5 ways to keep your employees engaged in the modern office
Keeping employees happy, motivated and connected with their work is a constant challenge for all businesses. Today’s office environments are very different from how they were two years ago, let alone ten, as a result of the pandemic. They are now centred around technology, but the dynamic is totally different and constantly shifting due to more people working partly remote. This environment can lead to digital exhaustion, teams becoming siloed, and employee detachment, which are detrimental to employees’ motivation and engagement levels.
What is employee engagement?
Employee engagement is a concept that relates to how employees feel about their work and their company. When an employee feels engaged, they’re more likely to be motivated, productive, loyal and go the extra mile for their employer. When they feel the opposite – disengaged – employees don’t feel connected to their company and are less inclined to participate in social events, work collaboratively with their colleagues and contribute positively to the business.
To build a highly engaged workforce, businesses need to remain employee-orientated in their operational approach and focus on creating a culture and working environment that motivates, rewards and supports its team both in the office and virtually. Here are some tips on how to do that.
Create a positive work environment
A work environment that makes employees feel positive, comfortable and motivated to be the best versions of themselves is conducive to an engaged workforce. If your business makes no effort to create a positive work environment, employees will start to have feelings of detachment whereby they feel isolated from their colleagues, devalued and demotivated. It’s clear that office-based businesses are having to re-think the look and feel of their work environment following the pandemic. In fact, according to the Microsoft 2021 Work Trend Index, 66% of business decision makers are considering redesigning physical spaces to better accommodate hybrid work environments.
A positive work environment fosters connection, collaboration and creativity. When your employees are working in the office, they should feel encouraged to socialise with their colleagues, collaborate in a positive way and feel part of a community of people working towards a common goal. This can be achieved by creating social areas for employees to connect, having creative meeting rooms that inspire collaboration and making the space overall feel welcoming. By doing this, your employees will feel motivated when they come into the office, be more productive day-to-day and feel higher levels of engagement.
Appreciate your team
When employees feel valued by their employer, they are far more likely to go the extra mile and feel engaged at work. A powerful way for your business to demonstrate its appreciation of its team is to deliver compelling benefits. Employee benefits play a huge role in building and maintaining a highly engaged workforce, as well as attracting top talent in the competitive job market.
To effectively reward your employees, it’s all about delivering benefits that add real value to their lives. Shopping discount schemes are popular because employees can save money on their everyday spending, make their money go further and improve their financial wellbeing. On top of that, there are other benefits catered to the health and wellbeing of employees, such as Health Cash Plans, Employee Assistance Programmes, GP Helplines and Mental Health Support Apps that make a positive difference to employees and show them that they’re valued.
Help employees develop their skills
To help employees feel fulfilled at work, businesses need to invest in their personal development. Giving your team clear career progression opportunities and the ability to refine their skills are fundamental ways to maintain high engagement levels. This is because your employees will be able to reach their professional goals with the support of your business and will therefore be more likely to feel motivated and committed in their jobs.
Regular training days in the office are a great way to not only change up the day-to-day dynamic but give employees the valuable opportunity to learn new skills. Whether it’s company-wide or team-based, these in-person learning events will inspire your employees to sharpen their knowledge and refine their abilities in their field. Supporting that with online learning and development tools that your employees can complete in their own time, will help you build a more focused, enthusiastic and engaged workforce.
Encourage healthy work practices
Employee wellbeing and employee engagement mutually reinforce each other so it’s vital that your team feel happy and healthy both inside and outside of work in order to positively contribute to your business’ goals. A key part of achieving this is encouraging healthy work practices to ensure your team maintains a good work/life balance and feels fulfilled in all areas of their lives.
Offices are notorious for their fast-paced nature, which means it can be very easy for employees to feel pressured into working long hours and letting work infiltrate their home lives. This can create a strain on relationships and long-term lead to unhealthy levels of stress and even burnout. By prioritising employee wellbeing and encouraging your team to keep their work/life balance in check, your business will build a healthier, happier and more engaged workforce.
Reinforce employees’ purpose and goals
Having clear goals to work towards is essential to your team’s engagement. Goals provide a sense of purpose and direction which fuels individuals’ motivation and gives them the drive to be committed to their jobs. Performance or behaviour-based reward programmes are therefore a powerful way to drive engagement, especially in the modern office where it can be easy to lose sight of the bigger picture due to digital exhaustion and busy schedules.
The type of reward programme you introduce will depend on your business’ goals. If you want to increase employee retention levels, a Long Service Award programme will give your business the opportunity to reward employees’ loyalty to your business and give them an incentive to stay committed. Alternatively, if you want to drive sales for example, a performance-based incentive programme will give employees the extra motivation to hit their sales targets.
Reinforcing these clear goals through rewards will give your team more drive and therefore a greater sense of fulfilment and engagement when they reach them. You can have them visually displayed in your office to remind employees and even perhaps a leaderboard to encourage healthy competition.
The modern office creates new challenges for keeping employees engaged. The fast-paced world of work, coupled with the many streams of digital communication and the added dynamic of hybrid working, means that employees can feel detached, de-motivated and devalued. With planning, creativity and keeping your people front of mind, you can create an office that is productive, enjoyable and conducive to an engaged workforce.
Find out more about how we drive employee engagement for business across the UK here.