For human resources managers, the struggle to keep employees engaged with their work is never-ending. As shown in multiple studies such as the “Linking People Measures to Strategy” study by the Conference Board of Canada, employees who are engaged with their work are more productive, putting in more time and effort to help the organisation that they work for meet goals.
However, as important as driving employee engagement is, there never seems to be enough room in the budget for all of the measures you want to employ for your company. Working within frequently tight budgets to maximise employee engagement at work to drive productivity and retention of key employees is a challenge, but not one that should be insurmountable.
So, how can you drive employee engagement on a budget? To answer this question, we here at Simon Shirley Advisors have assembled a few tips to keep in mind while you work to drive employee engagement for your company.
Tip #1: Differentiate Between Employee Happiness and Engagement at Work
One thing that many people forget is that employee satisfaction and engagement are not necessarily one and the same. As pointed out by the Harvard Business Review, “Employees who say they are ‘satisfied’ may or may not feel engaged.” While there is a high correlation between satisfaction and engagement, the two metrics are different, and should be tracked separately.
So, when looking for ways to drive employee engagement, consider whether the measures you take are designed to keep employees “happy,” or they’re designed to foster productivity.
Tip #2: Give Employees a Sense of Ownership/Control
How much impact do individual employees have on the projects they are responsible for? Is there a sense of control, of responsibility among front-line employees?
When employees feel that they are important, that their input and results matter, they are much more likely to be engaged with the work that they do. You can create a sense of ownership among employees by:
- Relating to employees how their performance impacts results for the company.
- Taking suggestions from employees on how to improve processes.
- Basing bonuses on the efforts of individual work cells rather than entire departments/divisions of the company, if applicable.
The first bullet point highlights for employees how their work affects not only themselves, but all of their coworkers, instilling a sense of responsibility towards their fellow front-line workers.
The second bullet point is a way for you to demonstrate to employees that their input matters, and may even give you a few good ideas for improving processes to maximise efficiency. Employee engagement rises when the employees have a sense of involvement in the decision-making process.
The final bullet point is primarily applicable for companies that have a performance bonus programme already. With a company or department-wide bonus programme, whether or not a specific team of employees gets a bonus is dependent on the performance of hundreds or thousands of employees who are not a part of their work cell. This takes any sense of control over the ability to earn a bonus out of the employee’s hands. With bonuses based on the performance of an individual or a small team of workers, there is a greater sense of control over the ability to earn said bonus.
Tip #3: Identify and Eliminate Driving Factors for Disengagement where Possible
One way to help drive employee engagement at work is to root out the obstacles to engagement that may be in place and find ways to minimise or remove them.
What are these obstacles, and how do you remove them? The answer to this question may change depending on the nature of your organisation and your corporate culture.
One of the most common obstacles to employee engagement, however is poor relations with management. Poor relations with management might not be the result of “bad management” per se, but an inability for employees and management teams to communicate with one another.
Fostering communications so that managers and front-line workers can help to drive engagement and keep employees working towards meeting important goals. This can often be accomplished simply by meeting with management personnel and periodically reviewing their communication practices with employees.
Review the turnover rates for employees who work under specific managers. If one manager has an unusually high rate of turnover, that may be an indication of a problem. Focusing your efforts on managers of teams with high turnover rates can help you identify issues with management that are causing employees to become disengaged, and thus more likely to leave the company.
Also, take time each year to review your company’s HR and benefits policies in general. Pay particular attention to any policies for which you have received complaints from employees, and find ways to clarify the policy for workers, or to change the policy itself if local regulations permit. Sometimes, altering or eliminating a confusing, outdated, or obstructive policy can remove a significant obstacle to employee engagement, and thus, productivity.
Tip #4: Interview Engaged Employees
Rather than focusing on problem areas in your organisation, you can examine those employees/teams in your organization that consistently produce superior results and try to find out what these teams and their managers are doing differently from the rest.
Here, you can find ideas for increasing engagement that may not need to rely on using a large amount of company resources/capital.
Also, you can share the success stories of these employees in your company newsletter/memos. Doing this shows other employees how superior effort is recognized by the organisation as a whole, and can help to drive competitiveness amongst teams as they try to be the next team featured in the newsletter.
For More Information
With the above tips, HR managers can help to improve engagement among employees, without necessarily needing to spend a huge amount of capital.
Driving employee engagement helps to boost productivity, reduce turnover, and increase revenue for many companies in a variety of industries. To get more tips for driving employee engagement on a budget, contact Simon Shirley Advisors today.