Small to medium-sized companies may be under the miscomprehension that they are at a disadvantage when it comes to creating a great working environment and boosting staff engagement. Admittedly, smaller teams and budgetary constraints may make flexible working, lavish perks, and bonuses a little difficult to provide; but employees’ motivations go far deeper than those things.
The reality is that this very advantage is down to their size!
Years of research continues to show that that high employee engagement has a direct correlation to the relationship an employee feels he/she has with his/her employer. Smaller companies provide significantly more opportunity for management to connect regularly with employees in person, some managers may even be working alongside their employees. Similarly, the senior leadership team within a small company is often on first name terms with its employees, fostering a feeling of value and recognition amongst employees; both of which are significant drivers of employee engagement.
Here we look at just a few ways in which you can continue to capitalise on your position and drive even higher levels of motivation and engagement amongst your staff:
Maintain an “open door” policy: Make sure staff know your door is open at all times. Ideally look at open plan office space or cubicles for managers amongst staff so that everyday interactions become the norm.
Be creative with the benefits you offer and select them with the employee in mind: An on-site gym may be out of budget but consider discounted gym membership for a local one. Work-life balance and wellness has never been more important and there is lots you can do to promote it.
Encourage open communication: Listen! Provide a number of open channels that employees can access to share their concerns, ideas, and opinions with the leadership team. Be sure to respond to each one.
Express gratitude: Consider sending a Christmas “thank you” letter and gift to your employees’ home. Take time to highlight just how that employee has contributed to the company’s success over the year.
Arrange “out of work” social opportunities: Employees spend such an enormous amount of their life at work, interactions with colleagues outside of the hustle and stress of the workplace are massively important for developing interpersonal relationships. It doesn’t have to be anything lavish or cost a fortune, some of the best teambuilding experiences have been with volunteering or charity projects.
Time with the MD or CEO: Arrange for new employees to have lunch with the CEO or MD as part of their induction. This starts the relationship well, creates a sense of being valued on the part of the employee, and gives the CEO the opportunity to set the stage for sustained open communication.
Establish a culture committee: Keeping employees aligned with your company’s mission and values is an integral part of an organisation’s success. Recruit new and existing employees to form a culture committee, responsible for organising celebrations for the company’s milestone accomplishments, and being responsible for bringing your company’s values to life.
Celebrate outstanding effort and accomplishments: Don’t forget to congratulate employees and teams when a job has been well done; recognition is one of the greatest drivers of employee engagement. Never underestimate the power of a simple handshake or publish acknowledgement.
Define employee purpose and articulate how that fits with the company’s overriding strategy and success: Engaged employees are those who understand how their work contributes to their company’s mission and success, they feel their role and work has a purpose. A sense of belonging and purpose is priceless and costs nothing to cultivate.