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Boost Employee Engagement with Incentives that Work

If you ever doubted the importance of keeping your employees engaged, take note: a 2017 Gallup poll showed that teams with high employee engagement rates enjoy 21% greater productivity. Companies relying on incentive programs reported a 79% success rate in achieving their goals; research has also shown that well structured incentive programs can boost employee performance by 44%. If you are keen to set up an effective incentive strategy, be inspired by research indicating which types of programs are proving to be effective in the current workforce. 

Break Time Works
A survey carried out recently by Tork revealed that “North American workers who take a lunch break every day score higher on a wide range of engagement metrics, including job satisfaction, likelihood to continue working at the same company, and likelihood to recommend their employer to others.” Some bosses look down on those who take regular lunch breaks when evaluating their job performance, yet the statistics indicate that the opposite should be true. Encouraging lunch breaks in common areas promotes employee interaction and reduces employee-boss tension, by encouraging employees and managers to discuss non-work-related subjects in an informal setting.

Transport Benefits
Employers who provide transportation benefits for their workforce attain many benefits, including the attraction and retention of workers, reduced payroll taxes, reduced gas emissions and energy conservation, and demonstration that the company supports the work-life balance. There are many ways that companies can ease transport burdens for employees, including taking part in a Qualified Transportation Fringe Benefit Program, which will allow workers to deduct transport costs as an employee benefit. The provision of company cars or vehicles, to be shared by employees for business trips, is another incentive that can work well, as can carpooling. Employers can support shared transport in various ways – by purchasing a company vehicle or shuttle or sponsoring carpooling efforts, for instance. Sustainability matters to employees, with many studies showing that millennials in particular are keen on forming part of teams that make a difference. Start doing so by lowering your team’s carbon emissions.

Offering Continued Development
A Gallup poll has found that 87% of millennials (and 69% of non-millennials) wish to develop their skills, continue to take part in challenges, and wish to stay at the top of their game by continually learning new skills. Provide employees with classes, workshops and other training opportunities, but also make sure to set up a mentoring program, which will enable new employees to learn the ropes from senior ones. When developing your training strategy, feedback from employees is key. Each employee is the best source of information regarding the type of training both they and the company as a whole can benefit from.  

Encouraging Employee Autonomy
Pick the right employees and allow them to do what you hired them for. As noted in Entrepreneur, ‘micromanaging is murder’ in terms of employee engagement and productivity. It creates stress and makes employees feel undervalued. Ask for employee input when it comes to setting goals and determining procedures, and focus on results rather than on control.

Flexible Working
Flexible working is in demand; around 70% of UK employees state that flexibility makes a job more attractive, and 92% of millennials prioritise this quality when job hunting. Greater flexibility can involve many things; indeed, it can be personalised to each employee. Thus, those who live far may benefit from occasional remote working. Others might wish to work to a flexi-timetable, putting in some overtime to gain days off. Your company will need to provide the technology required to support teams that include remote workers. Video conferencing, shared workspaces and cloud based apps will allow employees to schedule meetings, work on shared documents, and programme social media uploads and other online marketing material. 

We have mentioned just a few ways to incentivise staff, yet the ultimate way to discover what works for your organization, is by directly asking your organization’s employees. Offering greater flexibility, learning opportunities, and meaning can go a long way towards boosting loyalty. However, employees should ideally provide input regarding specifics, including what type of training they need to achieve their goals more efficiently. 

Author: Sally Collins

Sally Collins is a professional freelance writer with many years experience across many different areas. She made the move to freelancing from a stressful corporate job and loves the work-life balance it offers her. When not at work, Sally enjoys reading, hiking, spending time with her family and travelling as much as possible.