We look at ways you can encourage an all-singing-and-dancing employee experience to bring out the best in your people.
It’s time to deliver the most positive of workplace cultures…
Our jobs are becoming a wider part of our lives, meaning demand for positive employee experiences is high. If you’re not on it now, you could lose out in the future.
Businesses that fail to offer what talented staff members are looking for will fail to attract talent and keep the people they’ve already invested in. And that’s going to hit you where it hurts – in the purse strings.
Jonathan Bedford, Head of Sales and Client Services, Sodexo, says, “Organisations invest a lot of time and effort into training their people. But if just one team member jumps ship, you’ve got to do it all over again. Constantly having to get people up to speed is frustrating and damaging for the bottom line of the business.”
With millennials seeking to move jobs as often as a cabinet reshuffle gets announced, job hopping is a growing concern for employers.
As Sodexo’s ‘Move, Mould, Motivate: an essential guide to employee engagement’ reveals, younger workers aren’t motivated by the same factors as previous generations, such as a job for life, but instead value a good work-life balance and a sense of purpose beyond financial success.
NO LONGER A JOB FOR LIFE
How long people stay in a job role really isn’t a big deal these days. It certainly doesn’t reflect on their value as an employee. But wouldn’t it be good if you could keep bums on seats long enough to get real value from their work?
Clever employers know they need to work harder than ever to keep their people happy. Get it right and people will stick around, growing with you and bringing huge benefits to the business as a whole. Get it wrong and well, you may as well get your coat.
It’s no surprise that a productive, positive employee experience has emerged as the new ‘contract’ between employer and employee according to Deloitte.
So, what can you do to ensure your positive workplace culture is up to date with current employee engagement trends? Simply put, how can you make your staff love working for you?
1. PUT CELEBRATIONS CENTRE STAGE
Don’t worry, we’re not asking you to send in the clowns. But if you’re looking for ways to inject a sense of appreciation into the workplace, it’s worth celebrating wins, no matter how big or small they might be.
You could start by bigging up your employee’s birthdays or work anniversaries for example. Long service awards are great for recognising long standing members of staff and it can be the incentive they need to stay committed to the company for longer.
The personal touch can really resonate and bring people together. It shows you care more about performance incentives and are actually invested in the people around you.
That isn’t to say that great performance shouldn’t go unnoticed – oh no, far from it. You can throw regular staff awards do’s or company days out, showing recognition and thanks to those who have gone the extra mile at work.
A good engagement solutions company will be able to recommend some original and inspiring ways to throw a spotlight on the personalities that really make your business successful.
Take time to celebrate everything from birthdays to weddings, retirements and amazing sales performances and it will pay off.
2. LET EVERYONE KNOW WHERE THEY STAND
Nobody’s going to feel positive about work if they don’t get some sort of feedback or acknowledgement from time to time. A rudderless boat will soon come a cropper – and it’s also a major cause of workplace stress.
Poor communication can be responsible for turning employees off from their day-to-day tasks. It certainly won’t help them to feel engaged with the mission and values of your organisation – that’s if they even know what they are.
As Sodexo’s ‘Move, Mould, Motivate’ research shows, keeping a constant, open line of communication really matters.
James Malia, Sodexo, says “Communication needs to be personal. Humans are social beings and we put real onus on face-to-face interactions. Managers should be prepared to organise regular one-to-one meetings with employees, as well as team meetings where transparency is the priority.”
Give employees the chance to feedback and to really create positive workplace impact, and show you’re listening to them. We mean, really listening.
As this article in Forbes explains, “Leaders who listen are able to create trustworthy relationships that are transparent and breed loyalty.”
Consider asking for employee feedback around these three areas:
- What are the biggest issues for your employees?
- What’s stopping them from doing their job more effectively?
- Where is the company falling short?
If you prioritise open and healthy dialogue, according to Jacquie Mills, Head of Client Operations, Employee Benefits, Sodexo, you can “keep people healthy and motivate them to come into the workplace with vigour.”
Staff recognition platforms can help you to achieve results here, monitoring and recognising successes, promoting staff rewards, recognition and insights into employee engagement. It shows you’re listening and taking note of what’s happening and communicating that you recognise these achievements and how they contribute to your workplace.
3. BE A SHINING BEACON IN LEADERSHIP
When it comes to taking your business in the right direction, the last thing you want is poor leadership. As Sodexo’s engagement study showed, “80% of those dissatisfied with their managers are also disengaged from their employers.”
Good management, on the other hand, is driving best companies to work for lists, ensuring that quality management and leadership is key to a positive workplace culture.
Patrick Woodman, Head of Research & Advocacy, CMI, says, “At a time when trust in business is at an all-time low, there are major worries about the UK’s poor productivity, every organisation can learn from examples of well-managed companies.”
People managers with emotional empathy for their staff drive positive employee experiences. As such, leaders who model positive and respectful behaviour, leading by example, can really drive engagement.
Good leaders also give people clear objectives and goals so staff know what’s expected of them, to avoid uncertainty which often leads to workplace stress. Back to communication then.
What’s more, if people are allowed to make mistakes in a safe, non-judgemental environment, so much the better. A culture of finger pointing and blame isn’t going to do anyone any good.
This is where corporate activities like team building events can really make a difference, breaking down barriers and bringing management and teams together with unforgettably positive results.
When leaders are trusted, they motivate and inspire the workforce for the better. As Sodexo’s research into employee engagement reveals, “83% of employees experienced a more positive work environment when they felt there was trust in their managers/organisation.”
Just look around. Is there a sense of camaraderie in your office or are people too scared to say boo to a goose? Chances are, the stronger the working relationships, the better the management team behind these co-workers.
4. GIVE IT SOME SMELLS LIKE TEAM SPIRIT
People who love their jobs often enjoy their peer relationships. If they have great colleagues who share their values and outlook, so much the better.
This kind of thing can’t be bought off the shelf – it takes time to develop and grow. But good leadership can inspire collaborative ways of working and that can impact staff morale and general bonhomie.
As Sodexo’s ‘Move, Mould, Motivate’ study says, “People grow comfortable in their environment and become familiar with those around them. Introducing the wrong type of person can unsettle things.” If just one person is disengaged, it can disrupt a whole team.
Managers must consider personalities at interview stage. How will they fit into a smaller micro-community made up of a team of people who collaborate with each other every day?
Team building is very important and while you can encourage good working relationships through staff events like employee days out and unique travel experiences, personalities still have a big part to play, even above skills sets.
So what can you do to help people get on like a house on fire? Well, you can revisit the direct working environment to ensure it encourages positive working relationships.
Whether that’s encouraging a no email policy or physically designing the work space so that breakout areas stimulate greater face-to-face collaboration, building rewarding work spaces can help your teams to really fulfil their potential. It certainly works for some of the best loved companies out there.
Google and Amazon do this and we all know how they’re viewed as employers of choice. Trust us, better ways of working can be achieved by emulating digital innovators like these.
Employee benefits like free gym memberships and fitness classes and cycle to work schemes also contribute to this feeling of employee wellbeing, but true happiness will come from day-to-day interactions.
An inspiring and well thought through office design brings people together in a truly positive way, improving performance and driving motivational success stories. And it doesn’t always take a lot of effort to get it right. The important thing is that you start somewhere…
5. SHOW THE WORLD YOUR APPRECIATION
When employees feel like they’re making a difference each day, they’re creating impact and the benefits are well felt. Show you recognise success at work and you’ll soon draw people in.
Sodexo’s study shows that “high recognition-culture organisations have 30% lower voluntary turnover than those who just ‘push people to perform’ without regular recognition.”
Saying a thank you from time to time can really make people feel good about their work. But be warned – it’s not enough to dole out the same staff rewards and incentives again and again. Employees expect to be surprised and inspired – it’s a tough crowd out there, we did warn you.
If you get stuck in a rut recognising success through tired and over tested modes of recognition that, frankly, seem a little cheesy, it could be time to rethink your approach.
‘Employee of the month’ or ‘Salesperson of the Year’ awards can feel impersonal and out of touch. Try to add some spontaneity to your sales recognition platforms.
James Malia, Director of Employee Benefits, Sodexo, says, “Recognition should always be a personal thing. Employers who can’t capture this in their messaging, making it as human as possible, will only alienate their team.”
Tailor your staff rewards to your individuals and you’ll make your people the envy of the working world – boosting employee retention and resulting in new recruits knocking down the door in a bid to work with you. Sounds too good to be true? We promise you, it’s not.