5 Tips for SMEs to Engage Employees

It’s the time of year when most of us are returning from lovely summer holidays and going back to work can often be a little bit of a struggle. The combination of getting back into the routine and the weather getting cooler (not that it really warmed up much) could be a great time to get some engagement initiatives going in your organisation. If you have employees that aren’t engaged with your business, it’s a risk. It can potentially cost you money (absence, sickness, reduced hours) as opposed to a motivated workforce who can improve your business and day to day work in leaps and bounds. So how do you do it?

For small businesses it can be a challenge without the manpower to dedicate time and effort in this area. Here are some ideas that you may be able to get a more motivated team member to instigate (whilst showing your total support).

1. Give Staff A Voice Your employees live your business every day, they know it well and are more than likely to have good ideas to move it forward. Giving staff a sense of responsibility for their work will hugely improve their motivation to work for your company.

2. Set Up Initiatives That Bring Staff Together (as well as work) Your employees really benefit from taking part in different activities together, they discover new things about each other’s skill sets and this will help team spirit. A company called Line-Up have Beer and Cake Friday. Different teams are challenged to a bake-off while the company provides the beer. Charity challenges are also great ways of improving morale and giving everyone a sense of perspective. Choose a charity that has a connection with your team, set a target and join in a local run or sponsored event.

3. Help Staff Keep Healthy and Well A recent report says that 85% of workers think that their company has a responsibility for their health, but 40% of companies offer no health and well-being benefits. Think what’s local to you and agree a discounted rate at the local gym or health club. Support staff in ‘stop smoking’ initiatives and annual health checks. Encourage fitness classes at lunchtime, Yoga or Zumba could perk everyone up and avoid the afternoon slump!

4. Keep Inspiring Your Team We all have days where we wonder what it’s all for, what we’re doing here and why aren’t we on a beach sipping cocktails. Keep your team inspired on a regular basis, this could be internal speakers who’ve had impressive/interesting careers or outside speakers who have overcome adversity to an incredible degree. All are helpful in valuing what we have and understanding what is possible.

5. Offer Flexible Leave Work life can sometimes be stressful in its restrictions. Set annual leave doesn’t always work for families who have to manage school holidays or young people with itchy feet and a list of exciting things to do in their life. This is a tricky one for SMEs where being a person down can have a huge knock on effect, however if a chunk of unpaid leave (for example) is planned well in advance and you know they’ll come back more motivated – then it’s worth it.

If you’d like any advice in this area, we’d love to hear from you. Just call 01386 751740 or email [email protected].

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