Use these ideas as a starting point to help employees decrease stress and increase happiness.
Stress is through the roof these days. Layoffs and cutbacks are happening left and right with a backdrop of a global pandemic and an economic downturn. From employees worrying about job security and getting sick themselves, to kids learning remotely from home and to supporting older family members who still aren’t able to leave the house, everyone has a lot going on.
When there are life stressors floating around, it’s easy to see how employee enthusiasm and engagement can drop. Chances are you’re spending a good chunk of your days thinking about the future of your small business rather than focusing on the tasks at hand, right? So too are your employees.
However, all is not lost. There are things you can do to boost employee engagement and enthusiasm even during these trying times. While the key is to figure out what best meets the unique needs of your small business and roster of employees, these tips and tricks are a good jumping off point.
Hire the right people for the job
If you hire and retain people whose skills are suited for the job and who are at the right point in their career for the role, they’ll naturally be more engaged in and enthusiastic about the work they’re doing. Not only does appropriate hiring help keep employees focused and productive, it reduces the costs you have to spend to rehire and retrain people when mismatched hires leave for a better fit.
Provide a clear purpose and mission
This is especially true when it comes to younger generations like millennials and Gen Z, but most people want to work for more than just a paycheck — they want to work towards something bigger than themselves. Many employees want to know that the 40 plus hours a week they put into their work matters. While you can’t help individual employees figure out what matters to them personally, what you can do is chart out a clear, purposeful mission for your small business at large as well as the individual teams that comprise it.
Whether your mission is a bit outdated and it’s time to revamp it for today’s era, or you just never got around to concretely setting one, make sure that you do what you can to show how the work that your company does makes a difference in the world.
Give them the tools they need to succeed
Employee engagement and enthusiasm can plummet when you don’t give your staff the proper tools that they need to do their job efficiently, effectively, and well.
Employee engagement and enthusiasm can plummet when you don’t give your staff the proper tools that they need to do their job efficiently, effectively, and well. In the remote work times that COVID-19 has sparked, there’s a new need for virtual tools that most teams didn’t need when they were working beside each other in an office 5 days a week.
Some tools you can provide are:
- Increased digital storage
- A stipend for a beefed up home internet connection
- An investment in digital communication software
Take a look at what you can provide to your employees to help them succeed since few things will ruin engagement more than being set up to fail.
Consistently conduct employee surveys
Not sure what it is that your employees need? Well then, it’s time for you to survey your employees. The best thing is that you can design and send out a survey to gather whatever information you’re looking for. You can ask employees about the tools and professional development opportunities they want, how working remotely is going for them, and so much in between.
Design and send out a survey to gather whatever information you’re looking for. You can ask employees about the tools and professional development opportunities they want, how working remotely is going for them, and so much in between.
Focus on rewarding and recognizing their work
We’ve all been in a job where our hard, earnest efforts went practically unrecognized. It’s hard to stay jazzed about your work when it feels like it doesn’t matter. Luckily, this problem can quickly be rectified.
To recognize employees’ work, you can:
- Make sure to tell your employees directly when they’ve done a good job
- Be clear in companywide emails about the impact that teams are having on the business’s goals
- Start an old-fashioned employee of the month program
Remember — a little effort goes a long way.
Coach your company’s managers and leaders
That said, recognition can (and should) come from more than one place. Of course recognition from the boss feels extra special, but your employees should be getting consistent recognition and rewards from not only their direct managers and supervisors, but from their peers and teammates as well.
You can formalize this in official 360 review processes that require praise alongside constructive criticism, but it can also come in informal ways as well through ad hoc conversations. The key is to ensure that you’ve given your business’s managers and other leaders the training and coaching they need to be able to recognize good work when they see it, call it out effectively and appropriately, and encourage those under their charge to do the same for their peers and teammates.