Have you ever read about how Google employees get to ride around on scooters, play with electric cars, and lounge around in massage chairs – all during the work day? Those lucky guys and gals. It’s like living in the future and working on an adult playground all at once. While most companies won’t be following in Google’s footsteps anytime soon, there’s bound to be a good medium between the playpen known as Google and the bleak white cubicles that so many employees have to sit in day after day.
Even without a complete office remodeling, employers have many options for engaging their employees creatively and intellectually and helping them get excited about their work. After all, a company is only as good as its employees. And employees are only as good as their general happiness and motivation. With a couple of good employee engagement ideas under your belt, you’ll have a happier, more successful team in no time.
If you’ve ever had to sit in a cubicle for 40+ hours a week, think back to that experience. Did you look forward to going to work in the morning? Did you jump out of bed with a smile on your face, eager to put on your suit and tie and stare at your computer screen for hours on end? If you did, you are one of the lucky ones. If you didn’t, did you put in your utmost effort every single day? Probably not. It’s hard to get motivated about something that doesn’t motivate you. It’s time to ditch standard practices and get employees engaged in their work again. And as it turns out, this isn’t as difficult as many would expect.
Why Engage Employees?
Think about it this way: if 65% of employees are only doing what they need to do to scrape by during the day, the company is not progressing as fast as it could be if 100% of employees were engaged and excited about their work. Or, rather, think about it in terms of your high school experience. Did you ever take a class you didn’t like? When the time came to complete a homework assignment or study for a test, did you spend hours and hours delving deep into the material, teaching yourself everything you possibly could about the subject? If you did, I’m extremely impressed. Many of us utilized our short term memory to cram in the information right before the test, or gathered a couple of quick facts so that we could complete the assignment. Did this get us an A+? If we were lucky we got an A-. With disengaged employees, companies are doing an A- job (at best) when they could be doing an A+ job.
How to Engage Disengaged Employees
“But all of my employees are bored and unhappy! It’s too late!” Want in on a little secret? It’s never too late. While trying to face hundreds of disengaged employees can be nerve-wracking, they’re not a lost cause. In fact, many of them will probably be excited that things are going to change around the office. Need a few quick tips? Try these out! No matter how small, any change in the right direction is a positive one.
- Though negative feedback can be tough to handle, allowing employees to anonymously submit their complaints about the company will give you a good idea on what needs to change. Are 83 different employees dissatisfied with the way their manager interacts with them? Well, maybe their manager should be a little friendlier. Or, in more extreme cases, maybe a new manager needs to be hired. The success of a team depends largely on the leader of that team, so engagement should start at the top.
- Why not try a little positive reinforcement? At the beginning of the week, set a goal for the office. Is it a certain number of sales? Is it a certain amount of internet traffic? Whatever the goal, start out with one that’s attainable. If the goal is reached, employees get coffee and donuts on Monday morning. I say Monday instead of Friday because, come on, everyone needs a little more motivation on Mondays. The reward doesn’t have to be coffee and donuts, but try a simple reward that will get employees excited about working towards a goal.
- Get to know your employees. How many people have you heard complain about their boss or manager? While a professional relationship is certainly necessary, there’s no harm in engaging in casual conversation at the water fountain or when employees enter the building. If employees are working for someone they actually like, they’re more likely to be engaged in their work.
- Try starting an “appreciation board”. While this may seem a little elementary school, you’d be surprised how one anonymous note of appreciation can brighten someone’s day and get them motivated to work even harder. If you see that some employees aren’t getting mentioned, write an anonymous note about them yourself!
- Support growth and development. Many employees don’t enjoy going into work because they feel like they’ll be stuck at the bottom forever. By starting a mentoring program, regardless of how small, employees can voice their desires and know that they have a future ahead of their current position.
Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day
Employee engagement won’t happen overnight, and there will always be one or two employees who seem to hate the world and won’t get engaged no matter how hard you try. Don’t let this get your spirits down, and focus on improving employee engagement one day at a time. Little by little, you’ll see positive results. A big aspect of employee engagement focuses on basic human desires; everyone wants to be acknowledged and appreciated. The more acknowledged and appreciated employees are, the more engaged they’ll be and the more the company will thrive.
If you’re still feeling lost, Udemy’s course on effectively leading a team will help you get started. There’s no time like the present! Get your employees back on track and soon you’ll all be reaping the benefits.