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How to Increase Employee Engagement in Your Small Business

By Barbara Beauregard   |    May 8, 2019   |    6:19 PM

5 Ideas Your Business Can Use to Better Engage Employees

The majority of Canadian employees are not actively engaged at work.

That may sound like a harsh statement, but it’s backed up by data: 60% of employees are not engaged, 15% are actively disengaged at work, and only 25% are actively engaged.

You already know that unengaged employees are bad for business. Fortunately, there are endless ways you can ignite passion in the employees who help your small business thrive. You won’t have to spend much money, either. From setting a good example at the leadership level to volunteering together, here are 5 of the best ways for small business employers to create a more focused and energized workforce.

1. Start with “tone at the top”

Employees need to see their leaders engaging in the same type of behavior that’s expected of them.

If punctuality is important, for example, that standard should apply to everyone in the company. Similarly, showing your enthusiasm for the business and what it does will help employees tap into their own drive to help the company succeed.

2. Show appreciation for your team

A simple “thank you for the hard work on that project, you did a great job” can do wonders for employee engagement. Acknowledging the efforts of team members builds trust and shows that you really do care about their contributions.

Verbal or written appreciation is wonderful, but you can take things a step further. Happy hours, work-sponsored lunches, gift cards to local shops, and other perks can all be effective ways to celebrate a job well done.

3. Offer employees flexibility

Modern employees want flexibility from their employers. Every member of your team has a life outside of work that’s full of obligations and commitments, and juggling it all can be downright difficult.

Help your team be present for the important moments in their lives by allowing them the flexibility to adjust their schedule or working location when needed.

4. Volunteer together

Show employees that your business isn’t just dedicated to making money, it’s also dedicated to making the world a better place.

Planning company-wide volunteer opportunities is the perfect way to demonstrate a commitment to the local community. Plus, everyone will feel great afterward.

5. Ask for feedback from employees (and really listen)

Typically, employers are the ones offering feedback to employees. Flip that script and make a commitment to asking the team for their thoughts on everything from working conditions to project strategy. When someone shares their candid thoughts, listen with an open and curious mindset.

This approach is also great for business in other ways. You’ll learn about potential problems before they become big issues, for starters.

6. Make time to have fun together

Fostering social connections between colleagues is one of the best ways to engage employees. So, consider breaking up the normal routine with fun events and gatherings for the entire company.

Having fun as a team doesn’t need to be expensive or time consuming. You could plan a monthly potluck lunch where everyone brings a dish, hold holiday-themed costume contests, or simply build time for socializing into the schedule.

No matter how you approach employee engagement, remembering the Golden Rule is a good place to start: Treat others how you would like to be treated, and things will fall into place.