Workplace wellness challenges are a great way to keep your employees fit and also to cultivate their loyalty towards your company. Wellness programs that offer perks and benefits are seen to be positive reinforcements that not only help the employee to stay healthy but also develop a lot of positivity among the workforce. Employee wellness challenges are a fun way to keep your workers fit. It is also a good way to build interpersonal relationships between employees. Take a look at this article to know more about the best employee wellness challenges for 2020 and how they can work to your benefit.
1. Walking challenges
As we all know, walking is a great way to stay fit. You could incorporate certain walking challenges. These could happen at a set time, such as over the weekends, or on a daily basis. You can set challenges to make the experience all the more exciting for your employees. For instance, begin with asking them to walk between the buildings or departments at work. The next step would be to encourage them to walk to work.
Expert tip – Provide your employees with fitness bands so that their steps can be recorded. Give rewards to the people who walk the most in a day, a week or a month.
2. Cycling challenges
Cycling is another great way to stay fit. Encourage your employees to use their bicycles to commute to work, instead of driving. This would be a great way to increase their fitness levels and would also help lower the air pollution levels. Offer perks to those who cycle for the most number of hours in a week.
Expert tip – Invest in some bicycles and keep them in your office compound. Tell your employees they are free to use them to commute to and fro work and also to commute to the different departments/branches of the organisation.
For those who insist on driving to work, encourage them to park a bit far away from the office building. Ask them to walk to and from their car to the office every day. This will be a good way to get some basic exercise done, even when they are largely sedentary.
Expert tip – If it is possible, shift the parking area a bit further away from where it is now. If your employees use a public parking space, give rewards to those who park at a lot that’s some distance away.
4. Staircase challenges
Among the easiest employee wellness challenges is the staircase challenge. Ask your employees to simply take the stairs and not the elevator. Discourage or limit the use of the elevator. Of course, this can only work if your office is located on a lower floor. It would not work if you are placed on the 25th floor of a building!
Expert tip – Make this a monthly challenge, wherein the employees who successfully manage to take the stairs each day for an entire month get a handy perk at the end of it. Keep a chart at the top of the staircase where the employees can sign as they finish their daily targets.
5. Nutritional challenges
Healthy living doesn’t just consist of physical challenges – it comprises diet modifications as well. Introduce a nutritional challenge in your office. Encourage your employees to pack their lunches from home to avoid ordering food at lunchtime. Then, if you have a cafeteria, modify the menu and include only healthy food options. The person who orders the minimum amount of outside food by consuming the home/office cafeteria food gets rewarded at the end of the month.
Expert tip – Hire a proper chef who can curate a good menu and offer delicious food at the cafeteria. Unless the food is exciting and tasty, the challenge will fail from your end.
6. Don’t-skip-breakfast challenge
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Encourage your employees to have a hearty breakfast before coming to work. Set up a healthy breakfast bar at the office to encourage them to grab a meal if they didn’t do so at home.
Expert tip – Stock up a fridge with healthy juices, fresh fruits, energy bars, etc that anyone in the office can grab on the go.
7. Hydration challenge
Drinking water is a health necessity that most people ignore. It is also one of the easiest to follow. Encourage your employees to stay hydrated. Offer perks to the department that empties the contents of their water cooler the quickest each day. Staying hydrated has many advantages and this is one of the most basic employees wellness challenges that you must look to introduce.
Expert tip – Offer clean and hygienic drinking water to the employees. Install large water coolers or dispensers in every department.
8. Workout challenges
Working out at a gym or a fitness class is inarguably one of the best and most effective employee wellness challenges. However, due to various reasons, many people shy away from undertaking this challenge. Make it exciting and more approachable for your employees by installing a small gym in the office. If space is a constraint, tie-up with a professional gym, Zumba class, etc. Offer discount vouchers to your employees to encourage them to take up the challenge.
Expert tip – Announce prizes for the “biggest loser” of the month, to honour the employee who lost the most amount of weight by undertaking the workout challenge.
9. Meditation challenges
Mental health and wellness are just as important as physical wellness. Organise meditation challenges to encourage your employees to relax and become stress-free. This will increase their productivity and will keep them happy as well.
Expert tip – Organise Yoga classes in the office. This will be a good way for the employees to meditate.
10. Sporting challenges
Playing a sport can be a great way to stay fit. It is also an excellent team-building method. Begin organising sporting events on weekends. Sports such as badminton, soccer, cricket and tennis can be played by the employees. Divide them into teams, and have them play against one another.
Expert tip – Most cities have local parks and clubs that you can hire to organise the intra-office tournaments in. Make proper arrangements and plan an organisational sporting event every once in a while.
11. Hobby challenges
This is another challenge that can work wonders for the mental wellness of your employees. Ask your employees to pursue hobbies such as baking or painting that they may have wanted to pursue long. A hobby can relax the mind to a great extent and increase the mental alertness levels of the employee as well.
Expert tip – Organise a fun-fate in the office on a weekend. Have stalls where your employees can showcase and sell their hobby-based items such as artwork or bakes.
12. ‘Quit smoking’ challenge
This is one of the most obvious employee wellness challenges. Encourage your employees to quit or reduce their habit of smoking. Smoking is bad in all ways. It affects physical wellness levels. Challenge your employees to quit the habit by offering increasing rewards on a time-basis. An employee will receive a reward if he/she completes an entire smoke-free month. A larger reward will be given at the end of the third smoke-free year and an even larger one at the end of a six-month period.
Expert tip – Make sure the employee has enough support at home. If the spouse smokes too, increase the volume of the reward when both spouses abstain from smoking together.
13. Marathon challenges
Organize small marathons or walkathons for your employees and their family members on weekends or public holidays. Keep the distance short so that it is not a tedious or intimidating event for your employees to consider participating in. Running for two or three kilometers, and preparing for it beforehand, can be an excellent employee wellness challenge.
Expert tip – Make the marathon a complete, day-long event to increase the levels of interest. Have a musical program after the run, or a buffet lunch, to ensure maximum participation.
14. Volunteering challenges
Volunteering is a great way to stay active as well as happy. Encourage your employees to take up volunteering challenges. Offer incentives such as paid-leaves provided the time is used for volunteering. Your employees could work as a team and represent your firm (for example, organise an educational workshop at an orphanage) or pursue volunteering on their own. The aim is to improve their emotional wellbeing, so give them the independence to choose the challenge.
Expert tip – Partner with NGOs so that your employees can easily volunteer their time without having to look for opportunities (provided they want to).
15. Sleep challenges
Sleeping is perhaps the most crucial wellness requirement. It is mandatory for everyone to sleep for 6-8 hours each night. Anyone who sleeps less than that risks a chance of getting high blood pressure, heart ailments and so on. Improper sleep can also result in undue stress and lack of mental alertness. This is why you must encourage your employees to get adequate sleep each night.
Expert tip – Provide your employees with sleep monitors. The employees who get enough sleep can be rewarded at the end of each month.
16. Laughter challenges
Laughter is the best medicine and people who laugh more frequently are said to enjoy stress-free, relaxed lives. Laughter also keeps the mood and atmosphere of the office positive which makes it better and more productive for the employees. Encourage your employees to laugh more. Organise stand-up comedy shows where you either bring in a professional comedian or ask your own employees to participate.
Expert tip – Start a laughter club in the office and encourage your employees to join in in great numbers.
17. Digital detox challenge
Constant exposure to a screen can cause severe headaches, eye-problems, etc for your employees. Prevent this by encouraging them to be screen-free for at least 30 minutes each day at work. Encourage them to step away from their workstations and go for a walk, stand by the coffee machine or converse with their colleagues. A digital detox can be a great opportunity for relaxation.
Expert tip – Ensure you have a fixed time period for the daily digital detox challenge, else your employees may misuse this opportunity and stay away from their workstations for long periods of time.
18. Standing challenge
Sitting at one place for long hours can cause havoc to a person’s spine and posture. Ask your employees to stand for one minute every hour. Alternatively, remove all the chairs and desks from the meeting/conference rooms and have them stand during team meetings. Standing challenges can help improve their overall wellness levels and make them more alert.
Expert tip – Conduct random checks throughout the day and reward the people standing at that time with small perks.
19. Go on a vacation challenge
Taking some time off from work at least once a year is crucial for the physical and mental wellbeing of an employee. Make vacationing compulsory for your employees. Provide compulsory vacation time in the form of paid leave that they have to take. Partner with travel agencies, hotel chains etc to offer discounts in bookings to ensure your employees complete the vacation challenge.
Expert tip – Offer the mandatory leaves to different employees at different times to make sure you have a balance between the employees present and employees absent at all times.
20. ‘Better yourselves’ challenge
And finally, encourage your employees to adopt a wellness regime independently. As an employer, you can encourage them to stay fit by offering the above-mentioned challenges, but their own well being ultimately depends on their efforts and attitudes. Ask them to adopt as many fitness regimes as possible and stick to them diligently to improve their health and happiness quotients.
Employee wellness challenges are an integral part of almost every company these days. A company that has a healthy workforce is bound to drive in more profits. Retaining talented employees becomes easier when the employees feel well and content. Give the above-mentioned employee wellness challenges a try and notice a positive change in your employees. You will be able to keep your employees fit while making the process an enjoyable one for everybody.
Millennial is a term that is frequently used to define a person who has reached adulthood in the early 21st century. People who are born between 1980 and 2000 are considered to be a part of this group of people. However, there is a lot of contradictory information regarding the period that is covered to group millennial’s.
Many authors, publications and researchers consider those people with the birth year as the 1970’s to early 90’s as millennial’s, while some use up to 2004 as the ending birth year. The earliest use of the phrase dates back to the time when it was used to define those individuals who graduated from high school in 2000. There are several views and conflicting opinions regarding the start and end of birth years, however, a common consensus remains where people who are born in the 1980’s and have come of age in 2000 are considered millennial’s.
Like any other cultural generation, millennial’s belong to the same age group and share similar attitudes, problems and ideas. Ideally, millennial’s should have been referred to as Generation Y, since the generation before them was called Generation X. To further delve into the generation phenomenon, millennial’s are considered as Echo Boomers since there was a major spike in the birth rates in the 1980’s and 1990’s and they are the children of Baby Boomers. Media, digital technology and communications tools and devices are some of the things that the millennial’s are most familiar with.
Characteristics of millennial’s
In recent years, several studies have been conducted to study the behavior and traits of millennial’s and they have been classified in several ways. Many positive and negative aspects have been attributed to them based on their views and overall conduct.
A story published in Time magazine in May 2013, says, “They’re narcissistic. They’re lazy. They’re coddled. They’re even a bit delusional”. Millennial’s have also been described as overly ambitious as they tend to switch jobs quickly. They are also considered lazy, materialistic and someone who always thinks of themselves without considering the needs of others. However, on the flip side, they are also considered very liberal, open-minded, confident, thoughtful and open to new ideas and thoughts.
Millennial’s workforce statistics
According to Deloitte’s eighth annual millennial survey, the Indian millennial’s and Generation Z are considered very optimistic as compared to their global counterparts. The survey, conducted in 2019, was based on the views of 13,416 millennia’ls from 42 countries and 3009 Gen Zs from 10 different countries. 300 Indians each in the millennial’s and the Generation Z category were a part of the sample size.
There are many bright aspects that have come out of the survey which explain what millennial workers want:
Out of all the 40 countries that participated in the survey, Indian millennial’s and Generation Z have the second most optimistic outlook.
Aside from traditional ambitions like home ownership and better jobs and salaries, they are more concerned about making an impact on society through their work.
Millennial’s and Generation Z are confident about facing work-related challenges in the future, but also think that Industry 4.0 will make it difficult for them to get and switch jobs.
Millennial’s believe that some of the most pressing issues plaguing the world today will be solved by businesses.
They are wary of online frauds and data security and also believe that social media is doing more harm than good.
They are also very optimistic about politics, environment, socio-economics, and personal issues.
When it comes to social media, 84% of them believe that their physical health could improve if they concentrate on other things. 81% responded saying that their happiness levels will go up with reduced time spent on social media, while 72% of them were concerned that their anxiety levels will go up if they don’t check their social media profiles for a day or two.
How millennial’s perceive work
Millennial’s are quickly making up the largest segment of the workforce and in many ways redefining the overall workforce segment. This means that their needs and desires cannot be compromised and managing and motivating millennial’s are very important. Depending on the culture in which they grew up, millennial’s have several work-related characteristics that are listed below.
Millennial’s love technology
Having grown up in the era of the technology boom, millennial’s are glued to the technology of all sorts and use it effectively at their workplaces. Be it their smartphones, laptops or any other latest gadget, you name it and they have it. Communicating with them is very easier as they are online for the most part of the day and make good use of the Internet to stay connected with the world. Surviving without the Internet or social media even for one single day is a tough proposition for them.
Millennial’s love the work-life balance
Unlike the baby-boomers, who are always willing to go the last mile when it comes to working, millennials, in contrast, care for a proper work-life balance. This is partly to blame their hectic lifestyle that further gets compounded due to the growing influence of technology in their lives. To get flexible schedules, a better work-life balance and reduced work hours, they are ready to take a lesser salary. However, this is usually seen as a lack of discipline and commitment on their part when it comes to fulfilling their work-related commitments. Millennial’s have contrasting views and opinions as compared to baby-boomers and feel an increased need to stay closer to their near and dear ones.
Millennial’s love results
Being highly confident and ambitious, millennial’s are always on the lookout for the results and impact of their work that would translate into their achievements. They have higher expectations at their workplaces and are ready to raise questions and not just follow the norms that have been laid or practiced for years. They want meaningful outcomes from their contributions which will lead to their personal development and growth at the workplace. Hence, it is not difficult to understand how to motivate millennial’s in sales and achieve better results.
Millennial’s love to work in teams
Millennial’s value the feedback and input of their peers when it comes to teamwork and the decision-making process. They like to get included and also involve others in all aspects of their work. This is largely to do with the fact that during their growing years, they indulged in sports and activities at their schools which promoted bonding and teamwork.
Millennial’s love attention
Millennial’s love attention and it is very important to motivate millennial’s at work. They like to seek regular feedback and get praised for their performance. Work cultures that promote regular mentor-mentee interactions and feedback mechanisms attract millennial’s and help them stay motivated and inspired to achieve higher success. Baby-boomers come handy in such situations as they can often guide millennial’s based on their wisdom and experience.
Millennial’s love personal development and growth
Millennial’s are highly ambitious and in pursuit of their goals and happiness, they are known to frequently change jobs. They can easily get bogged down with the monotony of their work and won’t hesitate to move on if they find an opportunity that can keep paying them even better and keep their excitement levels higher. A closer look at their work history will reveal a trend of them working with a number of firms, often for a much shorter duration. However, a positive aspect of this could be the fact that they have worked in diverse work setups and their understanding of the business world and trends could be very up-to-date, which can benefit their potential employers.
Why are millennial’s so hard to work with
It is no secret that millennial’s differ in a number of ways with baby-boomers and older generations. This is primarily due to the era in which they grew up when the world was experiencing a technology boom. According to various research studies, millennial’s at their workplaces crave flexibility, meaning and new challenges. Understanding these will give you an idea of how to motivate millennial’s at work. Incorporating these elements in their work-life will give them satisfaction and lesser headaches for you as an employer.
Millennial’s care a lot about the value they gain through their work and how exciting it is to keep their passion alive. They might opt for a job that pays them less but offers satisfaction rather than picking up a high-paying job where they aren’t happy with the work.
Millennial’s feel their productivity gets a boost when they work on flexible schedules and without any added pressure. This might be perceived as unrealistic or very demanding, but they are not ready to compromise on this front and are likely to oppose things that deter their work-life balance. For example, many married millennial’s might be averse to the idea of traveling out of station for longer duration, or on the contrary, many single millennial’s would like travel to be a good part of their work life.
Millennial’s might be perceived as unrealistic when it comes to their career expectations. They are likely to get bored with the existing workload and might often seek new challenges and subsequent promotions, even when they are not eligible for it.
How to keep millennial’s motivated at work
Millennial’s are human beings after all and it is not very difficult to make them understand their responsibilities and keep them motivated at work. As an employer, you must explain to them your goals, where do they fit in your scheme of things and what do you wish them to achieve. They need attention and motivation and there can’t be better ways to motivate millennial’s in the workplace.
Conducting regular training and exposure programs can be beneficial for their growth and development, which is likely to keep them motivated about their work.
Great leaders communicate a lot and at regular intervals. Having a two-way communication with millennial’s regarding their performance and progression can encourage them to produce even better results. An ideal scenario would be to give them a set of clearly-defined goals and guiding them to achieve those.
Millennial’s love the flexibility in terms of working hours or the working location and the idea of remaining glued to their desks is less appealing to them. Offering them flexibility in these areas can boost their productivity and help you easily achieve your goals.
Why are millennial’s important to your organization
The number of millennial’s in the workforce segment is increasing with each passing year and they are undoubtedly the future of the economy. With easy access to digital tools at their fingertips, they are known to finish their tasks quickly and with higher efficiency. They also help their organizations adapt to the growing advancements in the digital world and their leaders must keep them motivated and engaged at all times to achieve the desired results. It is imperative for organizations and leaders to personally understand the needs and desires of each millennial and make them fully aware of their expectations and the deliverable’s expected from them. Engaged employees are happy employees and are the ones who are ready to take initiative and leadership. They are also likely to go the last mile to help an organization achieve its targets and on many occasions, even surpass them.
To conclude, the idea is clear and to have a win-win situation for both parties, the road ahead is not too complicated. Making minor adjustments to your workplace policies and understanding how to motivate millennial’s at work is very likely to yield better results for your business. Remember, millennial’s are the future of the workforce and the economy.
One of the leading reasons for employees not performing to the best of their abilities is the lack of feeling engaged. And this seemingly small thing is what you as an employer needs to get rid of. If you cannot get rid of it completely, you must at least try to reduce it to a large extent. Apart from performance, disengaged employees can also impact other employees or extreme cases, decide to leave the organization.
Should organizations feel that their employees are not highly engaged, the problem can be addressed by certain employee engagement practices. Following some of these will help you address the issue of employee engagement. And if done properly, it can boost the satisfaction of employees, reduce the attrition rate and improve employee retention, boost the productivity of employees, increase the loyalty in employees, etc.
What is Employee Engagement?
Employee engagement is the emotional connect that an employee has with their organization. Having an emotional connection means that they actually care for the organization, its goals, and its work. Proper employee engagement ensures that your employees do not just work for their paychecks, next hike, promotion, etc. They put in the effort because they understand the organization’s goals and work towards it.
While it is important to understand employee engagement, it is even more crucial to know what employee engagement isn’t. Employee engagement certainly isn’t the happiness of an employee. An employee could be happy but not work diligently towards an organization’s goals. To bridge this gap with your employees, you can partake in employee engagement activities. However, it is important to know employee engagement trends.
Being aware of employee engagement trends will help you better understand the issues and take precautionary steps. These employee engagement trends also ensure that you do not waste your energy on activities that no longer engage your employees.
Understanding Workplace Demographics
Before you can get down to identifying and resolving employee engagement related issues, knowing your company’s demographics is important as well. Going forward, it is expected that employees will stay longer at a workplace rather than constantly changing companies. There is a good possibility that you will have to handle employees from different generations at the same time.
Another factor that will become mainstream for the coming year is virtual workplaces and globalization. This will result in more flow of employees around. Adding to the mix is cultural diversity, which you will have to rethink completely to accommodate a wider set of values than they currently have. Collectively these make sure that the trends of previous years are no longer valid or need to be updated with time.
Top 13 Employee Engagement Trends for 2020
The employee engagement trends for 2020 seek to address upcoming technologies and how the workplace will get affected accordingly. Implementing a few of these will help you cope up with the changes while ensuring that your employees are well engaged.
1. Promote a healthy workplace for employees with wellness programs
There are a lot of things that are not in the right place when it comes to the wellness of employees in the workplace. Employees are usually exhausted due to stress at work or isolation from the social world. And it is no secret that employees who are worn out will always find themselves distant from engagement. Finding out a way to incorporate wellness at the workplace apart from the usual fitness classes and gym membership is an interesting challenge for employers.
An ideal way to handle this situation would be to take into consideration mental wellness, emotional wellness and if possible, even financial wellness, along with physical wellness. It is important to educate your employees about mental wellness and the support that they can get. A few employers are experimenting with sick leaves for mental well-being. Financial wellness is a concern that quite a few employees have. Apart from only providing with education, helping your employees in financially wise decisions can immensely help their engagement levels.
2. Provide opportunities for employees to grow and develop professionally
The presence of various resources these days makes it easy to help employees to learn and develop their skill set. Providing employees with the tool to help them be ready for future aids in employee engagement. Engaged employees usually have a strong affinity towards improving themselves and learning new things. Failing to offer them similar opportunities will lead to stagnation.
In fact, a survey done by LinkedIn shows that 44% of employees joined new employers for better personal advancement and development prospects. There are several on-demand learning portals or opportunities. Providing your employees with such exposure will help in employee engagement. Yes, there is a cost involved in the same. However, it is an investment that will pay off in terms of better reciprocation from your employees. Even more so when you consider that a company spends as much as 21% of an employees’ salary to find a replacement.
3. Letting Artificial Intelligence do the boring work
It is not mandatory for you as an organisation to embrace every bit of technology that is out there in the market. However, some of them can help you in the process of improving engagement among employees. On the mention of Artificial Intelligence, people usually think about losing jobs. That is not the case. As an organisation, you can incorporate AI to cover some of the most boring and redundant work. This will free up your employees to do more creative work and push their talent limits. Alternatively, they are less likely to get bored and demotivated, since they no longer have to do the boring stuff.
4. Appoint compassionate people as leaders for better health of your organization
Employees across the globe feel that the lack of good leadership in an organization is good enough reason for them to quit. Thus, hiring or promoting leaders who are compassionate and inspiring is one of the employee engagement trends for 2020. A leader who listens is authentic and leads by example has a much higher chance of imbibing your shift towards better engagement for employees.
Leaders or managers who show empathy towards their employees and have a sense of dignity when it comes to commitment are more likely to inspire employees. If your organization has such leaders, it is about time you recognize them and promote them with better responsibilities. Needless to say, the lack of such employees can have a negative impact as well.
5. Better employee experience makes way for more engaged employees
User experience has garnered a lot of attention in recent years and for good reasons. Customers and clients no longer just want a product but also expect a good user experience. According to an article in Forbes, if the cost of fixing an issue is $1 during the design phase, it is $10 during development and $100 once it is released.
We can use a similar thought process for employees as well. Surveys show that about 60% of candidates have a poor experience with companies. As an organization, you would need to put in efforts to enhance employee experience for better engagement. This goes beyond the usual benefits or compensation that you offer to your employees. Listening to your employees frequently via surveys will help you address this. You can get an insight into what the employees like and what they would like to see in the organization.
6. Understanding millennial’s holds key to long association with an organization
Millennials will constitute a vast majority of the workforce in the coming decade. It is only natural that you understand this demographic to make the most of it. A few years ago, companies felt the addition of games in office premises, monthly lunches, etc. were enough to keep millennials engaged. However, that’s not the case. While such instances are helpful, as an employer you should be able to offer them something more meaningful to keep them engaged for the long-term.
One of the factors that instantly attracts millennials towards organizations is flexibility. Whether it is working duration, office timings, working remotely, etc. These things provide them with a sense of belonging and it can fuel engagement as well. Another crucial factor that can help you get the attention of millennials is a good working culture. A culture that practices open-door policies for management, opportunities to collaborate with other teams is more likely to keep a millennial happy and engaged.
A common mistake that most companies commit is to wait for the year-end appraisal meetings to give feedback. This feedback can be counterproductive. It gives employees a feeling that the feedback was only for year-end appraisal and might not even have an impact. Giving someone feedback merely takes a few minutes and if done during the year can be more effective.
The lack of a proper feedback channel or regular feedback can bring in a lot of discord and disconnect that the employees feel. Giving them feedback at the end of the year and associating it with monetary benefits leaves them feeling confused. Timely feedback will help your employees work on shortcomings and gaps. This also brings in a sense of belonging and keep them engaged with their profiles. This is one of the leading employee engagement trends for 2020. It will not happen overnight or over one or two instances. But you need to initiate it and ensure that it is followed consistently.
8. Use technology as a tool to improve engagement in employees
Knowingly or unknowingly we are surrounded by technology. The moment we set out of the home, till returning to bed we engage with technology at so many levels. As an organization, you can leverage technology for your benefit. Companies are now embracing the idea of online recognition tools for their employees. This seemingly simple idea helps employees appreciate each other and in turn, increases their engagement in the organization.
This allows employees to share their accomplishments, achievements and create a bond with other employees as well. The usage of good messaging apps also improves communication among employees. These apps allow employees to engage with each other and work collaboratively, irrespective of their location. When you assess engagement barriers in your organization, there are chances that it might be resolved with technology.
9. Improve employee’s productivity by striking a balance between work and life
Work-life balance has been on employee engagement trend for quite some time but never gets old. And there are strong reasons for the same. Offering employees, the flexibility to work at their convenience, at times even without coming to the office can boost the engagement levels to a great extent. Sticking to strict office timings might not be the most effective mode of working for several employees as well.
It is essential that as an organization you incorporate flexibility as and where possible so that employees are not burned out. Estimates show that burned out employee cost $125 billion to $190 billion a year in healthcare expenses. Once employees get a better sense of work-life balance they are more likely to be engaged and be more productive.
10. Incorporate analytics for enhanced predictions and getting rid of bottlenecks
In a bid to make something for customers, employees use a lot of tools and thereby generate a lot of data. A rising employee engagement trend is to make use of the data generated by employees. Companies are coming up with tools to help HR understand certain fundamental issues and even help them resolve the same. The data at hand along with a good analytics tool can help you identify bottlenecks when it comes to employee engagement.
Whether it is instant polls, tools for collaboration, specialized data can help you analyze different aspects and work on them to improve employee engagement. You can even predict the future behaviour of employees using these tools. There are bound to be some noises with a huge amount of data at hand. The major challenge in all this is fine tuning the findings and to identify the actual issues.
11. Innovation via upcoming technologies
Companies are embracing newer technologies for more integrated products and experiences for their customers. One prime example is IoT or Internet of Things. The simple concept connects everyday objects with each other and lets them identify similar other objects as well. IoT is being used at various levels including, GPS or RFID for tracking and monitoring shipments, assets or even properties. Ability to rent vehicles remotely without any human intervention is another such example.
12. Incorporate a culture of recognition and rewards
This is one of the simpler and more common employee engagement trends for the coming year. Employee recognition acknowledges the efforts that employees put in openly, to inculcate a growth culture. If you do not already have a recognition and rewards system, it is about time that you start with one. And for companies that already have a system in place, it might be worthwhile revisiting them.
Recognizing and rewarding your employees is one of the most powerful ways of ensuring employee engagement. There are enough surveys and statistics to prove that employees that are recognized, are more likely to feel highly engaged. Organizations across the globe have seen better productivity, boosted morale, and a lower turnover of employees. However, the recognition program must be consistent and visible to others. While recognition and rewards are two different concepts altogether, clubbing them together can multiply the benefits. There are few reports which suggest that employees who receive rewards such as monetary benefits or redeemable points are more engaged than employees who receive bonus yearly once. In fact, the engagement level is pegged at a staggering 8 times.
13. Inculcating a culture of diversity for a growth environment
Another important employee engagement trend comes in the form of diversity in the workplace. Companies that have diverse teams as well as inclusive teams, will find their employees to be more engaged. Diversity in this case predominantly refers to employees from different backgrounds. And inclusion refers to better employee experience at the workplace along with the environment that they have access to.
You can start by introducing bias-free practices in hiring of employees. Other practices include better parental leaves, equal pay among employees and even exposing employees to un-bias training sessions. It is important to inculcate these into the culture of your organization. Employees get a sense of equality, belonging, psychologically safe and most importantly engaged. Once your employees feel comfortable in the culture and environment that you have created, they can expressive, innovative and happier.
To sum it up, engaged employees are more likely to work towards the organizational goals than mere pay checks. Engaged employees are known to be more productive and increase the profitability of an organization. In fact, some reports even suggest that the chances of engaged employees not turning up for work. Engagement brings in a sense of belonging towards the company along with better employee loyalty also.
There are several surveys and tools which can help you identify the level of employee engagement in your organization. Once you identify that the next obvious step is to look for solutions. To fix any issues related to engagement is a bit more difficult than usual business-related problems. However, they can still be solved. You can take the help of the above employee engagement trends and implement techniques that work for your organization. With a bit of perseverance, initial costs and consistency, you will be able to increase the engagement among employees. And once you do, you can reap the benefits of all the efforts that you had to put in the first place.
An engaged employee will immensely contribute to the success of your company. Whether you have a small business or a large organization, it is imperative to get employees to be enthusiastic about the work they do. Employee engagement programs create passionate employees who devote themselves to their work.
Employee Engagement is defined as a state of mind in which an employee feels completely connected with his work and workplace. Employee engagement meaning can be explained as an alignment in the aims and goals of an employee with the objectives of an organization which makes an employee put in more effort towards his work.
Employee engagement is the creation of perfect conditions at the workplace for all the employees so that they give in their best for the achievement of the organization’s goals.
Employee Engagement is a force that motivates employees to either increase or decrease their performance levels. When you as an employer feel that your employees are not working for a promotion or an increment, rather they are working for the achievement of the organization’s goals; it means your employees are engaged.
Employee engagement and employee happiness: Is there a difference?
You should not get confused with the employee engagement meaning and the meaning of employee happiness. When your employees are content it means your employees are happy, they are satisfied but it does not give any idea about the level of motivation or the level of commitment your employees have. Your satisfied or happy employees will put in that much effort for which they are being compensated or being promoted. But, engaged employees will go the extra mile and contribute to the achievement of the organization’s goals.
Engaged employees will care about the results their work and efforts will bring in the organization. You should always try to build a culture of employee engagement within the organization for the achievement of the organizational objectives in the long run.
Why is employee engagement important?
Let us have a look at the major benefits you can have by implementing employee engagement programs in your organization.
1. Productivity and profitability is high
When employees in your organization like the work they are doing; they will do it more willingly. They will work harder and faster to yield better results. Moreover, when your employees feel engaged they even feel being treated well by their immediate managers or supervisors. This will result in employees putting in more effort to do their work and increased productivity.
2. Engaged workforce is satisfied and content
When your employees are not satisfied or happy, there is a lack of enthusiasm for everything they do in the workplace. This will result in a lack of growth in the organization as well. However, when your employees feel engaged, they feel satisfied with their role and work. This will lead them to produce better quality work and result in organizational growth.
3. Decrease in turnover and higher retention
Employee turnover is the percentage of employees who are leaving the organization and are being replaced by new employees. Retention is the process by which the organization does not let its employees to leave the organization and retain them.
When your employees are engaged, they will be content and enthusiastic about their work. They would not think about leaving your organization and finding other opportunities outside the organization. By this, your turnover would reduce and there would be a higher retention rate in your organization.
When your employees are engaged, they will always be in a good state of mind and hence this will reduce their chances of being obese or having other chronic diseases. Moreover, when you have engaged and productive workforce you will take numerous initiatives such as flexible schedules, free health check-up programs, etc. for the maintenance of good health of your employees.
5. Reduced absenteeism at the workplace
Engaged employees in an organization will not think about missing work. They are enthusiastic and would turn up for work every day. Disengaged employees do not feel connected with the organization and would often find excuses to not come for work which affects productivity in turn.
What do employee engagement programs include?
After the details on employee engagement importance, let us check out the major components or elements of employee engagement.
1. Strengthening of communication with the employees
The employees must open up about their ideas and make their own decisions. This is feasible only when effective communication occurs between the members in a particular team, employees and the employers, etc. By strengthening the communication of employees, you are encouraging them to be interactive which will build trust and develop healthy workplace relationships.
2. Rewards and recognition at the workplace
This is quite an important element of employee engagement. For all the good work done by the employees; incentives, rewards, and recognition should be given to them. This will encourage the employees and motivate them to work even much harder and better.
When the roles and responsibilities of each employee are clearly defined, employees feel connected to the objectives of the organization. To have an engaged workforce in your organization, you must clearly define this framework because when employees know clearly about their day-to-day activities, they feel their work is being valued and is important for the organization.
4. Professional and personal growth
Employees in the organization need to feel that they are progressing both personally and professionally. An effective strategy for the rapid personal growth of employees in the organization should be taken care of to build an engaged workforce. If the employees start feeling that they are stuck in doing the same old activities each day without any growth professional or personal development they will start looking for other opportunities.
5. Great Leadership
The leadership in the organization needs to be very enthusiastic and good for creating an engaged workforce. With the managers being motivating, encouraging and trustworthy employees are going to feel engaged and grow.
6. Good work environment
You should try to ensure a peaceful and attractive workspace for your employees. The traditional work environment comprising of cubicles have been quite stereotypical and are experiencing transitions now. Your employees should have the liberty to personalize their workspace and make it comfortable.
7. Ensure employee health and wellness
You must ensure to include health and wellness in the strategy for building an engaged workforce. Various health care programs can be organized for the employees such as free health check-ups, health insurance plans, group fitness challenges, etc. at workplaces. This would make employees feel emotionally connected with the employers and this will also ensure low absenteeism at work due to health issues.
8. Feedback and evaluation
Feedback to employees is quite important for their growth and engagement. You should encourage more evaluation procedures and brief feedback for employees within the organization to improve employee performance and productivity as well.
Top 5 employee engagement strategies
The more the employee will feel that he is a part of the community, the more he will be engaged with the organization. You need to make your employees feel that their work is meaningful and they are valuable for the organization. This feeling once aroused in the employees will keep them with the organization for a longer period.
Some of the major employee engagement strategies which can be used for building an engaged workforce are mentioned below.
1. Bottom-up thinking strategy
One of the most important employee engagement strategies is to think in a bottom-up manner and not in a top-down manner. The people of an organization are the foundation of the organization and you should give importance to what people i.e. employees think and say. Employee engagement surveys and employee engagement questionnaire can be used to know about the thinking and expectations of the employees.
2. Make your employees feel that you listen
If you are taking the opinion of the employees then those opinions or ideas should be implemented. It becomes quite encouraging for the employees to see that their ideas have been listened to and are bringing some changes in the organization. This will act as a contributing factor to employee engagement.
3. Understanding learning styles and preferences of individuals
You should find out about the learning style preferred by your employees like online training or classroom training. Some employees might be good at individual training whereas others learn quite well in groups. By knowing about these preferences, it becomes quite easier to organize learning programs and courses for your employees.
4. Group learning / Training sessions
Training sessions can become quite stereotypical and boring. But, if some modern techniques can be used within the sessions like discussion in groups and then an explanation of ideas, team building activities, solving an issue in groups and the best one being rewarded, introducing some employee engagement games during session breaks, etc. can be implemented. These will help in creating an engaged workforce.
5. Employee voice
Employees should be free to raise their issues and also put forward their suggestions in front of the higher authorities in the organization. There should be a specific platform or a forum where employees can share their problems and get suggestions from all. An employee engagement app can be used with access to the members of the organization for sharing their issues and getting resolutions.
15 best employee engagement activities at your workplace
There are some very basic employee engagement activities which can be carried out within an organization for increasing the level of employee engagement in the organization.
1. Encourage employee friendship
You should encourage your employees to mingle with each other. Different activities like lunch, meetings or open-house meet can be organized by which the employees get an opportunity to know each other.
2. Collaboration within the organization
You can organize a training session on why collaboration is considered to be vital and how collaboration can happen.
3. Health and Wellness of employees
You should be interested in the health and wellness of your employees. You should organize health check-ups at the workplace, encourage employees to hit the gym regularly, organize a mental health day for your employees, etc.
4. Clear definition of individual roles and responsibilities
Try to make your employees clear about their individual goals and responsibilities. The more your employees have clarity about their goals and responsibilities, the more they are engaged in the organization.
5. On-boarding should be communicative
You can make the on-boarding process of your employees even more interesting and then evaluate the new hires about their learning on the day of on-boarding. This will initialize employee engagement from the first day itself.
6. Recognition for good work
When people in your team are doing extraordinary jobs, giving excellent and innovative ideas you should take the initiative of sharing these accomplishments with the entire organization. This will increase the level of employee engagement in the organization.
You can organize motivational sessions by hiring talented speakers from outside the organization. These sessions can help in bringing the employees together and also increase the level of employee engagement.
8. Potluck lunches
You should encourage more and more potluck lunches within the organization. This will help in bringing the employees together during lunchtime and they would also get the opportunity to know each other more.
Cross-training your employees and making them work in a different role for different departments can be really helpful. This will help the employee learn new skill i.e. up-skill and work in a new role with more exposure.
10. Mentoring and coaching
Continuous coaching and mentoring should go on within the organization. This can be in the form of online sessions, training, workshops, etc. This will also help your employees in achieving professional development and make them more engaged in the organization.
11. Frequent internal communication
Open internal communications in the organization should be encouraged. You can instruct the managers in your organization to set up weekly meetings with their direct reports to discuss their problems, strategies for achieving organizational objectives, etc.
12. Event management
There should be various events organized in your organization such as tech fests, foundation day celebrations, cultural and fun activities, etc. You should encourage your employees to take up this responsibility and do the planning of the events. This will increase the scope of communication between the employees and in turn increase the level of employee engagement.
You can start a new method of making newsletter even more interesting by making it a comical video or a vintage video with some incorporated changes. The newsletter can also come from a particular group that would be formed for this purpose only. Employees will enjoy seeing the newsletter coming from their peers.
14. Promote perks in the organization
You can promote the perks which would be given to the employees for their work. The perks should be designed in such a way that they boost physical and the mental well-being of the employees.
15. Work-life balance
Emphasis should be given on the maintenance of work-life balance within the organization. The meaning of work-life balance is different for different employees. So, you can instruct the managers in your organization to speak with their team members and try to implement certain flexibility in the work schedule and timings for maintaining work-life balance.
Mostly the organization and the employers face a common issue of managing the finances when it comes to the implementation of new employee engagement ideas. In such a case, you as an employer should give the most importance to the factor responsible for the foundation of your organization i.e. your employees.
You should think about the long term benefits an engaged workforce can bring to the organization rather than about the current investments needed for improving the level of employee engagement.
Mostly, the onus for implementing employee engagement programs and initiatives should be with the employee engagement HR. As said earlier, strengthening communication within the organization is an essential part of employee engagement strategies.
The different levels of hierarchy in your organization have their responsibilities and own problems. The upper management in the organization can put forward excellent employee engagement ideas but the middle management might face certain problems in the implementation of those ideas. This gap can be filled up by effective strategies for communication like daily hurdle calls, town hall meeting system, weekly and monthly catch-up with teams, etc.
The employee engagement HR can also initiate some fun but meaningful activities employee engagement activities to be carried out like employee engagement games, open discussions, etc. for building a friendly atmosphere at the workplace. This will increase the level of employee engagement in the organization. These fun-filled employee engagement activities will foster the feeling of friendship and loyalty in the organization and this will create employee engagement.
The best method to measure employee engagement in an organization is by conducting employee engagement surveys. These can be short surveys consisting of employee engagement questionnaire which can give a clear understanding of whether the workforce is engaged or not.
The employee engagement surveys can consist of around 70-80 questions covering relevant topics and should a clear picture of the level of employee engagement in the organization. Employee engagement surveys will also help the upper-level management in the organization to know about the demographic group which is at risk due to employee disengagement. With the help of this information, it would be easier for you to develop further meaningful employee engagement activities and employee engagement programs within the organization.
For measuring the level of employee engagement in the organization, the employee engagement surveys can be carried out by you at any time. You should consider doing a readiness assessment and even communicate the objective behind doing the survey clearly to the employees.
Also, the results of such surveys should be communicated to the employees and necessary action must be taken with consideration to the results obtained from the survey. Necessary actions when taken according to the results of these surveys will be really helpful for improving the level of employee engagement in the organization.
Lets get started with engaging your workforce!
Employee engagement is a chimerical force that can act as a motivating factor for either increasing or decreasing the performance of employees at the workplace. By increasing the level of employee engagement, you are increasing the scope of better customer service and high profitability in turn.
You should necessarily find out the key drivers of engagement in the organization and implement employee engagement initiatives accordingly. As an employer, your investment made into employee engagement today will give you lucrative returns in the long run.
Now its your turn. Tell us what employee engagement initiatives you conduct at your workplace? Type in the comments below and let us know some activities we might have not covered in the blog.