50 ways to engage your staff

Quick TipsStruggling to maximise employee engagement within your organisation? Here are 50 ways you could reap the rewards of an engaged workforce…

  1. Develop an individual career plan for each employee
  2. Share the business goals and strategy with your employees
  3. Introduce a formal induction programme, including a ‘buddy’ or mentor
  4. Share the business’s performance with your employees on a regular basis
  5. Make sure your managers have the necessary skills and training needed to manage employees
  6. Ensure that managers share their goals with their team – that also includes senior management sharing their goals with their team managers
  7. Create a ‘Friday Update’ (or similar) for the team, where everyone shares their accomplishments for the week and their goals for the week ahead
  8. Set employees specific tasks that stretch them, and provide feedback throughout the process
  9. Have a monthly breakfast/lunch with employees where they can ask the MD, CEO, or a member of the senior management team, anything they like
  10. Use multimedia – send a video message instead of an email
  11. Ask employees to represent you, or the business, at a meeting, trade show, or on an internal panel discussion
  12. Keep a database of what your employees collect, and reward them with something to add to their collection when you want to recognise their achievements
  13. Use individual employee update meetings to conduct ‘stay’ interviews, find out what employees like about working in your business, and what resources they need to perform better
  14. Hire a Chief People Officer to oversee things like inductions, mentoring, career plans, and reward and recognition schemes
  15. Start a mentoring programme, by pairing up mentors and mentees, to help improve business processes, share knowledge and encourage career development
  16. Start an internal leadership development programme, and groom employees for leadership roles, by teaching them core skills such as financial and commercial awareness, and people management
  17. Encourage a positive working environment through peer recognition and team building
  18. Give employees help through Employee Assistance Programmes
  19. Allow employees paid time off work to do voluntary or charity work
  20. Fundraise together for the company’s charity of the year
  21. Expand your training plan
  22. Reward effort as well as success
  23. Pay employees to quit after three months if they are not suited to your organisation
  24. Give out Voucher Cheques as instant rewards for employees who’ve gone the extra mile
  25. Allow employees to take a sabbatical once every five years
  26. Recognise people publicly, so all their colleagues know what they’ve achieved
  27. Start an incentive programme, to encourage employees to achieve short-term targets
  28. Introduce a holiday purchase scheme
  29. Celebrate birthdays with a free buffet lunch in the office
  30. Give employees an extra day’s paid holiday for things like their birthday, or moving house
  31. Reward team effort and performance, not just individual effort and performance
  32. Implement a peer-to-peer recognition programme
  33. Send handwritten thank you notes to employees for their efforts
  34. Create a ‘Wall of Fame’ for employees who’ve achieved something special, either at work or personally, such as run a marathon or volunteered, and update it on a monthly basis
  35. staff mugsRemember that your employees have partners, family and spouses, so include them in company events
  36. Put the senior management team back ‘on the floor’ for a week
  37. Offer flexible working hours or flexible working locations to employees
  38. When you promote someone internally, let your employees know, and tell them what that person did, or the behaviours they displayed, to earned them that promotion
  39. Make sure employees have the tools and skills they need to do their job
  40. Have quarterly informal meetings between employees and their managers, where they discuss the employees’ top three strengths and the top three opportunities for improvement
  41. Allow employees to buy shares in the business they work for, and become part-owners
  42. Have an anonymous suggestion box
  43. Start an internal company newsletter
  44. Give your employees a proper coffee and tea machine to use at work
  45. Have job-shadowing days, so employees can learn what goes on in other teams or departments
  46. Bring in inspiring people to give a talk to your employees
  47. Start a lunchtime, or after work, exercise club
  48. Give new starters a cheat sheet, so they know who to call about specific things
  49. Send employees to trade shows or conferences
  50. Have a culture check to make sure your business culture encourages engaged staff

 

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John Sylvester

John is responsible for the motivation division of p&mm ltd and a Director on the board of the IPM. Specialising in developing, implementing and directing many large scale staff motivation, recognition and employee communications programmes.
Connect with John on  | Twitter

 

Comments

  1. keeping employees engaged in itself is amotivating factor. thanks

  2. Simon Larcombe says:

    (I did this quickly — apologies for that — but I’m happy to discuss it. And maybe someone can critique, expand etc)

    Here are my opinions of each:

    1. —————

    OLD: Develop an individual career plan for each employee

    NEW: Have a facilitator work with your staff daily, almost literally like a team PA. Have the facilitator figure out who the individuals are are, what they like, anything they need to understand about their live outside work. Have them spend some time socialising together. Day-to-day the facilitator figures out where each individuals personal interests could intertwine with the businesses intention. How can their happiness, fullfillment, development and self-actualisation align with the business?

    REASON FOR CHANGE: Pretending that career advancement promotes happiness and fulfillment — whether it be on an individual level or on a team level – is about as Tayloristic as you can get. Be happy here and now, and make this existing experience as happy as possible.

    2. —————

    OLD: Share the business goals and strategy with your employees

    NEW: Share the business VALUES with you employees, first. Because this promotes the possibility of more-and-more autonomy as time goes by. Cover these regularly in a variety of contexts. Include the business’ goals and vision. Even consider holding creativity workshops to brainstom goals, problem solving, innovation etc.

    REASON FOR CHANGE: The original is as vauge. You can’t just do that. Where is the space for autonomy there? Many disengaging businesses do this already.

    3. —————

    OLD: Introduce a formal induction programme, including a ‘buddy’ or mentor

    NEW: Read “the Zappos Experience” and consider doing the same thing with inductions.

    REASON FOR CHANGE: It’s a good idea. One can go much deeper, though.

    4. —————

    Share the business’s performance with your employees on a regular basis

    5. —————

    OLD: Make sure your managers have the necessary skills and training needed to manage employees

    New: Make sure your managers have the necessary skills and training needed to facilitate employees. Identify any elitists, or those with control issues. Find out which one’s of those would rather stay or leave. The one’s who want to stay: Send them for confidential, private, one-to-one sessions with a Psychologist to help correct their self-limiting beliefs

    REASON FOR CHANGE: Management is so old hat. Who isn’t still teaching Taylorism these days?

    6. —————

    OLD: Ensure that managers share their goals with their team – that also includes senior management sharing their goals with their team managers

    NEW: Remove the seperation between leadership, management and staff. Pass out goals to the entire workforce. Allow the Manager/Facilitator to guide organisation, sure. But, that private time — originally between Managers and Leadership — swap it for private time between HR and Managers. To work on understanding, facilitation, brainstorming team development etc.

    REASON FOR CHANGE: The original might make a small difference… Rather, let’s stop beating around the bush, and all go together.

    7. —————

    OLD: Create a ‘Friday Update’ (or similar) for the team, where everyone shares their accomplishments for the week and their goals for the week ahead

    NEW: Don’t bother doing that at all. We know what we’re doing and what we have done, because we do it together every day. Instead have a weekly get-together to cover business values and goals in a variety of contexts (different each time). Invite people from other departments. Find out whether anyone made any interesting progress. Brainstorm ideas. Get creative. Get ideas… Sounds boring? Send someone on an Edward De Bono thinking tools training course to figure out why it can be fun — and seriously productive.

    REASON FOR CHANGE: Those original types of get togethers are dull, boring, demeaning and soul destroying. We are pretending not to work together, and making people testify. In short, trying to create meaning where there is none (common).

    8. —————

    OLD: Set employees specific tasks that stretch them, and provide feedback throughout the process

    COMMENT: We’re don’t need to do this anymore. We’ve gone way beyone this already (see point 1).

    9. —————

    OLD: Have a monthly breakfast/lunch with employees where they can ask the MD, CEO, or a member of the senior management team, anything they like

    NEW: Wait. Brainstorm this idea. Look at what Zappos do here.

    REASON: Don’t steal breakfast or lunch from your workforce — especially not from a disengaged workforce. As an option, possibly — at least, let the process get going first.

    10. —————

    OLD: Use multimedia – send a video message instead of an email

    COMMENT: There’s no reason not to consider it… it depends on your own environment… Be open-minded, certainly.

    11. —————

    OLD: Ask employees to represent you, or the business, at a meeting, trade show, or on an internal panel discussion

    COMMENT: Aren’t you doing that already? I guess it’s suggesting random employees, who you mightn’t have previously chosen? As you start to grant more autonomy and voice, and begin to facilitate, and bring people’s personalities into the business more. The opportunities for inclusion in more client-facing activites becomes greater and greater. When you are imparting business values, it is important to get some discipline into the mix (in a fun and non-consiquential mannet). Help people to understand why particular values are very important. Look at the negatives too. What could go wrong? Why have we chosen to do things the way we do? Take feedback. Show that the business values are real, tangible and so important that they’re open for improvement (if anyone can prove better).

    12. —————

    OLD: Keep a database of what your employees collect, and reward them with something to add to their collection when you want to recognise their achievements

    COMMENT: Sure, why not. However, your facilitator/manager might be able to personalise this by not even needing a list.

    13. —————

    OLD: Use individual employee update meetings to conduct ‘stay’ interviews, find out what employees like about working in your business, and what resources they need to perform better

    COMMENT: There’s no need to do this anymore. We’ve gone further than that already (see point 1).

    14. —————

    OLD: Hire a Chief People Officer to oversee things like inductions, mentoring, career plans, and reward and recognition schemes

    COMMENT: What happened to HR? If the new culture needs more HR people, get some.

    15. —————

    OLD: Start a mentoring programme, by pairing up mentors and mentees, to help improve business processes, share knowledge and encourage career development

    COMMENT: Good idea. Do everything else first, and come back and see whether this is viable. Things like this will be more viable, accepted, engaged with etc. once the workforce are engaged. Sometime to come back to.

    16. —————

    OLD: Start an internal leadership development programme, and groom employees for leadership roles, by teaching them core skills such as financial and commercial awareness, and people management

    COMMENT: Much of this we’ve covered already. The facilitation; covering of business values and goals, brainstorming, autonomy and voice – they create a lot of these potentials naturally. As people become more engaged they will become more confident (again, why it’s important to stress discipline in business values — in a fun, non consiquential way). As they become more confident you are empowering them to lead in situations where they have to. Being part of a big group who can all do that, will maintain a degree of humility which won’t intimidate your clients… But, sure, why not also teach some leadership principles if they need them.

    17. —————

    OLD: Encourage a positive working environment through peer recognition and team building

    COMMENT: Didn’t I say that your facilitator has to be positive, friendly, engaging, compassionate, empathic, interested etc? Sorry. I should have. Yes, it needs to be positive.

    18. —————

    OLD: Give employees help through Employee Assistance Programmes

    COMMENT: We’ve gone further than this already (see point 1)

    19. —————

    OLD: Allow employees paid time off work to do voluntary or charity work

    COMMENT: This is a business, right?! You decide, lol.

    20. —————

    OLD: Fundraise together for the company’s charity of the year

    COMMENT: Are we looking for synthetic engagement opportunities because we didn’t cover points 1 and 7?

    21. —————

    OLD: Expand your training plan

    COMMENT: Yeah. Well. You know, this will all come about through activation of point 1.

    22. —————

    OLD: Reward effort as well as success

    COMMENT: My initial thought was: I don’t think rewards are a bad thing. But doesn’t all this sound a little bit like we aren’t actually there in the present moment together? But then, I get the point. Sure, effort is just as important. Making a breakthrough, or revolutionary product, that’s just the same as getting there. Sometimes bad ideas are more valuable… I think this point is about being authentic, and not favoritist.

    23. —————

    OLD: Pay employees to quit after three months if they are not suited to your organisation

    COMMENT: Sure, jump off the deep end! LOL. LOL. Read “the Zappos Experience” by Joseph Mitchelli and find out why you MIGHT want to do this, once your engagement program is in full swing…

    24. —————

    OLD: Give out Voucher Cheques as instant rewards for employees who’ve gone the extra mile

    COMMENT: See my comments to point 22. Also, again, read “the Zappos Experience” by Joseph Mitchelli. Zappos do do this. But it’s better to see it in context, and there’s a lot more incentives and interesting ideas they’ve got.

    25. —————

    OLD: Allow employees to take a sabbatical once every five years

    COMMENT: Your call, I’d say. Go with the flow. Get engaged and the “people working together in the present moment” thing becomes more and more real. Worth considering, certainly.

    26. —————

    OLD: Recognise people publicly, so all their colleagues know what they’ve achieved

    NEW: Never silence or humiliate someone. It affects their sense of morality. Makes them unhappy. Reduces their effectiveness. Makes them less good at what they do. Decreases their resiliance. And diminishes their potential.

    COMMENT: I would consider not recognising achievements publically. Aren’t we all making the same effort here? What I would do, given more time, and within the context of a real-life situation, would be to brainstorm that kind of idea and see where it makes sense to single people out for recognition. I would also have a look at what the best engagers in the business do.

    27. —————

    OLD: Start an incentive programme, to encourage employees to achieve short-term targets

    COMMENT: Let’s just actually go — really.

    28. —————

    OLD: Introduce a holiday purchase scheme

    COMMENT: Huh? Expand?

    29. —————

    OLD: Celebrate birthdays with a free buffet lunch in the office

    COMMENT: Great idea. But let’s work on our people skills. Do we understand the difference between an introvert and an extrovert? Do we know how to help people who are shy (not introverted, that’s different) to be less shy? Your facilitator and HR should know, understand and be able to engage accordingly.

    30. —————

    OLD: Give employees an extra day’s paid holiday for things like their birthday, or moving house

    COMMENT: Brainstorm everything you can do to engage staff. Sure. That’s a great idea. Get everyone to start forming lists of things you can do and then call them all together and brainstorm them.

    31. —————

    OLD: Reward team effort and performance, not just individual effort and performance

    COMMENT: Haven’t we covered this one already? Eeward this, reward that… Blah, blah, blah, Sure, reward what should be rewarded.

    32. —————

    OLD: Implement a peer-to-peer recognition programme

    COMMENT: Think about this in relation to the faciliator idea and the group get-togethers (points 1 and 7). In addition to the facilitator/team-member relationship, there should be something related going on between team-members…

    33. —————

    OLD: Send handwritten thank you notes to employees for their efforts

    COMMENT: If you like the idea, why not? Personally, I don’t like the idea. It doesn’t sound very authentic or sustainable to me. Sometimes these things are too obviously synthetic. And we’re working together already…. So, let’s just go!? …Just my 2 cents — your call 😉

    34. —————

    OLD: Create a ‘Wall of Fame’ for employees who’ve achieved something special, either at work or personally, such as run a marathon or volunteered, and update it on a monthly basis

    COMMENT: I once wrote a revolutionary reporting system that got me so much recognition that it pretty much set up my whole career. It was nothing special from the point of view of having done anything. I was just the right guy, in the right place, at the right time. Others were doing just as much as I was. Again, do thing about rewards and recognition, but get real with it. What are the differences really worth? Can someone be seen to be outperforming others? How? Is there a balance?

    35. —————

    OLD: staff mugsRemember that your employees have partners, family and spouses, so include them in company events

    NEW: On it’s own this is pointless. Engage your staff, then — next year — ask them, “shall we do this?”

    36. —————

    OLD: Put the senior management team back ‘on the floor’ for a week

    COMMENT: Great idea. If you’re going to do this before everything else, choose staff members to work with yourself… bypass the middle-man/woman.

    37. —————

    OLD: Offer flexible working hours or flexible working locations to employees

    COMMENT: Engage first. Then think about it. How will you engage your staff if your working day is all-over-the-place? You need to be cohesive at the start of this process — not more diffuse.

    38. —————

    OLD: When you promote someone internally, let your employees know, and tell them what that person did, or the behaviours they displayed, to earned them that promotion

    COMMENT: Sure. Depending what you do for a business. Later. Once you’ve got a good, high level of engagement you could consider converting to a Holacracy (just throwing it out there — not saying it’s a good idea, could be either).

    39. —————

    OLD: Make sure employees have the tools and skills they need to do their job

    COMMENT: See point 1. The facilitator would know. The facilitator is also going to be working closely with HR, one-to-one and in teams. HR should evaluate the facilitators and make sure they are doing this…. Also, though, encourage development of any skills the business could use, even by a stretch of the imagination… Try not to pidgeon hole people, it is demeaning and utterly pointless from the point of view of potential.

    40. —————

    OLD: Have quarterly informal meetings between employees and their managers, where they discuss the employees’ top three strengths and the top three opportunities for improvement

    COMMENT: In addition to what’s already been said about facilitation. Do, do things like this. Because it helps to makes sure we’re not missing anything. The facilitator/team relationship doesn’t always have to be casual. Also remember to check levels of trust. Read “the Zappos Experience” by Joseph Mitchelli, and you’ll see that Zappos found that “Command and Control” crept back in when they didn’t make an effort to, regularly, check trust. The facilitator/manager needs the business to symbolically take responsibility for trust.

    41. —————

    OLD: Allow employees to buy shares in the business they work for, and become part-owners

    COMMENT: If you want to. Sure, why not.

    42. —————

    OLD: Have an anonymous suggestion box

    COMMENT: Good idea. Some of these kinds of things we should keep. Despite the “really” working together thing. Sometimes people still might not want to talk about their ideas.

    43. —————

    OLD: Start an internal company newsletter

    COMMENT: Good idea.

    44. —————

    Give your employees a proper coffee and tea machine to use at work

    COMMENT: Good idea.

    45. —————

    Have job-shadowing days, so employees can learn what goes on in other teams or departments

    COMMENT: Read “the Zappos Experience” by Joseph Mitchelli, for more insight on this idea.

    46. —————

    Bring in inspiring people to give a talk to your employees

    COMMENT: Great idea.

    47. —————

    OLD: Start a lunchtime, or after work, exercise club

    COMMENT: Get a gym. Also look at how Google organised their canteen, with long tables and collaboration booths.

    48. —————

    Give new starters a cheat sheet, so they know who to call about specific things

    49. —————

    Send employees to trade shows or conferences

    50. —————

    Have a culture check to make sure your business culture encourages engaged staff

  3. This is a really good article explaining ways to motivate your staff! Good work!

    We have written an article on a very similar topic and would be happy for you or the audience of your site to use the information within our article.

    http://www.onsiteplus.com/non-traditional-ways-to-reward-innovative-employees/

    Kind Regards,

    OnSite Plus

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