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How To Motivate & Support Employees in the Workplace

Cassandra Rose, SPHR, SHRM-SCP
How to Motivate Employees & Support Them in the Workplace

The years 2020 and 2021 have been a test for most orga­ni­za­tions. Learn­ing how to oper­ate dur­ing a glob­al pan­dem­ic has been chal­leng­ing, and one of the most sig­nif­i­cant chal­lenges has been cen­tered around employ­ee engagement.

Com­pa­nies across every sec­tor and indus­try have been dis­rupt­ed, and peo­ple have been forced to instant­ly adapt to dra­mat­ic and life-alter­ing changes. The added phys­i­cal and emo­tion­al stress has caused employ­ers to have had a chal­leng­ing year engag­ing their teams and keep­ing spir­its high.

Under­stand­ing the best way to sup­port and engage employ­ees is a pri­ma­ry con­cern for many exec­u­tives. With their teams in per­pet­u­al iso­la­tion, this chal­lenge has become increas­ing­ly com­plex — but it’s not impossible.

7 Steps for Creating an Engaged Workforce

As busi­ness­es grow and become more com­plex, employ­ees are forced to adapt to con­stant­ly shift­ing work envi­ron­ments and will often con­front a gaunt­let of chal­leng­ing obsta­cles. The teams that oper­ate best under these cir­cum­stances are engaged, sup­port­ed and well-prepared.

Hap­py employ­ees have health­i­er minds and bod­ies. They’re more prone to crit­i­cal think­ing, and research shows that they’ll stick around longer.

Replac­ing a sin­gle team mem­ber can cost a com­pa­ny up to 200% of that employ­ee’s annu­al salary. The rea­son? The hir­ing process is time-con­sum­ing, the vacant posi­tion strains the entire team, and it costs valu­able time and mon­ey to recruit and train some­one new.

To avoid this, com­pa­nies must focus on the lives and well-being of their employ­ees. That’s the best and most effec­tive way to cre­ate a hap­py and engaged team. Here are a few strate­gies that will help.

1. Establish Transparency

Establish Transparency

An orga­ni­za­tion’s vision should be clear and con­cise. There should be no con­fu­sion or sur­pris­es about a com­pa­ny’s mis­sion or goals. If some­thing shifts, employ­ees should know. If a com­pa­ny wants to pro­mote engage­ment, it should first encour­age inclu­sion and transparency.

The COVID-19 pan­dem­ic became a defin­i­tive test for a com­pa­ny’s abil­i­ty to adapt and oper­ate under incred­i­ble strain. It forced a lot of fast change, includ­ing the rapid incor­po­ra­tion of flex­i­ble work envi­ron­ments. A seam­less tran­si­tion to remote work is impos­si­ble with­out com­plete trans­paren­cy between exec­u­tives, super­vi­sors and employees.

Trans­paren­cy cul­ti­vates an envi­ron­ment of open and effec­tive com­mu­ni­ca­tion. It gives employ­ees the time and space to feel com­fort­able enough to pro­vide hon­est feed­back and fos­ters a sense of com­mu­ni­ty among colleagues.

2. Offer Career and Growth Opportunities

Com­pa­nies should cre­ate new and excit­ing career oppor­tu­ni­ties to match their employ­ees’ skills, aspi­ra­tions and goals. Employ­ees will not stick around if they think they’ve hit a dead end. In fact, many employ­ees actu­al­ly believe that it’s eas­i­er to switch orga­ni­za­tions than it is to move up in their cur­rent company.

That’s a problem.

If orga­ni­za­tions want to engage with their team and improve reten­tion, they should cre­ate clear career advance­ment oppor­tu­ni­ties. Every team mem­ber should under­stand the process, know what’s expect­ed of them and be chal­lenged to take those next steps.

If com­pa­nies are in the habit of offer­ing con­tin­ued train­ing and edu­ca­tion, they will be bet­ter posi­tioned to cre­ate new career oppor­tu­ni­ties for emerg­ing tal­ent. They’ll also be bet­ter equipped to han­dle sub­stan­tial growth and eco­nom­ic challenges.

3. Open Door Policies, Performance Reviews and Constant Communication

Open Door Policies, Performance Reviews and Constant Communication

Effec­tive com­mu­ni­ca­tion is essen­tial. If com­pa­nies want to engage with their peo­ple, they must learn who they are, what they val­ue and what’s impor­tant to them. Open door poli­cies, feed­back ses­sions and per­for­mance reviews are all great avenues to explore that may give insight into the lives and aspi­ra­tions of employees.

Super­vi­sors are under­stand­ably busy and a for­mal process for offer­ing feed­back may seem com­pli­cat­ed, but com­pa­nies should try to do this con­sis­tent­ly. Team mem­bers want to know how they’re per­form­ing and what they can do to improve.

Pro­vid­ing spe­cif­ic feed­back and offer­ing it on a rou­tine basis is a great way to ensure the lines of com­mu­ni­ca­tion remain open. Pro­vid­ing pos­i­tive and con­struc­tive feed­back is also a great way to ensure that employ­ees are seen, heard and recognized.

4. Invest in People

Lev­els of pro­duc­tiv­i­ty remained the same on aver­age dur­ing the pan­dem­ic, and for some, the pro­duc­tiv­i­ty was even high­er. How­ev­er, there was a 44% decline in employ­ee morale. The rea­son for that is appar­ent: It’s been an incred­i­bly dif­fi­cult year. Peo­ple are iso­lat­ed, stressed and increas­ing­ly burnt out.

Moti­vat­ing employ­ees to work isn’t the prob­lem. Instead, com­pa­nies need to shift their focus to the ever-impor­tant ques­tion: Are their peo­ple okay? That’s why orga­ni­za­tions must enact poli­cies and ben­e­fits pro­grams that active­ly sup­port and improve their employ­ees’ men­tal, phys­i­cal and emo­tion­al well-being. There needs to be inten­tion­al­i­ty around men­tal health, espe­cial­ly now.

Space should be giv­en in meet­ings to talk about things oth­er than the meeting’s agen­da in order to allow peo­ple to talk about how they’re doing. Put agen­das aside and have a con­ver­sa­tion. Super­vi­sors and exec­u­tives who stay aware of what’s going on in their employ­ees’ lives will be bet­ter equipped to help them stay engaged.

5. Promote Autonomy

Promote Autonomy

Peo­ple val­ue auton­o­my, par­tic­u­lar­ly in a flex­i­ble work envi­ron­ment. Since many orga­ni­za­tions have will­ing­ly embraced remote employ­ees, this is espe­cial­ly prevalent.

As team mem­bers gain expe­ri­ence and mas­ter their work­flow, com­pa­nies should give them the free­dom to make their own deci­sions and encour­age them to take risks. Risk leads to inno­va­tion and out-of-the-box think­ing, which is often key to an orga­ni­za­tion’s growth and for­ward momentum.

6. Promote Team Building

Team build­ing exer­cis­es are an incred­i­ble way to boost morale and improve employ­ee engage­ment. The emer­gence of new tech­nol­o­gy has cre­at­ed new oppor­tu­ni­ties for busi­ness­es to cre­ate fun and dig­i­tal­ly immer­sive team-build­ing exer­cis­es, even if they’re remote.

This emerg­ing tech also makes it eas­i­er for employ­ees to col­lab­o­rate. They can attend meet­ings, share work and social­ize, even if they aren’t in the same phys­i­cal building.

Remote work does­n’t have to be done in iso­la­tion. Com­pa­nies should con­sid­er new tools and resources that allow employ­ees to col­lab­o­rate and com­mu­ni­cate effec­tive­ly, no mat­ter where they’re located.

7. Offer Personalized Lifestyle Benefits With Fringe

If orga­ni­za­tions want to active­ly engage with their employ­ees, they should con­sid­er offer­ing cus­tomiz­able lifestyle ben­e­fits. It is the best way to cater to the flour­ish­ing indi­vid­ual lifestyles of a diverse and engaged team.

Fringe’s plat­form offers per­son­al­ized lifestyle ben­e­fits, so each indi­vid­ual employ­ee can choose the ben­e­fits that will impact their lives the most. Sched­ule a demo and dis­cov­er a unique and proven way to effec­tive­ly engage and moti­vate employees.

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