First, have a look at Google’s remarkable employee benefits program. According to Google CEOEric Schmidt, CEO GoogleThe goal is to strip away everything that gets in our employees way. We provide a standard package of fringe benefits, but on top of that are first-class dining facilities, gyms, laundry rooms, massage rooms, haircuts, carwashes, dry cleaning, commuting buses just about anything a hardworking employee might want. Lets face it: programmers want to program, they dont want to do their laundry. So we make it easy for them to do both.
Here are some somesimple and inexpensive ways to increase employee engagement adopted from David Coethica’s excellent CSR blog:
1. Understand what’s important and meaningful: Right now among your staff you may have an eco-warrior, a Twitter or blogging expert, a charity fundraiser extraordinaire or a fitness guru, who could all potentially add further value to your organization at little additional expense. Talk to your employees, tap into their true passions and look for ways to leverage complimentary skills.
2. Leverage CSR In Recruitment:More than ever potential employees are placing a very high priority on issues outside of salary and traditional benefits such as work-life balance, corporate values, commitment to CSR, and volunteering opportunities. Make sure that your company has established programs and policies in these areas and that they have been integrated into the recruitment process.
3. Provide Opportunities for Volunteering:Offering your employees the chance to volunteer for a charity that’s relevant and meaningful to them is an inexpensive way of adding value to employee packages.No matter how small your business you can spare at least a couple of employee hours (especially at low periods) to paint a fence, read to a child, clean a river bank etc. energised workforce, not to mention the new skills, change of scenery and feeling of satisfaction.
4. Support a Charity : Charitable giving can be done through payroll at very little cost which effectively reinforces the companys ethos of being a good citizen. Each employee can select their own charity or you could suggest a good cause that the company supports formally.
5. Provide Flexible Work Options:There are numerous options including staggered hours, compressed hours, shift swapping, job sharing, flexi time and home working. Larger companies report productivity improvements of 20 30% using these techniques.
6. Make Employee Health a Top Priority: Here are a few suggestions to help your employees perform to their best of their ability: set up a company running/walking/sports team or club, promote cycling to work, encourage, pay for or subsidise yoga, Pilates or aerobics, p rovide fresh fruit and drinking water, or a fridge for employees own food, have regular health topic awareness days, promote Fairtrade or organic products, have a quite room for reading and relaxing.
Dont forget emotional health. People tend not to talk about their own problems but 1 in 6 people are experiencing mental health issues at any one time. If your employees are having problems away from work these will almost always effect their performance in work.
7. Improve the Physical Environment . Corporate grey, filing cabinets, no windows, poor lighting and poor ventilation dont really inspire anybody to do theyre best.Allocating time to talk about work space conditions with employees will unearth hidden gems of ideas that make a difference. Here are some good questions to ask yourself:Do you provide showers or somewhere to change if people want to cycle to work?Are employees allowed to decorate their own work space?Do you consult employees about general work space decoration and colour schemes?Is there adequate ventilation into the work space?Could you have more plants / greenery?
8. Host Employee Events: Most businesses have a holiday event but what about an end of financial year or seasonal event? It could even by tied into supporting a charity. A bring your child to work day may need some management but it will be great fun and a fantastic change to the daily grind.
9. Get an Award : If youve got a great workforce tell people! Apart from the obvious aura given off by your business and its employees, the next best step is to gain accreditation such as a Best Company to Work For award.
10. Get into Social Media : If youre not using these tools you are missing out. Social media should be better described as free PR, free advertising, enhanced internal communication and improved customer relationship management. If managed properly, s ocial media can also improve internal communications. A company Facebook group could provide great free branding, lead generation and compliment (or stand alone as) your employee newsletter. As long as you have a clear policy on how all employees can use these tools during business hours you should see the benefits quite quickly.