Your employees are the oil that makes your company run. If they’re happy, the company will work better—and, hopefully, thrive. A Gallup study of 192 organizations found that workplaces with the highest levels of employee engagement were 22% more profitable than those with the lowest levels of engagement. Still not convinced? Cvent, an online software provider, found that customer retention rates are 18% higher on average when employees are highly engaged—and Business 2 Community reports that companies with engaged employees outperform those without engaged employees by 202%.
All that to say, employee morale is an important part of a healthy business and, as a business owner, you may find it beneficial to invest in it.
So, how do companies go about achieving high morale? Bagel Fridays and birthday cakes are nice, but only get you so far. Organically boosting morale can be accomplished by actively and consistently engaging your workforce. Here are four key tips for boosting and maintaining employee engagement.
1. Promote Positivity
Good employee morale is crucial, but can be hard to maintain. An unexpected setback for the company or a single toxic employee can lower the morale of many of your workers. Because the general sentiment is so contagious, it’s critical that you promote the right ideals and attitudes. You can do this by fostering a culture that rewards ingenuity, positive thinking, and empowerment.
2. Provide Tools for Collaboration and Communication
When employees are disconnected from the rest of the organization, it’s difficult for them to be engaged with their work. Opening communication helps them feel like they are part of something greater.
A good way to accomplish this is through technology. If your company isn’t already integrated into modern technology, implementing a “digital workplace” can prime your business for collaboration. This strategy refers to providing the technology and tools necessary for your employees to collaborate efficiently and in real time, regardless of geographic location. It’s like a social media site for your office, bridging gaps between team members.
Community platforms allow open and easy communication between team members. They work like chat rooms and are easier to message back and forth from than an email. Slack, Basecamp, and Google Hangouts are great places to start. If you’re looking to simplify your workflow, applications like Trello and Wrike may be smart investments. Additionally, other online applications such as Google Docs allow for a more collaborative process.
By creating a digital environment that promotes real-time collaboration, your workforce will be better positioned to remain engaged with one another, as well as their projects.
3. Audit Your Organizational Hierarchy
Organizational hierarchy plays a large role in employee engagement. Is leadership present? Do they make themselves accessible? Do they communicate their vision and provide feedback on the execution? Are ideas only communicated from the top-down?
Executive leadership teams that clearly communicate their vision and roadmap see significantly better results from their workforce. After all, when employees know what is expected of them and what their work contributes to, it’s easier for them to understand the importance of the task at hand.
And when those same leaders take the time to listen to their employees’ pain points and act on them, it shows that they truly care about their best interest. While “flattening” your organizational hierarchy may seem like a scary idea, it can lead to vast improvements in team morale as well as operational efficiency.
4. Focus on Employee Empowerment
Employees want to learn, grow, and get better at their jobs. As an employee begins to excel, provide them with more freedom and responsibility. By rewarding employees with trust and development opportunities, you’ll create an environment that is positive and encourages new learning and new ideas.
Employee empowerment can be accomplished by introducing things like a suggestion box, which shows that the company cares about employees’ ideas, or sending our anonymous surveys, which gives employees a judgment-free opportunity to share how they truly feel.
You can also offer entrance and exit interviews through your HR department. This helps employees feel like they are legitimately heard through human contact and can help the company with employee turnover and overall satisfaction.
Your company is a team—when everyone is on the same page, you’re able to excel, evolve, and grow as a brand. Investing in the well-being of those who work for you is just that—an investment. The payoff will be a group of people who are willing to do what they can to help your company succeed.