear it all the time, when people say “my hands are tied” in response to why they may not have done more.
Holding your employees accountable is important, but don’t forget to also give them the courtesy of your understanding and learn to be flexible when the situation calls for it. To cultivate true leaders in your business, it is crucial that they have a sense of control, which means giving them the space to develop their own strategy.
Though goals are a great way to keep track, be careful not to put goals before people. Learn when to let go and when to rein in the control by keeping an eye on those who fail to demonstrate responsible use of freedom.
5. Give Employees the Opportunity to Grow & Excel
Naturally, people are more engaged when doing what they do best and are recognised for their efforts. We can’t always nitpick the tasks that come with the job, but, as a leader, a great way to engage your employees is to look out for their strengths and try your best to assign tasks with their skills and interests in mind.
Give people the opportunity to focus on the things that they do best and are most passionate about. If you’re not sure, feel free to openly ask them how they feel about taking on certain tasks and adopt an open attitude towards asking your employees what skills they would like to focus on and assign tasks accordingly.
6. Instill a Mind for Health & Wellness
Exercise is a great way to pack in those endorphins. After working for an extended period in a stressful environment, a great way to blow off some steam is to get some exercise. Exercise campaigns can be a great HR initiative to drive employee engagement. Not only are you encouraging employees to be more active and conscious of their health, but you’re also creating an opportunity for staff to bond among themselves.
There are many other ways to encourage wellness in the company. While some may go as far as to hire a massage therapist to help employees de-stress, it can also come in the form of a gym membership, for example, or even something as simple as stocking healthy snacks and fruit for employees to help themselves to throughout the day.
7. Encourage Employees in Participatory Leadership
Similar to our earlier point of giving employees a voice, another great way to empower staff is by giving them the opportunity to voice out through action. A great way to develop a mentality for leadership is to provide employees with different leading opportunities.
For example, in group projects you can hold different people accountable for different parts of the project. Say opportunities like leading a casual meeting to having the team set their own goals, these are all great ways to build up a leadership mindset.
This also has the ability of making employees feel more responsible for the projects that they do and has the added advantage of making employees feel more closely tied to the performance of the company as a reflection of their own work.
8. Provide Team Lunches
Food is a great way for people to bond, especially in Chinese culture where food is seen as most important and takes priority over all else. So, providing occasional lunches for the whole team is a great way to win over merit. This also gives employees the opportunity to further develop their team relationships, which in effect can create a better work dynamic of engaged staff.
You can do team lunches in many different ways,such as a monthly allowance for a simple welcome lunch for every new joiner. These lunches will help strengthen the relationship between staff and help create an opportunity over which they can bond.
9. Promote Outside-of-Work Activities
To get employees to engage better, you can initiate out-of-office activities that allow them to further build their trust with each other. Aside from lunches, another great way is to encourage hobby clubs. Provide a space, email lists, and perhaps even financial support to promote activity groups to help employees who share interests connect.
The team building opportunities in this organic setting are endless and can really help employees be more engaged at work. To begin with, it can be a company sponsored charity run like the one Links is participating in, but it can also be for other hobbies like photography clubs, or internet gaming groups.
10. Encourage Learning & Development
Want to increase staff engagement and work happiness? Challenge and support employees to learn and develop their skills. Create an Academy that provides employees with the knowledge and development opportunities they need.
There are also many options in the market such as Lynda and Skillshare that are great resources that the company can think of providing to the employees. This way, you not only better prepare your workforce for the tasks that lie ahead, but, by providing learning opportunities, you are also reducing turnover rates.
11. Help Employees Visualise and Achieve Professional Goals
During reviews, have managers sit down with their direct reports and plan the road of action for them to achieve that next promotion. Be open to finding out what each employee’s professional goals are and support them by keeping them accountable and by guiding them on the right track. This is not only a great way to grow leaders, but it also helps you get a better idea of each person’s nature and scout out potential leaders in the organisation.
From all of us at Links International, we’d like to wish you a very happy and peaceful Mid-Autumn festival! Hope this article inspired you with new ways to get your employees engaged at work.
Links International is a leading recruitment and payroll outsourcing provider in Asia and supports 15 countries across Asia-Pacific. If you’re looking to grow your team in Asia or are interested to explore the idea of payroll outsourcing, please do not hesitate to contact us.