5 ways to boost employee engagement

16th October, 2015

MYOB’s Head of People and Performance, Alla Keogh, recently spoke to The Australian Financial Review about employee engagement and satisfaction. Here are her suggestions for boosting employee engagement in your team.

A happy and productive employee is something every boss knows they want. But employee engagement is more than just job satisfaction or feeling happy at work – it’s the level of connection, motivation and commitment a person feels for the place they work. A truly engaged employee is worth their weight in gold, and can be not only significantly more productive, but also give your customers an unbeatable experience. In turn, your customers become more connected and committed to your brand. It’s a win-win.

But how do you boost employee engagement? Hint: it’s not a staff suggestion box.

READ THIS NEXT: Performance management: definition, steps, and best practices

1. Measure often, and act quickly

Gone are the days of the annual engagement survey. There is enormous benefit in asking employees how they feel about what is happening in the workplace, and the extent to which they feel committed to the company, likely to stay, and say great things about your brand.

But you need to listen to what they say. Measure engagement often – at least quarterly – but make sure you are prepared to take feedback seriously, and act on it quickly.

2. Make work matter

People want to work for companies that stand for something. Figure out why your employees should care about what you do. If you haven’t already done so, create a mission statement eg. XYZ exists to [fill the blank]. Make sure every employee understands this. Put it on a t-shirt. Include it in your logo. Check out Simon Sinek’s TED Talk Start With Why for some inspiration on starting this process.

3. Be flexible

Today’s workers aren’t interested in 9 to 5. It’s far more important to focus on people’s output, and let them integrate their work and personal lives by allowing flexibility. Make sure they have the tools to work from anywhere – a laptop computer doesn’t cost much more than a desktop, and provides a massive productivity boost.

Research proves that workers that have access to work flexible hours from flexible locations are happier, more engaged and get a lot more done (and are more likely to put in the extra hours when needed).

4. Surprise and delight

It’s the little things that count. A pizza lunch or a car wash voucher when there’s a lot going on and the team is super busy. Coffees on the boss. A free breakfast tomorrow. It doesn’t have to cost much to have a big impact, and to show that you really care about your people.

5. Say thank you in public

It’s so obvious, but often overlooked. Acknowledgement is not only the best way to build trust, but it can really energise the workplace. Forget “Employee of the Month” trophies – a simple shout-out in the team meeting, or a helium balloon with the words “thank you” printed on it makes people feel really appreciated.

But if you really want to know what will help your employees feel more connected, committed and motivated to work hard for you, just ask them. The answer is often more simple than you think, and comes down to the golden rule: treat others as you would like to be treated. You don’t need a complicated annual survey or a fancy consultant. Promote kindness, compassion, respect, flexibility and fun in your workplace. It doesn’t cost a thing.

READ: How to reward your best employees for free