We’ve heard the stories, we’ve watched the suspiciously sparkly company videos and we’ve run the numbers, and there’s certainly no denying the fact that a positive workspace is also a productive one.
Studies show a direct correlation between investment in employee well-being and company profit – in fact, according to the Workplace Research Foundation, increasing employee engagement expenditure by as little as 10% can boost business profits by as much as $2,400 per employee, per year. As the old saying goes, you’ve gotta spend money to make money.
For big business, this type of investment is a no-brainer – those 13th checks, company days out and enterprise-wide gym memberships easily pay for themselves in the long run. But what about the little guy – the start-up without bottomless pockets and the financial wherewithal to tend to his employees’ every need?
Here’s the good news – employee engagement doesn’t have to come with a high price tag. Sure, your workforce probably wouldn’t turn up their noses at a games room or an on-site massage parlour, but those are nice-to-haves rather than fundamentals. At the end of the day, your employees want to know you’re invested in them, rather than in some elaborate program of relentlessly fun activities that forces them into a state of involuntary frivolity at all times.
Yes, your employees want to have fun and enjoy going to work everyday, but they’re ultimately there to do a job and exact some sense of purpose from it if at all possible. Design your employee engagement program to make this process easier, and you’ll likely enjoy far more success than you might do by lavishing them with extravagant perks and benefits.
Here are a couple of low-budget employee engagement techniques you might want to consider to keep morale high:
5. PJ DAYS
PJ Days afford employees the opportunity to remove themselves from the sometimes overwhelming office environment and simply get on with things in peace and quiet, far from the incessant ringing of telephones and chatter of colleagues. By offering your employees a set number of PJ Days every year (which they can cash in whenever they see fit), you’ll not only facilitate higher productivity levels, but you’ll also demonstrate your trust in them, thereby further improving engagement and morale.
4. HAVE A (PIT) BALL
The ball pit is an ingenious and low-budget tool for team building. All you need is an empty boardroom and a bunch of colorful baby balls, each of which is marked with a question. Fashion a makeshift pit, fill it with balls, and send employees in two at a time, encouraging them to ask each other the questions listed therein. Questions can range from bucket list items and “first love” stories to secret fears – pure commonalities that can spark real connections in the workplace, all in the context of pure, child-like fun.
3. DRESS-DOWN DAYS
Dress-down days cost next to nothing to implement and can have an enormously positive impact on employees. Do away with the stifling starched collars and uncomfortably high heels, and you’ll soon see your staff members loosening up, the perceived barriers of hierarchy torn down in an instant.
Not only do casual days level the professional playing field to a degree, but they also make provision for a greater level of self-expression, something many workers need in order to realise their true creative potential. Plus, who doesn’t relish an opportunity to avoid the ironing board?
2. JUST BE-CAUSE
Participating in philanthropic causes can dramatically boost workplace morale, instilling employees with a far greater sense of purpose and passion. Textbook rental company Chegg, for example, gives employees five days off every year to go out and volunteer, allowing them to pick the causes closest to their hearts and contribute in ways they see fit. Not only does this type of initiative resonate deeply within your workforce, but it also demonstrates your business’s commitment to the broader community – an increasingly important engagement consideration, particularly amongst the millennial workforce.
1. FOOD FOR THOUGHT
They say there’s no such thing as a free lunch, but there’s undeniable value to breaking bread with your employees from time to time, particularly if it can be used to facilitate learning and open up communication channels. So why not consider hosting regular lunch and learn sessions with your CEO, offering employees the opportunity to pick his or her brain in between bites? In so doing, you’ll nourish your employees in both a physical and intellectual sense, leaving them both replete and assured that their voices are being heard.