The workforce continues to evolve, with Millennials and even Gen-Z making up more and more of the available employees around the world. Employee engagement strategies that worked years ago are no longer quite as effective: changing marketplace and generational dynamics call for new tactics. It's important for employers to keep up with the changing trends of the workforce or risk falling behind and appearing less and less appealing to work for. Here are some ways to keep employees engaged without having to devote a lot of time and effort.
Reconsider the Dress Code
It's important for employees to appear professional, but more and more, workers don't see the point in getting dressed up to go to work. Especially in customer-facing jobs, it's important to reach a compromise. You don't have to make every day casual Friday, but consider letting employees wear jeans, so long as they still appear professional. Being comfortable with brighter colors, fun patterns and even novelty socks is a way to let employees feel as if they have control over their work appearance while still guaranteeing that they dress to a professional standard. Without much work, you'll have a workforce that's excited to come to work and show off their style and individuality.
Spruce up the Break Room
Employees need time off from what they're doing, and it's important to provide your workers with breaks to minimize frustration, rebellion and even burnout. Many break rooms don't stimulate employees much, though. It's time to do more than just give them a couch and a coffee machine.
Consider adding snacks like pretzels, candy, chips and more to provide a little midday pick-me-up for your staff. Having in-house workout equipment will minimize the time employees have to spend heading to a gym on their lunch breaks and make them more efficient. You can even put up a television playing Netflix or another streaming service, so long as you limit the time that employees spend watching.
Look at Your Employee Assistance Program
One of the best ways to keep your employees engaged is to offer a comprehensive employee assistance program , or EAP. Employees can be stressed, fatigued and frustrated by stimulus inside and outside of the workplace. Without a proper place to vent that stress, morale can suffer and employees can even consider leaving. A good EAP provides your employees with counseling services that give them the time and space to speak their minds and talk about their frustrations. Giving your employees the space to process their difficulties will make them more productive and happier with their workplace environment.
More than anything, employees need to know when they're doing well. Giving praise takes little time and can have huge payoffs in the form of increased productivity and morale. Always make sure to mention publicly when employees go above and beyond. This kind of acknowledgement reinforces that behavior and will lead to increased good behavior from that employee and others.
If you want to go further, offer small rewards for successes. Giving out small cash bonuses or useful, thoughtful gifts for well-done projects and tasks can reinforce the value of good work to your employees and remind them that they should always be doing their best. With just a little investment, you can see massive improvements in productivity, quality and attitude all across your workplace.
Employers and managers need to learn how to respond to changing workforce demands and keep a new, evolving set of employees happy. Nowadays, positive reinforcement and a low-stress, welcoming environment will remind employees that their workplace is more than just a place they have to go to get paid. Employees that enjoy their work will work harder, faster and better. Improving morale and efficiency doesn't have to be expensive and time consuming. With just a few little changes and improvements, you can make your employees happier and boost your output at the same time, having a significant impact on your company culture and your bottom line.