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As the revolving door in and out of love with businesses is set to pick up speed. How can companies increase employee engagement?

It’s no secret. Employees are thoroughly dis-engaged with their jobs, and if there’s one thing that can kill a business silently it’s the ebbing of enthusiasm of it’s workers. One study from the Dale Carnegie Foundation sampled 1500 workers from various sectors and found that 29% were fully engaged with their jobs. Whereas 26% were disengaged. The rest were only partially engaged. Seems rather ridiculous right?

When you consider that your employees are the largest investment you make in any business. Not only in terms of money but also in terms of time. The data many HR managers use to assess people is corrupted and useless. The way many HR professionals measure employee performance actually increases disengagement and drives people out the door. Could there be a more backwards situation? The key to employee engagement is to very simply remain human. Never treat an employee like an asset. Show appreciation for your employees and they will reciprocate.

In fact the Carnegie study found that the single most important aspect to increase employee engagement is a Caring Manager. The immediate supervisor was found to have to care and be genuinely interested in the employees personal life. It may sound trite and many managers may feel uncomfortable getting involved with a workers life but there lies the paradox.

In business and management many average leaders are far too focused on profit, balance sheets and stock price. They begin to treat employees like assets to be used as such. Then it becomes a vicious cycle where bosses become less human and employees become less human. Until a point where you’re working in this horribly sterile environment. No one is happy, no one is productive and everyone is dreaming of their next move.

Too many companies get to that stage and hire in a training company to play games, sing songs and get people motivated. Yet they forget an organisation just like a person can only be changed from within.

So the idea of this post is to really give employers a definitive list of actionable methods to increase employee engagement. We will try and keep it updated as much as possible and will add any suggestions to the list.

1 Identify and define the strengths of each employee in the team

Research from TMBC[1] shows that employees become disengaged when companies attempt to train weakness out of them. Instead he says focus on the inherent strengths within each employee. Identify them clearly, define them and cater to their strengths. Give responsibilities to those strengths and as much as possible ignore weakness.

2 Focus training on management level

It is not the employees that create disengagement it is largely down to poor leadership. However don’t hire a consultancy identify key leaders and influencers within your organisation to work one -to-one with team managers to train the managements people skills. Team building activities and games only seek to highlight problems in the workplace not repair them. Great leaders always know how identify strength, focus on training every leader in the business to do this better. Then allow the manager to apply it in practice, on their own terms. This is great for a team as it allows the manager to feel relevant and special that he/she has been singled out to train with an important company influencer. It also means that manager feels valued as it’s their decision how the strategies get implemented. Then the team benefits because the manager begins to understand the strengths and how to use them better.

3 Clearly define job roles and responsibilities

Too many companies hire and employee because of previous experience but never actually train them or explain to them what their role is. Job descriptions are impersonal and dry, they do not describe real day-to-day activities. Besides the role should be explained in person by the management, not on a piece of paper. Failing this is dangerous as the employee never feels truly apart of the team as they do not understand how to impose their authority, what their authority is and what role they are playing in the team. Carnegie research[2] suggests that newer employees of less than a year are one of the largest groups that are disengaged. This would suggest that job roles are not defined and that after a year they finally understand where they fit in the team. Managers should work to clearly explain every aspect of the job as soon as possible.

4 Once employee strengths are identified – Establish clear actionable and attainable goals for each employee, based on their strengths

When you provide goals that workers can enjoy completing you are showing you care about how they feel. Showing you understand them as a person and are not willing to provide roles to them that they wouldn’t be happy completing. Once they are more engaged they will willingly accept and volunteer for the more monotonous or less enjoyable jobs. On the other hand giving a disengaged worker a job they hate is like a nail in the coffin. It reinforces their bias and reduces their frustration further.

5 Make sure managers establish personal and open-door relationships with employees

As already stated one of the major problems and reasons for disengagement are managers that do not keep good personal relationships with workers. You can do this in the form of monthly and anonymous happiness surveys. Send them out once a month for every employee to voice 3 main concerns and 3 main reasons they enjoy working. Listen to the employees pain points and address them publicly within the organisation, show how you are resolving the situation. Similarly with the reasons they are engaged focus on those elements and determine strategies to improve them even further.

6 Reward employees frequently

It may be just a simple projected completed well, it may be a new client brought in whatever the action find reasons and ways to reward employees as frequently as possible. This can be in the form of bonuses, but also identifying publicly within the company what that worker did right.

7 Use social media within the company to publicly praise employees

There is nothing more exciting than having your boss write a great review on your Linkedin profile. Publishing a picture of an employee to the company page and explaining why the person is so good at their job. Not only is it good for the person its good marketing too. It shows your a company with a rewarding culture.

8 Be consistent in your rewards

Make sure that managers aren’t rewarding one or two employees too often. This will end up disengaged the rest of the team as they feel undervalued. Set a mental limit to how much to give to one person. Even when that person is not rewarded for a similar result it will just mean they work even harder to get the reward next time. Sometimes its good to inspire some competition within the team. Just remember the employees that may be more introverted and shy away from competition. Don’t forget to reward them too.

9 Nurture and act on employee ideas

At Google employees are encouraged to spent 20 per cent of their working time developing their own business ideas and innovations. This practice allowed engineer Paul Buchhiet to come up with an idea for Google’s own email (Gmail). Originally the directors thought it was a terrible idea with one reportedly saying: “This will destroy our brand. This will crush our company.”. However Gmail opened up the door for Google to enter a whole alternate area. Now Gmail is one of the primary products.

Employees have great ideas. And if they come to you with an idea or innovation make sure to take notice. Use your influence to help the employee pitch the idea to the higher ups. Maybe they don’t go with it, maybe they do. But you as the manager of that employee will have shown that you withhold judgement, you trust in the employee and you are willing to put yourself on the line for them.

10 Establish a clear purpose for your company

I’ve talked before[3] about how finding a purpose for yourself as an employee is important in becoming successful. Companies should not overlook this as a real way to engage employees. Aligning a company with a “why we do things” is important as it gives staff the opportunity to align their own purpose and passions with the company’s. When employees believe in the purpose of a company they actively promote it inside and outside the workplace. The company becomes something that engages the core beliefs of a person rather than just somewhere to go and spend time for money.

11. Focus meetings and goals on the “Why” not the “What” of things

Now this may seem rather subjective so watch this video: [ https://embed-ssl.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_how_great_leaders_inspire_action.html ]

Here Simon Senek references Apple as an example of companies that focus on the why of things. He focuses on how that applies to the marketing message of a company, however it is equally as important to HR and people engagement.

12 Provide rarely used benefits packages in your organisation

There are so many things in life that people want. It really doesn’t cost much to provide staff with  some of these desires and it does wonders to engagement. On top of the regular benefits like healthcare, dental, social security and pensions add in things like travel: bus passes, metro passes, company cars, company drivers. What about coupling holiday time with a free flight once a year. What about throwing your own company conference and/or party. What about providing days off for birthdays and important days in each employee’s life. You may lose some money and time but your employee’s happiness and commitment to you will grow because of it.

13 Providing Healthy food options in house

Healthy food options: negotiate with local organic food suppliers a better rate for deliveries or allow them to open a stall in the cafeteria. Research has shown [4] if staff believe an employer cares about their health it can increase engagement by up to 38%

With a huge increase in the organic food industry driven by a more environmentally conscious mindset spreading through millennials. A health and wellness scheme is ranked highly as a way to engage this demographic.

14 Run frequent and large company wide engagement campaigns

Not team building and training but new campaigns to keep people happy. Run at least 5 a year. This allows employees to know without a doubt that their satisfaction matters to you. It will also encourage staff to be more open with managers about what it wrong.

15 Let your employees in on “insider” information

Is there a problem with management? Is there something wrong with revenue? Is the sales team letting you down? Let staff in to the ring of trust, tell them about the problems the organisation are facing. Not only does that build deeper relationships with your people but it also gives them a chance to fix a problem and feel like a real key part of the team if they can help.

16 Celebrate every week with Free drinks nights

There is nothing more important than ridding your employees with the stuffiness of office politics. You want your employees to be comfortable with each other and above all comfortable with yourself. Hold semi-regular drinks nights at a local bar where everyone can relax after a week at work. At first it may seem awkward, ridiculous and people may avoid it, but as it becomes a regular thing and people strike common ground deeper relationships are made.

17 Create communities with aligned purpose inside the business

Cater to people’s hobbies and allow employees to get out of their normal work circle. Create meet-ups within the business for people who: go to the gym, go fishing, read books, enjoy yoga, like designing, enjoy computer coding. Not only are they great to give staff a good work/life balance but they also hotbeds of creativity where ideas about innovation can flourish.

18 Create an employee centered motivational Instagram account

Social media is fast becoming a great way to motivate employees. Give access credentials to all your staff including management. Hold a company meeting to make Mondays motivational. Ask all staff to contribute to the Instagram with motivational quotes. Use #hashtags to identify which department is posting and have every person tag their own Instagram profile. Ask any post to be accompanied with a short description of why they find the quote inspiring or a personal motivational story from their life. Then watch your companies Instagram explode with activity and engagement.

This not only benefits your team but also publicises your company culture helping to build your brand. Social media shouldn’t simply be used for self promotion it should also be used to build employee commitment. This is a simple but effective way to market yourselves and give your staff the responsibility to motivate each other.

You can also run a competition every month for the most engaging post. The person’s post with the most amount of likes, comments and shares can be reposted on the company Facebook. Plus the original poster can receive a little medal or trophy to put on their desk for a month. Make sure to get a photo of that and pop it onto the company social media profiles too.

19 Urge managers to provide regular positive feedback on what employees have done right and constructive feedback on what they could be doing better

Research from Quantum Workplace [5] suggests the most significant increase in reasons why employees become disengaged is that “My immediate supervisor (does not) give me regular constructive feedback on my job performance”. This is a significant finding as the Quantum Workplace employee engagement survey covers over 8,700 of the “Best companies to work for”. That is over 500,000 workers in companies that are notoriously great to work for.

Crucially then, immediate supervisors must be able to:

– Understand the tasks employees are completing and when they get something right make sure to acknowledge them.

– Understand what employees best standard is for the work complete

– If it wasn’t up to standard; understand how to advise the employee constructively to make sure they know how to do better.

20 Outline exact goals to be met for promotion and advancement within the organisation

In the Quantum Workplace engagement report they highlight Professional advancement and career opportunities as the fifth most important driver of engagement.

Employees want the ability to move up in an organisation. Programmes that allow them to focus their efforts on moving up are engaging for the employee, good for the business and drives outstanding performance.

Staff can focus not only on improving the business by going the extra mile to impress, but also improving life for themselves.

21 Allow others to run morning meetings

Require one staff member each week to run a morning meeting. Tell employees to submit their request with a subject of the meeting and you pick who each week.

This allows staff to begin to think like a leader and get experience preparing like you would. It gives you insight into who is really engaged and motivated to move up. Secondly it allows you to see who is ready to move up. Thirdly it motivates employees to become more engaged and take part in the management of the business.

22 Take a look at Glassdoor for employee sentiment

The employee satisfaction website is a great way to understand how staff feel in the company. Be brave and delve into comments negative and positive.

You could even go so far as addressing the concerns in the morning meeting. Creating a solution and making sure it is enacted within the organisation. Employees in the QW engagement survey said that “Superiors caring about their happiness” was ranked highly as an important component of increasing job satisfaction.

23 Give a morning meeting to one staff member each week

Having spent a few years in Australia and venturing off on walkabout with some Native Australians. They have this incredible tradition where when they wake up they sing and dance and praise one member of the tribe. This gives the member an incredible boost in pride and happiness about his position in the tribe.

Now i’m not saying you turn your meeting routine into a tribal dancing every Monday. Simply that praise from coworkers is just as important as praise from superiors. You want to encourage appreciation of each others strengths as much as possible.

Consider choosing someone at random every morning and going round the room asking each person what that person’s most important strength is in their mind. This will bring employees closer together and foster a sense of belonging and appreciation for where they are in the team.

24 Encourage and subsidise vocational learning projects

Career advancement goes hand-in-hand with professional training. With the wide array of vocational courses online these days employees are probably bombarded with sales emails from training centres. You should appreciate that if an employee wants to learn a new skill and is willing to take a course to do so, this is a signal they are engaged in the workforce.

You should encourage professional training for employees on the condition that; once they have finished the course they run a company meeting to teach what they have learnt.

This allows one employee to put into practice what they have learnt; makes sure that they will pay attention and really learn from the course; provides the added benefit of the rest of your staff learning a new skill too.

As you can see this is incredibly valuable to the company. Therefore the value should be translated into monetary value and the course subsidised via time used at work or cost of the course. Perhaps offer all employees a 50% subsidy for the cost of professional qualifications.

25 Write inspirational quotes on the wall of the office

How many times are employees looking up from their desks to see bare and uninspiring wall space? As they tease focus from work and look off to daydream, provide sub-conscious cues on the walls of the office.

This can hark back to the inspirational quotes on Instagram in point 18. Maybe you could place the best comments of the week into a jar, then pick 5-10 winners to be professional plastered onto the walls.

26 Hold a monthly themed clothing day

Make it smart, make it fun. Perhaps a James Bond themed day where everyone comes to work in black tie. Perhaps an Indian traditional day where everyone wheres a sari.

It can be fun to allow you staff some creativity with outfits and you’ll generally find that “mufti-days” won’t increase productivity on the day but they pay off in the days after as spirits remain high.

27 Take note of chronic under performers

After initialising one or several engagement strategies and finding there are still under performers in the team; look closely at the direct supervisors of these under performers. There could be a good chance they are so disengaged to the point of hostility. There is probably a problem with the direct management of the team.

Try surveying that team anonymously to determine how they feel about management.You should follow closely how these supervisors act and treat their staff. If it really is no fault of the manager then consider these staff as negatively impacting the entire business. These are bad eggs hell-bent on destruction! Get rid of them before their hostility leaks over to other sections of the business.

If it is the fault of the manager and employees are complaining, be transparent an address the issue head on. If things don’t change then remove the manager. Place them in a different position elsewhere in the company, demote to a non-managing role or remove them from the company.

28 Provide management with the right questions to ask [6]

Sometimes the simplest things are overlooked and large problems can occur through minor details. Providing management with questions to ask regularly to show they care is a great way to create trickle down enganomics.

Tell supervisors to, at every opportunity take a walk round the office and ask these 10 questions, courtesy of Steve Roesler at (www.allthingsworkplace.com):

29 “How can I help you right now?”

This is a great question that shows managers care and are committed to the employees success as well as the companies. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary says that commitment is “the state or an instance of being emotionally impelled.” Offering assistance sends a clear message that you are, in your heart, engaged in a way that compels you to give of yourself. That is a message that people are hoping to receive and will recognise immediately.

30 “What else do you need from me for this project?”

Let’s face it: most bosses would be thrilled if everyone showed a keen interest in hitting the standard, or the corporate version of minimum daily requirements. When you show a willingness to do more than is required, your level of engagement is clear to those above you, sets an example for those around you, stands a good chance of building a new, even higher, standard.

31 “Who can I introduce you to to help make this happen?”

There’s a reason social networking sites have engaged so many people. We seek ways to extend our capabilities by connecting with those whose interests are similar. When you become the conduit to new people and new ideas, you provide a service to the organisation and become known as a person of influence.

32 “When can we get together to discuss our progress?”

Managers constantly juggle events, people, deadlines, and problems, all the time wanting to be clear about one thing: “How are we doing?” The person who initiates that conversation takes a bit of the burden from the boss and sets the stage for a much-desired discussion.

33  “What can we do to make this just a little bit better?”

You don’t have to focus on doing more in order to be engaged. Interest in improved quality, improved processes, improved relationships–each of these helps bump up the game for all concerned.

34 “How am I doing based on our agreement for this?”

Managers get paid to manage performance and the ensuing results. Even so, many managers  find it difficult to have performance discussions. When you make the first move and then start the conversation, you’ve shown a high level of engagement as a result of your concern for outcomes and allowed your supervisor to be more relaxed about the performance discussion, knowing that you want it.

35 “Who else can we include?”

In a way, this is related to #31. Inclusion does two things, adds important resources and engages others in your project.

36 “What other information can I provide?”

Decisions, progress reports, changing direction–all require up-to- date information to be done effectively. In order to help others stay engaged, nothing beats timely information and updates to spark interest. In a knowledge economy, information is the currency of choice. Be the banker.

37 “How can I best support the others in the group?”

I’ve always found this to be one of the most engaging questions–and interventions—in the workplace. When there are a half dozen people gathered around a conference table and one asks, “How can I support each of you?”, watch what happens. That single, selfless gesture engages others in a way that prompts each to think more deeply about the project and the connectedness of the people involved.

38 “What else would be helpful to discuss?”

At the end of any interaction, this “11th hour” question–followed by silence on your part–creates a space that allows the other person to personally address something that may have been held back until now. (Or, there may be nothing). If there is– and the issue was held back for whatever reason–then you’ve opened the door to the exploration of a situation whose existence was a hindrance to engagement!

39 Start an ideas jar

Maybe someone is too withheld to initiate a great idea and innovate the business. Put an ideas jar in the office so team members can submit their anonymous ideas for management to mull over. Take action on good ones and throw the others away. This is just a nice way to get those unspoken ideas out into the open and allow them to grow should they be worthwhile.

40 Start a complaints jar

Now we’re gonna go overboard with the jars because they work. Anonymously submitting thoughts distances people and allows staff to speak truthfully. Engagement strategies should only be based on truth, otherwise you could spend unnecessary budget and time on something that no one really wanted in the first place.

41 Don’t be afraid to spend on new technologies

If your company is full of young millennials then new technology is a great way to get people engaged. Have a meeting briefing everyone that you will be rolling out company wide usage of a new app.

You can create a buzz with in the organisation that will push employees to already be looking into the capabilities of the tech.

There are now so many SaaS companies around the world that make employee’s lives easier. Make sure you are listening to what they want and act company wide when you implement.

Software like Hubspot, Salesforce, Slack and ZenDesk are all great companies with engaging presences online and offline. Involving one of these super SaaS services company wide adds to the prestige of your company, making people prouder and happier as they also help doing the day to day tasks too!

42 Put a games room in the office

There is a lot of hype about jazzing up the office with games rooms, running tracks, bean bags and breaking the traditional office stereotype. Google is doing it, Facebook is doing it, marketing companies have been doing it for years.

Plato said:“You can learn more about someone in an hour of play, than a year of conversation”

Playing games is proven to reduce stress and what better way to bond the team than to throw a ping pong competition or begin an ongoing Cluedo scoreboard.

43 Create a workspace people actually enjoy working in

Lets be honest now. The entire concept of “Workplace” has changed since the days of old – Jobs for life. People in a globalised world can’t be expected to remain in one place for too long. If they do than they will need something really worthwhile. It goes beyond just money, career progression and more responsibilities.

People want to come to a place they can be proud of, that they feel inspires them and that they can enjoy spending time in.

There is no real rule of thumb here but generally people want to work in a place that is unique. Getting an interior designer in and remodelling can create a lot of engagement. Especially if you ask staff what they want to do with the space.

Check out this awesome office space fit for a bond villain; from Swedish Internet Service Provider White Mountain.

44 Learn from those leaving the job

It happens, some people are going to move on. You can’t always stop them doing so and sometimes you don’t want to. If someone has decided they’re leaving they are coming to you to let you know, not to begin the bargaining process.

The best you can hope for is to try and understand as much as possible their reasons for leaving.

Don’t even try to convince them to stay if you feel they have made up their mind.

Say: “Of course, that is fine. There are no hard feelings at all. Consider this a time to help your friends here and help me to understand what we can do better in the future?”

Let that person know you care what they think and want to make things better for the people they are leaving behind. Respect for someones decision is difficult but is the trait of a truly great leader.

45 Cater to individual differences

Too often diversity in an organisation comes down to employing different demographics: Race, gender, age, ethnicity. Doing so is great but real diversity comes from difference in opinion, in mindset, in perspectives and habits. Organisations should work to improve real diversity and then cater to collaborations between groups.

Rob Goffee is the Emeritus Professor of organisational behaviour at London Business School. He has studied the actions of executives at the best companies in the world for the past 20 years. Frequently running questionnaires, interviews and focus sessions. One of his main findings was that allowing people to be themselves at work was a major factor in engagement.

Good leaders made conscious efforts to transcend the norms and barriers within the organisations they worked. This means to be as accommodating to every person as possible. Intuitively you would think this may work against organisational effectiveness; however more engaged employees were found to increase productivity of themselves and those around them by up to 51% [7].

46 Be radically honest

Rob Goffee also found that lacking in many organisations was the sense in employees, that leaders were being totally honest with them. In lieu of such an important aspect employees were less engaged and less motivated to assist where possible.

“Some managers see parceling out information on a need-to-know basis as important to maintaining efficiency. Others practice a seemingly benign type of paternalism, reluctant to worry staff with certain information or to identify a problem before having a solution. Some feel an obligation to put a positive spin on even the most negative situations out of a best-foot-forward sense of loyalty to the organisation.” Rob Goffee – Harvard Business Review [7]

The best organisations talk about problems and issues as soon as they arise. They take action quickly and allow everyone to weigh in on the possible solutions.

47 Practice “conscious capitalism”

There has been a whole heap of buzz about companies being conscious of what their money is doing. What it is funding and whether or not it is morally correct or not. Equally so with investors, employees want their business to have investors that represent their views.

Tony Scharwtz in his article for the HBR talks about how conscious capitalism can increase business performance 10 fold. He cites companies like Tata Steel the huge Indian conglomerate who from day one have maintained the same core value:

“We earn our profits from society and they should go back into society.”

To this day they are majority owned by philanthropic trusts.

Allowing employees to identify with the core principles of your business is inspirational. It allows employees to feel they are not in a dead-end job, they are not of no value to the wider community. Quite the contrary they are making changes and helping the world with their job. There can be no greater motivator than that philosophy.

I’ve talked before many time on the  ScoopPeople blog about Elon Musk and his complete commitment to a better world through business. His values of concern for the environment and innovative mind are right now changing the world. They are also changing the way big business is co-ordinated. You can read my blog on The merger of Tesla and Solar City here and my blog on Cultivating Professional Luck here.

48 Give employees equity options and stakes in the overall business success

Plenty of companies do this. It is one the most well known benefits and for good reason. Employees want to share in the successes of the company, naturally, a merger or acquisition shouldn’t just be beneficial for the executives. It should be beneficial to all those that were involved. That means the staff, the people that made it all possible.

It also gives the employees a reason to perform well. The more reasons you can give to an employee to do so the more engaged and active they will be in the success of the business.

On top of equity you can also give employees the responsibility to create their own revenue reports. Employees can present these once a month or once a week. It gives you as the manager more time and includes employees in understanding what brings the business more profit. Challenge employees to be aware and be the sole undertaker for improving the bottom line of the business. Give them as much freedom to do so as possible.

49 Provide sleeping and rest areas

Productivity is not all about going 100 mph all the time. It is also about taking a quick rest when it is needed. A NASA study [8] found that a 26 minute nap can actually improve productivity by up to 34%.

This perk is common in the tech world where long monotonous tasks like coding require huge time input and not much mental stimulation. Companies like Facebook, Google and Twitter have been allowing staff nap time to counter give them the work balance thats needed from working longer hours.

Consider creating a quiet room with comfy furniture and encouraging employees to nap throughout the day if they’re feeling tired.


Perks, Perks and more Perks

For our next ten tips we are going to look at the incredible perks of Silicon Valley. These guys have pioneered a revolution in business transformation, they are on the forefront of every new technology and still after 15 years continue to innovate and come up with fresh world-changing ideas.

They must be doing something right.

As any HR executive at Google or Facebook will tell you it is the people they employ, the top talent from all over the world that keep the businesses growing. These companies consistently are named the best companies in the world to work for.

So lets examine exactly what it is they do and how to apply it to your business.

Here is a handy infographic from Resumebear [9]:

50 Go past the risk based incentives make offices a place of work/life balance

Looking at the amenities in the offices there are a few commonalities: Gym, Yoga, Rock Climbing, Massages, Laundry services, running trails.

But the real takeaway here is not what they are doing but what these perks represent. They are a movement away from the standard work incentives like: life insurance, health insurance, pension plan, dental. It is moving towards a line of thinking different.

From:

“What can we do to help your life after work?”

to

“What can we do to improve life at work?”

That is what all these incentives represent. It is also what you should be focussing your engagement plan on. Risk based incentives are great but the vast majority of employees never feel the benefit. These sorts of incentives are part of office life and shows clearly the management cares about the staff.

51 Food

We mentioned food back in part 2. How healthy food should be provided in house. These companies take that idea and run with it. Most of them pay for all food for staff.

How awesome is that? Seriously can you really fail to appreciate that you get breakfast, lunch and dinner all for free?

They don’t stop there, they also provide free snacks. At Google they have frozen yogurt stations throughout the office, at Facebook they have snack stations. All free. Now this depending on your organisation could be far from feasible. However if you’re a small organisation then its well worth you shelling out for lunch at least.

Or to follow the example and keep a stocked kitchen that is free to use.

52 Play games

The amount of games this companies play looks insane. You begin to wonder how anyone gets any work done at all.

However games shouldn’t be looked upon as silly, they provide one major thing and that is culture. They create bonds in the teams and allow people to get to know each other better.

My favourites would be Football team, wine tastings and video games.

Are you bored? Running out of steam? Need a break? – no problem just go and play some call of duty on the Xbox and then carry on.

53 Flexibility – don’t dictate peoples lives, expect to fit work in around their life

This is one thing I have always believed. Work isn’t school. You shouldn’t be expected as an employee to have to be in the office everyday. As long as you can get your work done you should be allowed relative freedom to act the way you want, to work where you want and when you want.

Establishing a solid 9-5 work week is just condescending in a way, as it presumes you’re unable to manage yourself. Here at these companies you are allowed to work from home if desired, holiday time is flexible and unlimited sick days to make sure you’re only at your best when working.

54 Risk based, Traditional incentives

Here we see that modern companies haven’t foregone the very important post work benefits. In fact they’ve increased them. Their health insurance options cover the employee and subsidise dependants, they provide investment advice for staff so pension plans and savings plans can be directed to the right place.

Facebook sets up employees their own brokerage account so they can directly control their investments.

55 Cover extra expenses that cut into people’s salary

Here you see these companies make sure that other expenses like getting to work, having a baby or a pet are taken care of.

Of course they have paid maternity leave and free childcare onsite. Some also allow pets on site and all supply or subsidise travel to and from work.

The reasoning behind these benefits is simple companies like these need to attract the best technically skilled people in the world. Therefore you would expect the salaries to be wildly extravagant. However quite to the contrary they are good but not extravagant. They instead use company perks as a way of reducing the costs of hiring the best.

Pretty incredible right, all these benefits and it actually reduces their cost – WHILE AT THE SAME TIME – increasing the happiness, the culture and the engagement of their employees. Allowing staff to create a thoroughly enjoyable work/life balance and reducing the costs on someone’s salary to what they are paid is REAL salary. It doesn’t have to go on travel, on child support, on life insurance, health insurance, food or drink.

Having said this there is a large and significant cost to all these perks, they are not for everyone.

The next 5 tips then, are actionable – and completely free – ways of increasing engagement and job satisfaction. Courtesy of the big boys in engagement – RewardGateway [10]:

56 Buy an iPad – Macbook – Electronic device Scheme

Did you know as a business you are allowed to give no-interest loans to your staff? This can be a great way to allow your staff the chance to get a new gadget or buy something they’ve always wanted. It doesn’t have to be an iPad or electronic device it could be anything really.

You roll out the scheme get applications from staff, get a discount on the total amount of iPads you want and then buy the iPads for your employees and give it to them on loan. They then pay you back from their salary a set amount per month for a set amount of time. You get a happier employee and have shown you care.

57 Say Thank You Scheme

RewardGateway do a really nice version of this where employees can nominate anyone for a “Thank You award” and then that is submitted to a panel to decide the winners. Then the winners are either mentioned at the company conference and come up to collect a prize or they are surprised at work.

This really gets people thinking about why they appreciate others and actually boosts the performance of others as they also want to work harder to be recognised by their peers

58. Birthday Tweet/ Birthday day off

You could do cakes which would be great and cost a minimal amount. OR just as good put an announcement out on the company Twitter to congratulate the person. Alternatively just give them the day off RewardGateway found when they did this the person easily caught up on the amount of work they missed.

59 Start a monthly lottery

If your organisation is 500 people+ then it could be worth having people buy tickets with the winner taking the pot at the end of the month.

This is nice as it will allow people to have bit of fun at the end of the month and also to take home a little cash bonus if they win.

60 Bicycle buy back scheme

Many countries give people subsidies for riding bicycles for work. They also do the same for companies that roll out cycle to work schemes. This allows for the cost of bicycles for employees to written off in the company expenses.

Cycling to work allows for employees to stay fit and you can be sure all workers will be energised and productive in the morning. Just make sure you have showers at work and a place for people to change. Nothing worse than getting to work and stinking like you’ve cycled all day.

Could give the smelly people an excuse though!

61 Provide a concierge service to all employees, not just executives

Many large companies see the benefit of providing a concierge or personal assistant to their top executives. But how about to the rest of their staff?

As reported by The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) in their most recent HR based publication – Caruso Affiliated; an LA based real estate company provided a company wide concierge service. They calculated that it saved their employees over 540 hours of time.

It was used for all sorts of things like; booking holidays, arranging tickets to sporting events and collecting dry-cleaning. These are typically things that employees may be tempted to get done during the work day. Or at least worry about. This way they don’t have to worry or devote any attention to the everyday tasks people accumulate.

Meaning more focus on the job at hand!

62 Assist staff with paying back their student loans

SHRM mentioned this one in their article too. They found that currently about 4% of employers were offering assistance with this perk. [11]

Really when you think about it employers are one of the major reasons; why people go to university in the first place. Students now come out of it saddled with ridiculous debt, matched with high cost of living and low wage growth. Shouldn’t more employers be paying for that debt, the increased skills learnt may not be worth a higher salary, but that doesn’t mean they are worth nothing.

PriceWaterhouseCooper (PwC) offer this perk to their senior associates. They receive $1,200 a year which allows their employees to get out of debt quicker with reduced interest payments. It isn’t much but it helps the employee and addresses a real concern graduates have. Paying off their student loans!

63 Stop managing and start leading

Remember Simon Sinek from Tip 11?

Well he authored a short “little book of inspiration” An excerpt of which found its way to Linkedin and was shared by all the best leaders ever. It really cuts to the core of the whole leadership thing in such a simple way.

He says

“When we are junior, our only job is to be good at our job. When we’re junior, our companies will give us lots of training—how to use the software, how to sell, how to make a presentation—so that we will be good at our job. Some even get advanced degrees so they can be even better at their job— accountants or engineers, for example. And if we are good at our job, the company will promote us. And if we are really good at our job, eventually we get promoted to a position where we become responsible for the people who do the job we used to do. But very few companies teach us how to do that. Very few companies teach us how to lead. That’s like putting someone at a machine and demanding results without showing them how the machine works. That’s why we get managers and not leaders inside companies. Because the person who got promoted really does know how to do our job better than we do . . . that’s what got them promoted in the first place. Of course they are going to tell us how we “should” do things. They manage us because no one taught them how to lead us.”

Simon Sinek – Together Is Better: A Little Book of Inspiration

This for me cuts right down to the core of the most essential aspects of employee engagement – Leadership. The book is an outrageously inspiring collection of thoughts and tidbits of knowledge. If you’re reading this; you will enjoy Simon Sinek’s take on leadership and understanding what it takes to really manage people and inspire them.

64 Arrange motivational/educational seminars for your staff

Facebook holds these once a month; Mindvalley have built a large group of Malaysia’s best developers by holding an event like this once a week. The Mindvalley example is actually an impressive example of how outside-of-the-box thinking can generate unexpected benefits.

Mindvalley is an online education company specialising in self-improvement. They provide a platform for renowned teachers, coaches and gurus to provide their classes to the world. Their office placed in INC magazine top ten coolest offices in the world.

They started an event for the developers at Mindvalley where they hosted web development experts and leaders once a week. That event grew to such an extent they had a new seminar and workshop room built to hose the large amount of developers from around Malaysia that would turn up.

It not only engages employees but also gives Mindvalley access to Malaysia’s best developers, for their own recruitment purposes.

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