Are your employees eager to contribute, full of energy, and happily staying with your company?
Or are they turning in uninspired work, zoning out in meetings, and moving on to other employers after just a year or two?
It’s probably a matter of whether or not they’re engaged.
In a Gartner survey, 70% of business leaders reported employee engagement was crucial to business success.
Employee engagement is essentially a worker’s level of emotional connection with their company. When engagement is high, employees feel more motivated to do more than just “their job.”
Companies may see it as important, but they often fail to make employees feel engaged. A 2018 Singapore survey of more than 45,000 employees revealed employee engagement to be at 72%. In comparison, other Asian countries like Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam have the most engaged employees (82% each).
So, what can your company do to keep employees engaged? These 5 tips are sure-fire ways to boost employee engagement.
1. Hire for Cultural Fit
Every company has its own culture, its own way of doing things. A mismatch of employee traits and cultural fit can lead to quick and costly turnover.
Studies suggest that employees who fit in well experience “greater job satisfaction, [are] more likely to remain with their organization, and [show] superior job performance.”
This means hiring the right person is the first step in ensuring employee engagement. Jobs portal Monster.com recommends asking the following questions during the interview stage to determine a cultural fit:
Tell us about a time when you worked well with a colleague
What made you want to work at this company?
Tell us about a challenging situation you faced and how you managed it
These questions go beyond qualifications on paper. They reveal the candidate’s personal values and how well they work under pressure. Body language is another source of clues. Experts say lack of eye contact, fidgeting, and other signs of discomfort indicate they’re insecure. This means they’re probably giving you the “right answer,” rather than what they believe.
Also, have the potential new hire meet the people they’ll be working with. A Singapore-based communications professional shares her views:
“Everything was great until the final round [of the interview process],” she said. “Then, I met the 4 people I would be working with. They were all very nice and polite, but extremely quiet. I, on the other hand, am outgoing and talkative. I knew the minute I got chatting with them that I wasn’t going to get the job.”
2. Organize Activities throughout the Year
Routine tasks can get quite mundane for even the most positive employees. Naturally, a job should offer chances to expand, but very few jobs offer constant stimulation.
Get employees to break out of the cycle every now and then with some interesting activities.
Setting aside a budget for team lunches is always a good idea in food-loving Singapore. Or you could start small by organizing office-based events like game nights. Get employees to work in teams, and order pizza for everybody. If time’s a concern, try some simple 5-minute team-building activities instead.
Singaporeans are also fitness conscious, so a weekly run after work or a lunchtime yoga session in the office is sure to be appreciated. Don’t be surprised if you find employees looking forward to these days.
With so many charities in Singapore, consider giving back to the community as an organization. Sign up for a slot with a soup kitchen, or spring clean homes for the elderly. This way, employees will feel connected to the company’s values and have a sense of purpose. It’s also a superb example of corporate social responsibility (CSR).
3. Support Work–Life Balance
According to Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower (MOM), employees who have good work-life balance are more engaged in the workplace. When they have time to enjoy activities outside the office, people come back refreshed, ready to give their best. They’ve been found to work up to 21% harder than those who don’t enjoy such a balance.
Since the Singapore workforce regularly puts in long hours, the MOM incentivizes organizations that offer flexible work timings and work-from-home arrangements. This makes employees feel trusted, and motivated to give back to the company.
Offering additional unpaid childcare leave during school holidays – beyond what MOM already provides – is another way to support work-life balance.
4. Seek Continual Employee Feedback
According to Salesforce, employees want to be able to give their opinion. Those who feel their voice is being heard work 4.6 times harder than those who don’t feel that way. The takeaway – seek your employees’ opinion on matters that directly affect them.
Whether it’s an informal discussion group or a survey, don’t wait until quarterly or annual reviews to hear from employees. For surveys, instead of long questionnaires, send weekly pulse surveys. These are short and quick to complete.
This encourages ongoing and consistent communication. It makes employees feel valued, and enables your business to identify and address issues before they escalate.
5. Invest in the Right Technology
Whether it’s a survey tool or one that improves inter-departmental communications, invest in infrastructure. When used effectively, technology can take care of mundane but necessary tasks. This lets employees focus on what’s important.
Cloud-based business card management and CRM tool Sansan, for instance, is one such solution. It enables employees to access the entire organization’s contacts anytime, anywhere, using its Mobile App.
Other tools, like WhatsApp business, can improve communication. Trello is a neat card-based tool for improving workflow efficiency. Many more such options continue to pop up and a lot of them boost collaboration and engagement.
There are many ways and tools to incorporate an employee engagement plan. However, to ensure its success, it’s necessary to have company-wide buy-in. If the management doesn’t have faith in the plan, it can be seen as a half-hearted attempt and employees won’t be motivated.
Engaged employees will give you their best, and they’ll stick around.