Why should you care about employee engagement? Here just a few reasons:
1. Engagement and productivity are interdependent. When you increase engagement, you increase productivity. This, in turn, boosts profitability.
2. Engaged employees are more invested in your company. This improves the quality of their work. Engaged employees provide better service to your customers.
3. Engaged employees are more loyal to your company. This increases the collective experience and competence of your staff. It saves you time and money in recruiting, hiring, and training. Experienced employees are more effective at mentoring new hires.
4. When employees engage with their jobs, your company becomes a better place to work. You create an atmosphere of positive energy. You and your employees spend a lot of time at work—you should make it an enjoyable place to be.
The takeaway? A happier workplace and a healthier bottom line.
If you don’t have an employee engagement program, where do you start? Here is a guide for small business owners. When following these steps, make each of them specific to your organization. For example, “increasing engagement” in a factory could mean “reducing labor hours per unit” or “decrease faulty parts by X.”
Workforce Management for Employee Engagement Programs
Use workforce management software with engagement tools to create and administer your program. Even basic time and attendance software can help. But comprehensive Human Resources hubs are most effective.
1. Define Your Objectives
The concept of “engagement” is a broad term with many facets. For example, an employee could be motivated but limited by a lack of training. A worker could be competent but not emotionally invested in the company’s mission.
Here are some specific objectives you might have:
- Increase motivation
- Increase competence
- Reduce turnover
- Reduce absenteeism
- Improve morale and unity
2. Identify and Remove Obstacles to Engagement
Step one in developing an employee engagement program is to identify problem issues. What’s inhibiting engagement at your organization? Is it poor communication? Do employees feel under-appreciated? Don’t assume that you know. Talk to your employees. Talk to managers. Set up an anonymous suggestion box on your HR portal.
Time and attendance software reveals employees with poor punctuality and attendance. It also shows employees who are willing to stay late when needed. It shows who is taking long lunches or skipping breaks.
Here are some common barriers to engagement and suggestions for overcoming them.
If teams are not meeting deadlines, they may be having trouble working together. This is more common if the team members aren’t in the same physical location. A cloud-based workforce management system can facilitate communication. Shared documents are kept in a centralized location. Everyone can see updates in real time. They don’t need to wonder who has the latest version of a spreadsheet. Mobile or remote employees can access them from any connected device. Project management apps track the progress of projects.
Lack of Transparency
If employees can’t see the big picture, it’s difficult to understand the significance of their specific function. Make sure employees at every level know the company’s mission.
When employees know the collective goal, they need to see day-to-day progress. Employee engagement software allows team members to see productivity data at any time. At some companies, this can be as engaging as a video game. Some call centers show daily activity on a large screen visible to all employees. You can set up competitions between teams. Set production targets.
Customizable workflows track progress and allow employees to compare project KPIs. Managers can communicate priorities through the software to facilitate multi-tasking.
If managers don’t know what’s going on, they can’t effectively motivate their teams. A factory foreperson can see how many widgets are produced. But in other work environments, it’s more difficult to keep a pulse on productivity. It’s particularly difficult to monitor employees who work on a computer all day. Employee engagement software allows managers to monitor internet use. This could include time spent on company apps, task management software, or non-work-related sites.
3. Give Feedback and Recognition
Once your employee engagement software is measuring performance, your managers can give feedback and/or rewards. This is most effective when done immediately and frequently. Don’t underestimate the value of recognition. Employees who quit a job often say lack of appreciation was a factor in their decision. Frequent positive feedback can help lower turnover even if the wage remains the same.
4. Duplicate Habits of High Performers
Employees often figure out better ways to do things. (And these are the employees you want to keep!) Workforce management apps help supervisors identify best practices. Then they can use the software to document the processes to guide other employees. Include these in your engagement programs. The goal is to get all team members to follow these practices. Modify onboarding and training materials accordingly.
5. Tie Compensation to Performance
When an hourly worker switches to a piece rate (or partial piece rate), it can boost both engagement and productivity. A piece rate structure pays a fixed amount for each task performed or unit produced. An electrician could be paid a dollar amount for each light fixture installed in a large commercial building. Many manufacturing businesses with at-home workers use this type of compensation.
A piece rate structure can completely change the nature of how employees engage with their jobs. It can make repetitive manufacturing or construction work more interesting. Motivated employees can make more money per hour if they stay on task.
Regardless of the setting, managers must have a way to maintain quality control and workplace safety. Business owners must also make sure they stay compliant with labor laws when changing a compensation structure. Fair Labor Standards Act minimum wage, overtime, and recordkeeping provisions still apply. A manufacturer with at-home workers must still track each employee’s hours. This ensures that workers earn the equivalent minimum wage and overtime based on hours worked. Again, workforce management software is crucial.
When you follow these steps to create your engagement program, make sure you document everything. Employee engagement software makes this easy. You can also update the program easily if conditions change.
Here is a recap:
1. Define Your Objectives
2. Identify and Remove Obstacles to Engagement
3. Give Feedback, Recognition, and Rewards
4. Duplicate Practices of High Performers
5. Consider Tying Compensation to Performance
6. Document Your Engagement Program and Build it Into Onboarding and Training
SwipeClock Employee Engagement Software
SwipeClock’s WorkforceHUB includes engagement tools that can be customized for any business or non-profit organization. To talk to an employee engagement specialist, visit SwipeClock WorkforceHUB.
By Liz Strikwerda
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