The economy can understandably make companies focus more on cash flow than people. We believe that the two concepts should not be distinct. Mishandling employee engagement in times of financial restraint can actually cost a company more money through attrition, lost productivity and presenteeism. Instead organizations need to be creative on how they focus on employee engagement when discretionary spending is not available.
Here are our top 10 ways to engage your staff without a cash investment.
- Be transparent with employees. Talk about your financial restrictions. Be sure to highlight why these steps have been taken and what the company to limit the impact of a bear economy. Ask for ideas on how to cut costs. Employees will appreciate your honesty as they will have heard rumblings of financial concerns and it is human nature to assume things are even worse when no one informs you of the details. Plus you’ll be amazed by the ideas employees have to share when asked!
- Honour existing promises related to compensation and reimbursement. If changes to these programs need to be made do them on a future forward basis. Make sure your word remains trusted.
- Create a formal mentoring program to replace some or all of your professional development budget. Match mentors and protégés based on learning interest not level of employment. We can all learn from one another!
- Encourage employees to subscribe to free online libraries and blogs. Also encourage employees who have access to an information resource through a previously paid professional membership to utilize those and share with their peers.
- Start a leadership book club. Source biographies and leadership texts and audiobooks from your local library. Ask readers to identify the one thing your organization should embrace from the reading. Share these ideas with the Executive.
- Reward employees with a one on one coffee with the CEO, a Board Member or Executive with whom they do not normally interact. Getting to know that there is a human in the C Suite and sharing an informal dialogue will be motivating for both parties.
- Hold a fundraising event. It’s simple but true; helping others makes us feel good! Fundraising together as a work team builds cohesion, increases morale and reminds people to have fun. Events should be goofy and the charity selected should have a strong local presence for an even more positive impact on employee engagement.
- Say thank you. Most people aren’t told often enough how much they are appreciated. Make a point of doing this yourself and encourage others to do the same. Challenge yourself to recognize 3 people every day by thanking them for a job well done.
- Look for ways to make the organization more flexible relating to hours of work. We humans are simple creatures, if you ask us to work 9 to 5, most of us do just that. However if you task us with deliverables and deadlines we focus on work and not the clock. If you are able to allow employees the ability to flex their hours to work late some days and work less other days your organization will see an increase in productivity.
- Have leaders spend time every week walking around and talking to staff. Ask employees how they are feeling, what concerns they have, what support they need for their jobs, etc. It should be a relaxed dialogue with the leader focussed on listening to the employee not on delivering a predetermined message. Make sure leaders follow up on any questions or actions they committed to address. The best way to show employees you care is by taking an interest in their wellbeing and concerns.