Everyone knows how important employee engagement is, but you may not realize how easy it is to increase engagement in your company — for free! If you’re looking for more engaged employees, here are three ways to get started.
1. Say thanks
Sounds easy, right? But Employee Benefits Magazine reported that 20% of employees never receive a thank you from their employers. What’s more, that same survey shows that 71% of employees would actually forgo a higher salary to work for an employer who regularly said thank you!
That thank you can simply be a verbal thank you from a manager, a thank you email, or, even better, a handwritten thank you note. There’s no need to actually spend money on the thank you. Just letting employees know that their hard work is seen and appreciated is often enough.
2. Encourage competition
Friendly competition is good for everyone. Many companies have found success with competitions between employees. Some competitions focus on work-related goals. Others may be fundraiser for local charities. The reward could be as small as a little trophy or an ideal parking spot. Either way, the important thing is there is some sort of prize for the winner.
To keep things friendly, keep the stakes fairly low and ideally offer competitions on a regular basis. For example, set monthly work-related goals. The winner earns the coveted parking spot for one month — but only for that month. Setting limits will allow others the chance to win. One person sweeping the contest month after month isn’t going to encourage friendly competition!
3. Foster camaraderie
Co-worker friendships increase employee satisfaction by 50%, according to a Gallup poll. And satisfied employees are more likely to be engaged. It’s totally free to urge your employees to befriend each other by allowing employees the chance to chat during the workday. Obviously you won’t want employees spending hours on non-work related talk, but if employees occasionally spend time in each other’s offices bonding, let them.
It’s also helpful to introduce employees to people outside their department. Fast Company wrote about a study that found that employees who were put in contact with people who actually benefited from their work showed a 20% improvement in revenue per shift. Those employees were able to see that their work did make a difference, and that helped them engage with the company on a deeper level, resulting in higher profits for the company. So it was a win-win all around.
There are many more cost-effective techniques to boost employee engagement, but these three are a great place to start. Once your company sees the success of these free methods, they might be ready to invest in additional employee engagement initiatives.