Editors Note: This is a guest post Maxwell Donovan. His opinions are his own.
How can companies boost employee engagement these days? First of all, let’s not forget that we live in an advanced tech world. Both business owners and employees want to connect and stay connected. The conventional business model where workers used to be trapped on a chair at a desk are long gone. People don’t want to work in closed environments anymore; they don’t want to sit in front of a computer for 8 hours a day, and not have a conversation with anyone.
Secondly, business owners must use technology to their advantage. Forcing workers to do their jobs alone is no longer the key to a productive bottom line; and it never was. Employees want to feel part of a team; they want managers and CEOs to listen to their ideas; they want to feel like they belong in a company in order to stay.
Once upon a time companies adhered to the following business mantra: employees had to follow a set of rules at the office, and those rules were implemented by a company manager. Everyone hates the manager! Well, not anymore. Right now, tech savvy companies are completely changing the way people work.
Here are 6 ways you can improve employee engagement and build an irresistible organization.
1. Promote a seamless work experience
CEOs are trying to create seamless working experiences, and that can only be achieved if employees are cared for. Rather than be that bossy entrepreneur that nobody can stand, why don’t you try to listen to the needs and wants of your people?
Employees work best when their work environment is relaxed and comfortable. Yes, a comfortable desk and chair, and a fast computer are still important. But that’s not the only thing employees want. What they want is for their manager or boss to listen to their ideas. Make people feel valued by allowing them to speak. Encourage group brainstorming sessions, and make the office open-space.
2. Take down the 4-wall cubicle
Encourage your employees to speak with each other during business hours. Allow them to work together and develop ideas in a group. In business, more brains think a lot better than one. As an entrepreneur who knows how powerful technology can be, you should already be aware of that fact. Another great tip is to make people feel like part of the team. Don’t separate them, and don’t choose one over another. Welcome the ideas of all your people, and invite them to participate and pitch their ideas.
Make sure to offer feedback. Today’s modern employee wants to know exactly if there’s wrong with their ideas. They are more than capable of accepting feedback; in fact, they want to get feedback because it helps them perfect their skills, and perform better at the workplace.
3. Create a no-fear environment
Assure employees that your office door is open to them or that they are free to call or email you if they have questions or concerns. When employees share suggestions, listen to what they have to say. And if their ideas will lead to gains in productivity or sales, or will make the work environment more conducive, do try them out. Also, encourage them to approach you early on if they ever feel like they won’t be able to deliver as expected on a certain project. This way, there will still be ample time to figure out a solution.
4. Redefine the work space
Redefining the workspace is an excellent way to boost engagement. Many tech companies have open terraces where workers can relax and socialize. Google, for example, has the coolest working environment. They have a relaxation room where employees can rest, play games, and mingle. This makes them feel relaxed, and it helps them do better.
An outdoor event or team building session is highly recommended as well. Corporate events venues, such as the beach, an outside bistro, a park or garden are an opportunity for CEOs to get to know their employees better. Socializing with your team boosts motivation, and it gives people a reason to stay with your company.
5. Competitions and rewards
Another great way of boosting engagement is to use rewards. Some companies however can’t afford to increase wages or offer financial bonuses. Fortunately, money is not the only incentive that keeps people hooked. Sometimes a relaxed, comfortable and constructive work environment can do a lot more. For instance, you can set up weekly events – casual Fridays, Mojito Mondays, etc. Spice things up and break the daily routine! This should be enough to persuade employees to stay with your company for extended periods of time.
As far as rewards are concerned, you can allow your team to leave early on Fridays. Or, you can tell them that they can leave if they finish everything they have on schedule faster. Be persistent and always look for ways to engage. Believe it or not, a work environment that promises a salary increase by 30% if you work like a robot for 10 hours a day, may not be good enough to retain the people. As an alternative, you might want to consider making employees feel that they’re not even working. That doesn’t mean allowing them to chat on Facebook all day long!
6. Let your employees speak their minds
Many people hate their jobs because they’re not allowed to speak their minds. They have issues and problems that must be fixed, but there’s no point in that if they have nobody to speak to. Savvy entrepreneurs know that the best way to engage a worker is to allow them freedom of speech. Who knows, maybe they have a cool idea that can boost your company bottom line? But if you don’t let them express themselves, you might never know what’s going on in their heads.
Employees hate bossy CEOs and managers that scream and shout all day long. Very few accept this form of treatment. Why should you risk losing great people, when you can motivate them by supporting them? Be there for them; share ideas with them and make them feel part of your company. The more important they feel the better chances you have to use their expertise to your advantage. Hardworking employees are hard to find these days, and if you can’t see potential in them other companies will steal them away from you. Can you afford that?
Do you want to know more about building the coolest and most productive company? Well, the secret is not really the secret. The backbone of any company is the people. They matter the most, and they need to be cared for – otherwise they’ll leave, and you have to spend new money on training others. Listen to your people and cater to their needs if you want your company to be a true employer of choice.