Increasingly, employees are expressing a desire to work for organizations and leaders with a strong social conscience. Employer-sponsored volunteer activities have been shown to increase employee engagement and help fulfill their desire to work for an organization that cares about the communities they serve.
Employee engagement is a direct reflection of enthusiasm not only for their work but also their workplace. “Globally, employee engagement decreased by 2 points, from 22% in 2019 to 20% in 2020, following a steady rise over the last decade,” according to Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace: 2021 Report.
Cultivating an engaged company culture improves communication, boosts creativity, encourages collaboration, and builds confidence in your employees. It also helps reveal your team’s strengths and areas for improvement. Engaged employees not only make it a point to show up to work, reducing absenteeism, but they’re more productive as well. Challenges with workplace engagement depend greatly on your industry or sector, but we can all agree that more engagement is always better.
Whether your organization struggles with employee engagement or not, here are some strategies to help build a better workplace culture and increase productivity.
Offer Regular Workplace Team-Building Activities
Offering regular group initiatives that your employees care about not only fosters a culture of teamwork but also helps employees feel connected to their coworkers and the organization’s greater mission. It’s safe to say that employees who care about and are motivated by their organization’s purpose are happier and more engaged than those that are not. Employees who feel they are part of a larger cause are more satisfied in their jobs.
There are many ways to connect your team, but some are better than others when it comes to building great rapport among your employees. Activities that challenge creativity and encourage collaboration go further. Here are some activities to consider incorporating into your efforts.
- Solve a puzzle
- Create a scavenger hunt
- Put on a contest
- Start a book club
- Sign up for trivia
- Schedule an outdoor activity that’s accessible to everyone
Another creative idea that requires a little planning ahead is a “hack day.” A hack day is when everyone drops what they’re working on and spends the day completing a special project that benefits the team or company. The point is to have people think outside the box by creating something that requires a new set of skills or way of thinking, and best of all you’re accomplishing it together.
Support Employee Volunteer Programs
Solving a puzzle is one way to engage your employees, but there’s something about dedicating your time to a greater cause that really brings people together. Your local community is the perfect place to start when looking for volunteer activities your employees would enjoy and appreciate. Seeing the direct impact of your efforts in the community is extra rewarding. It not only connects employees with colleagues but also their neighbors.
Here are some ideas on how to get involved.
- Organize a public space cleanup
- Host a workplace fundraiser or crowdfunding for virtual participation (choose a unique local charity that everyone can support)
- Match donations through a 5k or half-marathon
- Assemble care packages
- Grow a community garden
- Create a piece of public art
Promote Employee Well-Being at Work and Home
If employee engagement is a direct reflection of involvement, we can’t forget outside factors that impact employee productivity in the workplace. There are five elements that make up our overall well-being: community, career, social, physical, financial.
More insight from Gallup’s report states, “Leaders need to recognize the influence of employee wellbeing and employee engagement on workforce resilience. Physical health, loneliness, financial hardship and community support, among other factors, affect the productivity of workers in both good times and bad. Successful corporations of the future not only will generate profits, but also will generate thriving employees who are capable of weathering crises.”
Recognize the importance of your employees’ overall well-being not just at the workplace, but at home too. Whether offered through their health insurance, wellness program, Employee Assistance Program or a combination of all three, employees have resources through their employment to help them better care for their mental and physical health. They may just need a reminder!
Re-Evaluating Your Approach To Training and Supporting Your Employees
The report goes further to say, “With global borders closing, workplaces shuttering and jobs being cut, workers’ daily stress reached a record high, increasing from 38% in 2019 to 43% in 2020. Leaders and managers at every level should address this as it could lead to increased burnout, upset and disengagement.”
In light of these times, organizations across the nation are re-evaluating how they treat, train, and support their employees. Many know they have the power to engage employees, increase their productivity, and improve their employees’ lives simply through what they offer their staff in terms of treatment, training, and support. Aside from compensation, your benefits package is the next most important signal to your employees that you support them and their loved ones.
How To Optimize Your Benefit Package
Be sure your employee benefit package supports the unique demographic and budgetary needs of your employee base. Think about what you offer. If you’re not sure if it meets those needs, survey your employees on what they like and don’t like, what they want and don’t want, what they can afford and not afford – when it comes to employee benefits.
Leverage their responses and the advice of a benefits consultant to help you adjust and optimize your current program to fit your employee base – or to build a completely new one. Now is the time!
Valley Schools partners with Arizona public sector employers on all employee benefit-related matters including benefit administration, benefit programs, budgeting, forecasting, wellness, enrollment support, and more. Our wellness program, WellStyles, is focused on building healthier behaviors that become lifelong habits. It’s proven to positively impact life at work and at home, as well as reduce claims costs.
For more information, reach out to speak with a member of our team today!