How to keep employees engaged and happy

51% of the United States workforce is not engaged. These indifferent employees don’t care about their jobs one way or another. One bad day can push these people to quit, leaving their employers scrambling for help in these vulnerable economic times. If they stay on the job, they’re likely to perform only the minimum that’s required of them. This mindset can hold a company back from achieving its potential — and it can also cost a company money.

According to one survey, disengaged employees can cost companies in the United States upwards of $550 billion a year. On the other end of the spectrum, companies with a high number of engaged employees show 21% greater profitability. A few more statistics lend credence to the power of engaged staff members. Companies with engaged employees experience:

● A 41% reduction in absences.

● A 17% increase in productivity.

● 24% less turnover.

The burden to keep employees engaged and happy rests on employers. While the maxim it’s called work for a reason might be true, the reality of the situation doesn’t have to be as harsh. Employers can implement strategies that can help keep employees engaged enough to remain content and productive. There are no tried and true methods that can result in ideal situations. Following through with a variety of methods can allow employers to regain their employees’ trust and loyalty.

Find out what employees want

One of the easiest ways to improve employee engagement is to find out what the staff needs to feel motivated. Finding out what they want is easy: just ask them.

A survey can be an effective way to assess the areas a company needs to work on. Statements that can be rated on a scale of 1 to 5 can provide business owners and managers a good starting point to form an engagement strategy. A sample statement can be “I feel recognized for my work.” Employees can rate the statement a 1 if they strongly disagree with it or a 5 if they strongly agree. This survey can be any length, but the longer it is, the more effective it can be in providing insight into the state of mind of your staff members.

How to engage employees After forming conclusions based on the employee surveys, it’s time to pinpoint the areas that require the most attention. Different people have different needs. One method might raise one person’s morale, but do nothing for anyone else. Applying other methods at one time can be a well-rounded strategy to help improve employee engagement. Some popular methods include:

Getting everyone on the same page

Companies should set clear goals and communicate this information to their employees. Companies should also clearly define how an employee’s job furthers the goals. An employee who feels they’re positively contributing toward a common purpose might feel motivated to do their best for both themselves and their employer.

Recognizing excellent work

Most people want to be recognized for what they do. Publicly recognizing staff efforts can be a powerful and inexpensive motivational tool. A small award or simple thank-you in front of staff are two examples that don’t require much effort.

Listening to staff

Employees want to be heard, especially those who have grievances. Let them be heard. Give people a private or public forum to voice their questions, comments, and concerns. Not every employee will complain. Some might have ideas on how to improve the company. Listen to them. They might be the ones to take the company to higher levels of success.

Offering flexible and fair schedules

A longstanding workplace tradition has been the 8-to-5 (or 9-to-5) work schedule. However, the world is changing, and so are the needs of everyone living in it. People might have legitimate reasons to work an altered schedule or from home. Child care and personal health situations can butt heads with a traditional work schedule, creating animosity between employees and employers. Offering flexible schedules that benefit both parties can go a long way in increasing morale.

Promoting personal and professional growth

Offering employees training opportunities can increase their skill-set and benefit their companies. Education can also encourage personal growth. Workshops targeting topics like anger management and conflict resolution can open up an employee’s potential. Companies can latch onto this potential and use these newfound skills for workplace improvement.

Giving the right job to the right person

Considering employees’ interests when assigning tasks can increase happiness. Employees can be happy doing what they like while knowing their employer understands them well enough to consider them for specific jobs.

Surveying engagement progress

Occasionally soliciting feedback regarding engagement strategies can eliminate what doesn’t work so that new methods can be adopted. Engaging employees takes work and commitment, and results don’t happen overnight.

Companies that actively seek to keep their staff motivated can improve their brand’s reputation and fortunes.

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