Your human resources department is your not-so-secret weapon against disengaged and unhappy employees.
Any office can be the kind of workplace where employees punch in, do their eight hours, then leave. But it takes a little more effort and ingenuity to make an office a place where employees are engaged and excited to come to work each day.
In many cases, the responsibility to bring that spark to a workplace falls on human resources. It’s human resources’ responsibility to create a corporate culture that sets their company apart from the others, as well as ensure that employees are satisfied with their roles.
These days, prospective workers expect more perks from their workplaces, meaning human resources needs to keep up with those expectations along with finding new and innovative ways for employees to celebrate their company.
It may take some planning and external resources, but with a bit of effort, any human resources department can find ways to boost company engagement among employees – and it can definitely be more than free snacks.
Focus on Health and Wellness
One important pillar of the modern-day workplace is a health and wellness policy. This mandate can include anything from gym membership rebates to free healthy snacks in the kitchen to physical (yet friendly) competitions between colleagues.
“Not only will providing this benefit help organizations play a role in boosting productivity, increasing performance, and lowering healthcare costs, but we’ve also found that employees who work at organizations that provide healthy cafeteria or vending options are 10 percent more likely to be engaged,” shared Jason Lauritsen, Director of Best Places to Work at Quantum Workplace.
Incorporate Financial Education
Something else to consider is adding financial education to the wellness policy. More than 53 percent of financially stressed employees spend their work hours dealing with their financial issues—not to mention the fallout those issues have on their personal lives.
Implementing a financial wellness program can help individuals better manage their savings, as well as encourage them to buy into retirement pension programs that they wouldn’t have otherwise. Employees that are more secure in their savings will be less likely to suffer money stress, which means they won’t be as distracted at work.
Instill the Company’s Core Values
Does your company have a mandate or a set of core values that the business is built upon? If so, are they proudly shouted from the rooftops? If the answer is no, it’s likely that your employees will feel a bit lost when it comes to understanding what their workplace stands for. By distilling your company’s beliefs down to short phrases or keywords, you’ll give your employees a corporate belief system to engage with.
Creating a set of core values is especially important when it comes to attracting both millennials and Generation Z employees; these generations feel strongly about working for companies that they can connect with and believe in.
“Don’t focus on what you do, but why you do it. As millennials quickly begin to dominate the workforce, this message becomes more and more important.” – Sean Kelly, Snack Nation CEO
“Don’t focus on what you do, but why you do it,” said Snack Nation CEO Sean Kelly. “As millennials quickly begin to dominate the workforce, this message becomes more and more important.”
Balance Work and Life
Another expectation of the millennial workforce is that there’ll be an emphasis on the work-life balance; that is, since they’ll likely be working outside of the traditional 9-to-5, they expect their employer to offer flexibility to give them time to have their own lives and pursuits.
As an employer, you’ll have difficulty engaging employees if they’re feeling burnt out and resentful towards their job for taking up the majority of their waking hours.
Instead, show your staff that you care about giving them time outside the office to recharge and pursue other interests and hobbies.
“Work-life balance is going to mean something difference for each employee, so speak with your team to see what you can be doing better as an organization to enhance it,” advises Snack Nation. “Often times you’ll find that a flexible work schedule will be the easiest way to help people feel more balanced between work and leisure.”
Aside from having a more flexible work-from-home policy, you can even create flex days that allow employees to take a day off work every year to do something they love. Establishing this balance—and the workplace’s respect for it—goes a long way in creating happier employees who are more productive when they are in the office
Create a Curriculum of Learning
Good employees won’t be satisfied just staying where they are—they’ll be looking for more opportunities, new skills to learn, and extra things they can do to contribute to their position.
Human resources can help make it easy for employees to reach the next level by setting up a learning curriculum; this sort of program typically involves online modules that can be completed at leisure.
These levels of progress are also good markers when it comes time for employee reviews, and they can also be used as a teaching tool for company policies. Having an internal learning curriculum can force an employee away from their everyday tasks and get them more engaged with the company.
Alternatively, HR Zone suggests using the learning budget in a variety of ways, preferably tailored towards specific learning styles.
“Perhaps employees could go on a secondment, listen to the audio material, watch DVDs, write a review of a business book, be mentored, do a job swap or attend breakfast meetings to improve skills such as presentation skills.”
The possibilities are endless, and it’s a fantastic way to keep everyone’s minds sharp while also benefiting the company.
Employee Engagement Means Talent Attraction—and Retention
Having a human resources team that’s in tune with what employees want can elevate a company from merely good to one of the best; not to mention creating brand ambassadors out of your employees is an achievement that can land you some well-regarded new hires, too.
But it all starts with a human resources team that knows how to get employees engaged with and proud to be a part of the company. By supporting outside interests, taking an active stance on further education, encouraging financial literacy, and even providing free healthy snacks, employee retention, and productivity at your organization could see record highs.
Andy Meyer is an accomplished leader with over 20 years of senior management experience growing software and technology based companies. Companies have included Websense, Epicor, Cisco, and multiple mobile start-ups. He has extensive experience in general management, marketing, sales, business development, and public relations. His efforts have directly led to exits including IPOs and raised growth capital for multiple companies. He earned a bachelor degree in Mechanical Engineering from Georgia Tech and an MBA from the University of New Orleans.