Leaders often wonder how they can inspire extra effort in their people. However, before encouraging employees to go the extra mile, companies should first take a look inward. Here’s why:
- Less than 50% of Americans are satisfied with their current jobs.
- Only 20% of people in the U.S. are very passionate about their work.
- 85% of employees are not engaged at their jobs.
The reality is that engagement is the secret to discretionary effort, and if employees aren’t engaged, they aren’t going to go the extra mile. However, boosting employee engagement is rarely a straightforward task.
To have truly engaged employees, companies have to understand what their employees want out of their jobs, and they have to prioritize employee well-being above all else.
Thankfully, there are some proven techniques to foster engagement, boost well-being and ultimately inspire your employees to go the extra mile.
6 Ways to Inspire Discretionary Effort
1. Provide Consistent Feedback and Recognition
Almost 50% of all employees agree they will leave a company if they don’t feel appreciated. It’s no surprise that when employees don’t feel like their work is acknowledged, they’re less likely to go the extra mile.
If supervisors want to inspire extra effort from their employees, they need to provide consistent feedback and recognition for the effort the employees are already putting into the job.
Feedback can be especially crucial for discretionary effort because employees need to clearly know the expectations from the beginning. After all, they can’t be expected to know what the company wants without any guidance.
2. Foster Team Building and Positive Company Culture
People who have friends at work are more than seven times more likely to be engaged and satisfied with their jobs. Team building is essential because it promotes community, friendship, support and healthy competition.
A collaborative and bustling team is the cornerstone of positive company culture. Employees are much more likely to give a little extra if they know their entire team depends on them and if that level of teamwork is sewn into the company’s DNA.
3. Provide Mentorship Programs and Growth Paths
Less than 30% of employees are satisfied with their career advancement opportunities. Moreover, 70% of employees consider leaving their job because of a lack of advancement and development opportunities.
If there’s a clear path for advancement and growth, people will be much more likely to give the extra effort. If a company recognizes extra effort with growth opportunities, mentorship and career advancement, people will be highly incentivized to give a little more in order to further their careers.
4. Offer Lifestyle Benefits and Perks
Even if companies don’t offer some of these other options, they need to take care of their people with comprehensive benefits packages. If employees have to worry about things like healthcare, they won’t have much to give to the company. On the other hand, if organizations support their people, employees will be able to give more time and energy to the company.
Today’s employees need more than just traditional benefits. Companies who really want to take care of their employees should offer lifestyle benefits, too. By using a customizable benefits platform like Fringe, you can make sure each person gets the benefits they need to be healthy, happy and whole.
Companies that choose a benefits platform like Fringe can also use it to recognize discretionary effort. For example, if an employee goes the extra mile, the company can acknowledge their effort with extra points to use for lifestyle benefits. It’s a great way to tangibly add value for people who go the extra mile.
5. Allow Flexibility
As much as 80% of employees want a more flexible work arrangement. Flexibility can mean remote working options or variable schedules. It also encompasses a desire for a healthy work-life balance. As burnout continues to proliferate the workforce, compassionate companies should consider making flexibility a non-negotiable feature.
When people are allowed to work around their lives, they tend to be more engaged and willing to go the extra mile at work. It’s also a matter of practicality. For instance, a parent who’s working remotely while homeschooling their child isn’t going to have a lot of energy or time to give more to the company. However, if the company allows flexibility, parents can work in the evenings or while the children nap or do their schoolwork, giving them ample opportunity to thrive.
6. Express Gratitude Loudly and Regularly
69% of employees agree they would work harder if they felt like they were better appreciated. That’s why one of the most straightforward ways to inspire extra effort is by simply saying, “Thank you.”
Supervisors should be thoughtful about taking time to express their genuine gratitude for a job well done. Whether it’s a real-time thank you, a thank you card, a post on social media, a public announcement or a private conversation, leaders need to find ways to thank their employees for the work they do.
When people know their efforts are noticed, they’re much more likely to continue striving for greatness. So, companies should express gratitude loudly and regularly to inspire extra effort.
Inspiring Discretionary Effort in an Organization
Organizations can inspire employees to go the extra mile with a lifestyle benefits platform like Fringe.
Fringe offers innovative ways for employers to show gratitude, recognize employees and promote wellness through benefit selections tailored to the individual. Talk to our team to get started today!