There’s a belief that happy employees are more productive and efficient. Today, what most HR managers are realizing is that employees need to not only be happy to do well, they need to be engaged.
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Gallup’s 2017 State of the American Workplace Report reveals, “Employees who are engaged are more likely to stay with their organization, reducing overall turnover and the costs associated with it.” Even more, another Gallup report found that engaged employees are 22% more productive and organizations with more engaged workers have “lower absenteeism and turnover.”
Improving employee engagement can be difficult for any business. For hourly paid employees, the task can be even more challenging. How do you get hourly employees to feel personally responsible for contributing to your company’s growth and success? How can you motivate teams when they are already working in a high-stress environment?
Read below to see what you can do to encourage and increase employee engagement.
- Provide feedback often
In decades past, annual reviews were thought to be the most effective way to improve performance and ensure managers and employers were on the same page. Employees today don’t want to wait six months to find out that they’ve done something wrong. Workers want to hear what they’re doing right – and wrong – in real time. Even companies like GE and Deloitte are doing away with the standard annual review.
As the workforce gets younger and younger, Millennial employees especially want to know if they’re on the right track and how their managers feel about their performance. It can be as simple as saying a few words every day to your workers or scheduling monthly check-ins.
It might seem like more work, but Bill Gates puts it this way: “We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve.” Your people are your greatest asset and your competitive advantage, so take the time to constantly motivate, coach, and train your employees.
One good solution to facilitate these conversations is through Deputy’s journaling feature. With the Deputy app, you can quickly make notes on the performance of each employee in real time and create reports to see how the employee’s performance varies over time. This will enable actionable decisions for better employee management and higher engagement.
- Create a strong culture
We spend about a third of our time at our job, and it’s not enough to simply receive a paycheck for the amount of time we put in. Employees, especially millennials, want to feel they are part of something greater than the bottom line.
Workplace culture includes giving your workers the chance to learn new skills or apply for higher positions, giving them flexibility and understanding that this job is only one facet of their lives. Research shows that a strong corporate culture can be the difference between a fledgling business and a thriving one.
Not sure how to start? Survey your employees and see what they want to see more of. Maybe they want opportunities to educate themselves or more flexible holiday time. Just like your business, Deputy strives everyday for a strong culture and created the Deputy 10 Mantras that you might find useful for your business.
One idea from the 10 Mantras is, “Whenever, wherever, whatever you need. I’ll be there for you.” Deputy’s culture is rooted in teamwork. Everyone, including our senior management team, will help the marketing team pack up all the booth items for a tradeshow, or if there’s a customer meeting to prepare for, the entire team gets involved to ensure it’s a success. It’s not about a fancy title and a corner office, it’s truly about doing what needs to be done, together, to ensure both the employee and the business are healthy and successful. When a culture is rooted in teamwork, and places less importance on hierarchy, amazing things happen.
- Be clear about expectations
One of the key drivers for employee engagement is setting clear expectations. If employees don’t know their goals, they don’t know if they’ve reached them. Feeling satisfied about your contributions and job importance is a vital component to overall job fulfillment. It doesn’t matter how you feel about your performance, if you don’t understand how you’re meeting company and individual benchmarks, it can not just be discouraging, but downright confusing.
“Engagement is a critical part of the benefits and perks discussion,” the Gallup report said. “That is, if employees don’t have great managers, if they don’t know what’s expected of them or if they are not in roles that match their talents, then the longest possible list of perks is not going to be a cure-all. Employees who are already on the fence in terms of engagement may actually regard ping pong tables and free meals as an empty gesture — a Band-Aid fix for a much bigger problem.”
Goals should follow the SMART formula: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-based. It’s not enough to say, “You should increase your hourly sales.” You should include how to increase them, what benchmarks you’re looking for and why. Employees who feel like they can never meet your goals are employees who aren’t going to feel engaged.
- Turn your employees’ talents into high performance
Although it’s important to set SMART goals for your employees, make sure your employees are the right ones for the specific role at your business. Do you know each of your employee’s greatest strengths? One recommendation is to have your team take the StrengthFinders assessment and then meet as a team to discuss the top strengths each employee can bring to contribute to your team and overall business. At Deputy, this exercise went a long way, as it not only was a culture and team building exercise, but it also helped us understand who was strong in a particular skill so we could place them in the right role for the best business result. We tied our team’s greatest strengths to overall passion, which drove a higher employee engagement.
This idea is directly explained in a book highly recommended for all managers – “First: Break All Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers do Differently,” which details how successful managers actually go against the grain to translate the talents of their employees into the best performance that will improve business results and engage the employee – a win-win!
- Encourage ideas and contribution
Even the most successful managers can’t do it alone. It can be easy to sit alone in an office racking your brain for a new way to engage employees or grow your business. Ask your employees for ideas. If you encourage them to become a greater part of the business, they’ll feel more engaged and tied to its success.
When employees provide ideas, be encouraging and supportive even if you don’t end up using their feedback. You don’t want to dampen anyone’s enthusiasm, especially if it might pay off at some point. Research shows that “ideas produce even more ideas,” so it’s important to make this a long-term strategy, not a one-off. The CEO of the American Heart Association, Nancy Brown, wrote an op-ed about her attempts to encourage new ideas in the office, as this creates a culture where creativity is admired. “Creative thinking serves as a catalyst; it inspires us to engage in conversation and analysis, and to assess all that might be possible. The end goal is to develop better or completely new ways of doing things.”
- Engage with them – and not just professionally.
If it’s part of your company mission to connect with your customers on a personal level, wouldn’t you do the same with your own employees?
If you know your shift supervisor loves new movies, ask what they thought about the Oscars. If your latest hire had a family vacation recently, ask them how it went. These casual conversations can enhance your relationships and make employees more loyal and less likely to leave.
Team building exercises, as previously discussed, can bring companies together. Before planning an outing, ask your coworkers to provide their own ideas. That way, they won’t feel forced to participate. Instead, they’ll feel like they contributed.
So engage with your employees, and they too will engage with you, your business and most importantly, your customers.
- Empower your employees with technology
With 71% of hourly employees under 30 years old, millennials drive the hourly workforce. The Nielsen survey also cited that millennials ranked “technology use” as the most significant thing that makes their generation unique, and 74% feel that new technology makes their lives easier. And companies are now listening. A 2016 Gartner report found that successful companies are now implementing mobile technologies to accommodate non-desk, hourly workers and 79% plan to increase mobile spending by 36%.
Providing intuitive, mobile ways for employees to accomplish simple tasks, such as clocking in, recording inventory, communicating with team members or making lists for the next shift, will empower teams to easily and effectively do their jobs well.
For example, most people use a smartphone today, as these devices have become a ‘catch-all’ solution to accomplish basic tasks – phone calls, email, recording finances, listening to music, signing documents, getting directions, etc. As such, companies who empower their employees to complete work tasks like clocking in or managing their schedules with mobile apps like Deputy, can make their team’s job and life easier and help them focus on what they do best for your business.
A better way to manage employees
Without question, employee engagement has become top of mind for small and mid-sized companies alike. Yet, truly improving employee engagement can be harder than it sounds. From building a strong culture to creating more frequent ways to provide feedback and set expectations, owners and managers who have a lot of individuals to manage or a lot of responsibility struggle to find the right time and processes to accomplish this effectively.
This is where solutions like Deputy come in. Deputy is a powerful mobile app that helps managers and business owners do their jobs better – all from the power of their smartphones.
Deputy offers easy employee scheduling, time & attendance and communication features. Employees are notified of a new schedule posted via SMS, email or push notifications and can access their schedule right from their smartphones. Employees are empowered to make time off and shift swap requests with other employees. They can easily clock in and out, and see the time they worked each week and their expected pay – all from their smartphones. The Deputy app comes with a communication feature, allowing managers to keep employees in the know of business news, policies, and processes. Attachments can even be added with read confirmation requirements for compliance. Deputy also includes a tasking feature that allows managers and employees to assign tasks to be completed within a certain timeframe and instantly sends SMS or push notifications when they are completed. Last, the power of Deputy’s performance journaling feature enables managers to provide employee performance reviews and feedback in real time.
The president and CEO of Campbell’s Soup once said, “To win in the marketplace, you must first win in the workplace.” At Deputy, we believe the best way to win in the workplace is to meet employees’ needs and to help create a better culture where teams believe in the business and support each other. Simple, intuitive tools can easily set you on the path towards employee engagement success.
Would you like to learn if Deputy can help improve your employee engagement and business? Visit www.deputy.com today for a free 30 day trial of Deputy.