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Doing better business in 2020: motivating & engaging employees | Benni

You don’t need insightful surveys to know that boosting employee engagement and motivation can deliver real benefits to business performance.

When we’re raring to go, we bring our best to the job in hand.

But that can sometimes be a big ask following the post-Christmas comedown.

To help your employees keep a spring in their step in 2020, here are four handy hints to get you started.

Motivating and engaging employees - a checklist

1) Share your goals

January is traditionally the time we look at ourselves and think about what we can do better, whether that’s personally or professionally.

Organisations are no different, often having one or more business goals in mind, such as increased revenue or headcount, expanding offices into new areas, or targeting new sectors and customers.

Whether you have a formal business strategy in place, or a few key opportunities you’ve identified for the year ahead, share them with your employees.

Working towards a common goal can strengthen the bond between employer and employee, and act as a strong motivator.

Articulate your strategy and vision, and shine a light on the role your employees can play.

Never forget they will determine the success of the strategy and your business. Understanding the value and influence they have on the overall outcome is key – for both of you.

2) Communicate and consult

Keep your employees in the loop.

No one responds well to a management diktat, so where possible, ask your employees for feedback and/or their opinion.

And when people feel that their opinions are valued, they’re more likely to feel part of things and fulfilled at work.

How you gather those nuggets of information is up to you. It could be as simple as gathering opinions as part of regular departmental meetings, during a larger, quarterly company meeting, or through setting up a suggestion box.

While it may sound retro, the latter has the benefit of allowing employees to make a suggestion without waiting for the next meeting, and it offers anonymity.

Remember, not everyone is comfortable speaking out in front of others and it’s important to give everyone a voice.

Or if you prefer something a bit more digital, you could conduct an online survey.

Again, this provides anonymity and also offers home or remote workers the chance to contribute.

Some businesses conduct a regular ‘finger on the pulse’ survey covering a wide range of subjects.

Others may just want to get a view on what people think about a business decision, a potential campaign direction or employee benefits.

Whatever you’re looking to find out and whichever method you choose, ensure you listen and be prepared to act on the results. 

And don’t forget your 2020 strategy.

Regular internal communication on the state of play will help keep employees engaged with it.

Equally, if the strategy has met with problems, don’t try and hide them.

Businesses can keep very few secrets and your people are likely to know if some things are going less well. Be upfront, transparent – and even encourage ideas.

Many great insights originate from the proverbial ‘shop floor’.

3) Recognise and reward 

We all feel better when our good work is recognised.

The flip side is that we’ve also probably all had that demoralising feeling of seeing something we’re proud of disappear into the ether without a shred of recognition – especially if we’ve overcome barriers and setbacks to get it past the post.

And if that pattern is repeated, that thought of ‘I don’t know why I even bothered’ can soon become a mantra, guiding behaviour.

For starters, never underestimate the power of a simple thank you.

But even small incentives and rewards. such as gift vouchers can be a powerful motivator.

This can be especially so if you have a platform in place that allows other employees to recognise and reward their colleagues for great work or going that extra mile.

And if your budget can run to it, a once-a-year get together for those employees who made outstanding contributions over the last year can be a reward everyone can aspire to.

Allowing your people to vote for those they think deserve it also helps promote team spirit, respect and the feel of belonging.

4) Provide the right employee benefits

Sometimes, salary isn’t the sole consideration for people.

Workers who feel that their employer is enabling them to look after their health and wellbeing, or helping to protect them financially against some of the nastier things in life, can be more engaged.

Employee benefits can play a big part in this caring ethos – as long as they’re the benefits that people want and value.

Businesses can sometimes assume they know best, but a mix of potential benefits will play well with a diverse workforce.

Older employees may prefer benefits that protect themselves and their families against the financial impact of critical illnesses or even death.

Younger workers may opt for the here and now, like dental cover or a health cash plan that pays towards physiotherapy following an injury.

By offering a range of benefits that support employees no matter what their age or lifestyle, you can reinforce the message that they work for a caring company that takes responsibility for their long-term wellbeing and happiness.

Read the other articles from our Doing better business in 2020 series:

The benefits of communication and Building a healthier workforce