Employees are our brand’s ambassadors, they represent our business and exemplify our company, but 70% of American workers feel disengaged at the workplace. While some employers may think it doesn’t really matter, these detached employees cost the United States between $450 and $550 billion dollars in lost productivity each year.
Their counterparts, much happier workers, perform 20% better, have 31% higher productivity, 37% more sales and outperform their disengaged fellows by 200% or more. Those are just a few of the many reasons that we should invest in our employees happiness and engagement.
How can we better connect with our valuable employees and help them feel more engaged with our company? With so many different personalities and unique characteristics, what ways will workers feel more associated with our business?
Make simple things special
Recognize things like birthdays and first days, celebrating the day they arrived on the planet as well as the day our employee first walked into our door. One company that I once worked for brought in doughnuts on Mondays to take a little bit of the sting out of the first day of the workweek and also provided free, hot, fresh-brewed coffee daily. Simple little things, when recognized and purchased, can go a long way with worker’s morale.
Let them go on Facebook
Social media was once frowned upon in the workplace, but consider allowing your employees to engage in social networking. For example, they could become more active on LinkedIn, monitor Twitter topics, respond to Facebook posts and blog about your business or industry.
Dependent on the size of your company and number of employees, one or more people could be designated as the social media master or there could be a schedule made of dates and times when different workers engage on social media platforms.
Listen and learn
Get feedback from your employees, ask for their opinions and advice. Some companies will use surveys and according to Gallup researchers, ensure that they are relevant and actionable, not impossible to act upon or are completely irrelevant.
Another firm I once worked for had a time set aside for employee feedback each week, Tuesday at two for one department, Thursday at three for another. At these designated times, employees would take ten to fifteen minutes to send the management their thoughts and suggestions. Employees appreciate that their opinions matter to the managers.
Engage outside the workplace
Another practice once looked upon negatively, invite employees to participate in activities outside of the workplace. Consider joining a bowling league, starting up a softball squad or other sports team. When employees play together as a team, they also work better as one and have a better sense of camaraderie.
Reward them for a job well done
When certain sales goals are met, jobs completed ahead of schedule and other ways that bring more profitability to the company, reward employees for their success. Don’t just point out mistakes and missed deadlines, celebrate successes and achievements. Whether it's profit sharing, bonuses, prizes or other rewards, give your employees a well deserved pat on the back from time to time.
As you can see, you don’t have to take out a small business loan when there are plenty of inexpensive ways to get employees more motivated and connected with our company, brand and business.