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8 Employee Engagement Strategies to Improve Productivity

What are employee engagement strategies? 

Employee engagement strategies are part of effective employee management and help team members be more committed to your business and motivated to succeed. Some of these strategies are intangible, like creating a positive work culture and supporting a good work-life balance. Others are more practical, like regular catch-ups and feedback, recognition, awards, rewards, training and development. 

Why are employee engagement strategies important? 

When your employees are engaged, they're more committed and motivated to help your business succeed, more productive and less likely to leave your company.

According to the Harvard Business Review, companies that invest in the employee experience outperform those that don't and earn four times more profit per employee.

What are the benefits of engaged employees? 

 Keeping your employees engaged has three main benefits: 

Less management oversight needed 

Engaged employees are also self-motivated. They're committed to helping the business succeed, so need less management oversight or incentives to be productive. They'll often look for ways to add value to your business beyond their job responsibilities.

Improved productivity and output

Engaged employees are more invested in their day-to-day work and feel a sense of ownership over the outcomes. This means they'll work harder and longer, want to produce great work and are less likely to feel burnt out. You'll also find a link between highly engaged employees and those who give excellent customer service — they care about your customers as much as you do.

Better workplace environment 

Engaged employees care about your business, so they'll also care about their colleagues, contributing to a collaborative and supportive workplace.

8 employee engagement strategy examples you can implement now 

Great employment engagement strategies will help employees feel heard, valued and supported. Here are some initiatives you could implement now.

#1 Encourage communication 

To encourage excellent communication with your staff, try some or all of the following:

  • Make yourself available so staff know they can come to you with any concerns or questions.

  • Schedule one-on-ones to chat about their career progress and any issues they face. This is also an excellent time to offer them constructive feedback. 

  • Use technology to keep in touch, especially if your team works remotely.  

  • Learn to listen actively. Be open to feedback from your people and take any concerns seriously. 

#2 Recognise efficiency and hard work 

Recognising your team’s extra effort can boost engagement. This can be a one-off or part of your compensation strategy. Here are some ideas to try. 

  • Publicly acknowledge high-performing team members via email, social media or a meeting. 

  • Encourage team members to praise or thank their colleagues publicly. 

  • Personally thank individuals for their efforts.

  • Offer a bonus, voucher, promotion, get-together or other reward for your top members or teams.

#3 Invest in professional development

Investing in staff professional development means you have higher skill levels in your company and improved employee engagement. Here’s how you could do that.

  • Sign people up for courses, send them to industry conferences, or help them work towards professional certifications.

  • Arrange one-on-one mentoring and coaching sessions with your senior staff or external experts. 

  • Let people shadow senior staff or those in different roles to give them a better understanding of your organisation and inspire them about their next career move.

  • Pay for professional memberships so staff members can connect with industry resources and networking opportunities.

#4 Implement personal care days 

By offering your team members personal care days, you show that you care about their mental and physical well-being. Consider how many days you'll offer per year and if there are any requirements you’d like to put on them. For example, you could decide that staff can’t tack personal care days onto annual leave or take them all in a row.  

#5 Offer employee discounts 

Offering employee discounts is a lower-cost way to give your staff value and helps them better understand your product or service. Here’s what to establish first:

  • The type of discount — will you offer the service or product for free or at a lower rate? You could also give them a lump sum to spend how they choose with your business.

  • Who’s eligible — will the discount be available to families and part-time workers?

  • Any limits — make sure the discounts are sustainable for your business by setting limits on the dollar amounts or number of times staff can use the discount.  

  • Compliance — make sure your discounts comply with New Zealand tax laws.

#6 Improve workplace conditions 

With a positive, supportive workplace, staff feel happier and more engaged. Along with recognising hard work and ensuring excellent communication, you should also: 

  • Improve the physical working environment — are office chairs comfortable? Is there space for staff to eat lunch and chat? Can you offer a broader range of refreshments?

  • Make your business safe and inclusive of all people — are your premises accessible to people with disabilities? Do you actively work against racism, sexism and other discriminatory practices and language? Can you safely allow pets or children to come to work, too? 

  • If possible, let people work from home or at hours that suit them.

  • Set your people up for success with the right technology, equipment and training.  

#7 Encourage goal setting 

When employees have clear and achievable goals, often as KPIs, they'll work with a sense of purpose and direction. It also gives them autonomy to achieve those goals, rather than having to be micromanaged. 

#8 Encourage effective time management

Working hard with no outcome can quickly become discouraging and lead to burnout. Excellent workforce management and helping your team members use their time efficiently means they're more likely to see tangible results from their extra time and effort. Your staff will have more time to invest in self-care, training and development, and supporting their colleagues. 

Employee engagement strategies FAQs 

What are the most effective employee engagement strategies? 

While the best employee engagement requires a mix of tools and initiatives, communication is the most important and effective. It helps your team understand their value to the company and what you expect of them. Communication also means you better understand their needs, concerns, and ideas so you can create a positive work environment and implement other strategies that improve employee engagement. 

What actions can you take personally to improve your employees' engagement? 

As a business owner, your behaviour sets the tone for your work culture and employee engagement levels.

  • Get clear on the values and behaviours you want to see from your people, then model them. For example, if you want people to maintain a healthy work-life balance, try not to work late, come in early or email after hours. 

  • Lead the way with recognition. Make a point of saying thank you, praising the effort publicly, and arranging staff rewards and gifts. 

  • Be open to feedback and change. When you can accept and learn from feedback, your people will feel listened to and valued. 

Employee engagement starts at the top

Underpinning any productive and efficient business are committed and motivated employees. These will be self-motivated, positive and highly effective members of your team who are less likely to look for jobs elsewhere. To boost your team's engagement, start with excellent communication, create a positive, inclusive work environment, offer benefits like discounts and personal care days, and recognise hard work. Good time management, goal setting and professional development can also give people purpose and direction.

With MYOB's business management platform streamlining your backend processes, you'll have more time to boost employee engagement. MYOB can also deliver the real-time reporting you need to set more accurate KPIs, assess compensation levels, review staff performance and more. 

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Disclaimer: Information provided in this article is of a general nature and does not consider your personal situation. It does not constitute legal, financial, or other professional advice and should not be relied upon as a statement of law, policy or advice. You should consider whether this information is appropriate to your needs and, if necessary, seek independent advice. This information is only accurate at the time of publication. Although every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of the information contained on this webpage, MYOB disclaims, to the extent permitted by law, all liability for the information contained on this webpage or any loss or damage suffered by any person directly or indirectly through relying on this information.

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