Keeping employees engaged with their jobs is no easy task. A steady paycheck and the occasional raise are expected and don’t qualify as much of an incentive. You need to find other ways to keep them focused and inspired. Dull routine and dissatisfaction leads to high employee turnover. You find yourself constantly recruiting and training new hires that lowers productivity and raises expenses. However, there are some simple, fun ways to keep employees loyal and motivated.
1. Allow Casual Dress
Many companies allow a casual Friday as the one day a week people can dress comfortably around the office and feel more at ease. But you could go a step further by extending it to two or three days or even a week for your best-performing team or individual each month. You don’t want to over-do it if you have clients or visitors and want to present a professional atmosphere. But having casual dress days helps motivate employees to work harder while having a little fun.
2. Make the Boss Work
One creative way to motivate employees is to reward top performers by spending a day as their “apprentice”. They get the fun and satisfaction of ordering you around for a while, while you get to connect with employees in the context of their duties. You get to experience what they do and the challenges, tools, and workflow they face on a daily basis. It will build better personal connections throughout the company. This can also motivate you to do better as their leader.
3. Institute Telecommuting
If there are trustworthy employees who can do their jobs from their home computer, consider providing telecommuting options on a permanent or rotating schedule, or as an occasional incentive for a job well done. These workers will love the chance to skip the commute and work at home, while you create positive feelings, reduce your utility bills, and perhaps keep down office noise.
4. Provide Transparency
Keep the employees informed about what’s going on at the top. This could be a weekly newsletter, a face-to-face speech, or filtered down through your managers, but keep staff in the loop. Personal milestones, company challenges, company triumphs, and thanks or congratulations where due are important to motivate workers. Employees will appreciate the honesty and the fact that you take the trouble to share. More informed employees will feel more engaged with you and the company.
Another way to help provide transparency is through having gamification in the workplace. Basically, this allows your employees to see how well they are doing by having access to their feedback.
5. Feed Them
Your employees will appreciate a nice treat now and then. Provide bagels one day a week, or pizzas or subs for lunch. You could bring in caterers now and then for unexpected surprises like a breakfast or ice cream bar as a company-wide reward for success. Pick a weekday to supply popcorn or healthy alternatives like fruit. Be sure there’s a cake for everyone’s birthday. Serving up food will help staff build camaraderie with each other and positive associations with your company.
6. Listen and Learn
Both you and your managers should encourage an open-door policy so that employees can communicate their personal problems and job concerns with superiors. They want to be valued and recognized as human beings and sympathizing and helping with their problems helps to convey this. As the boss, you should also make an effort to learn everyone’s name and engage them in conversation now and then. You might consider having a monthly “dinner with the boss”, and inviting people from various departments to establish connections and exchange feedback.
Remember that motivating employees doesn’t always come down to monetary or other rewards. Employees that feel unappreciated, overworked, or unfairly treated will be unhappy, and that will lead to personal conflicts and poor performance. Staff that feel engaged and valued will do more.