Employee Engagement Ideas for small and big businesses

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Introduction for staff engagement ideas

Regardless of whether you run a small or big company, you are probably facing a similar problem right now. The problem related to how to further develop your business and increase employee engagement when there are layoffs around the world is the economic crisis, and the majority of employees themselves increasingly feel that they don’t feel safe and are considering a change.

What about company success? What about team engagement ideas? What is currently happening in the world undoubtedly affects employee morale, and if we notice disengaged employees, it immediately affects the company's development and success. When the growth of the company slows down, further layoffs are necessary and history repeats itself. Sounds terrible right? But unfortunately, that's the reality. As we can read at vox.com:

“Layoffs in general are a bad way to run a business. In addition to making people more likely to leave the company voluntarily, layoffs ruin morale for those left behind and lower their productivity”

If an employee feels engaged and job satisfaction, they satisfied with their role, they become more productive, motivated, and loyal. This not only reduces employee turnover/retention but also furthers the development of the company and your business. The problem with employee involvement occurs regardless of the size of your company and while I am unable to help you with the development of your business, I can help you with what to do to increase the engagement of your employees depending on the size of your company.

So what are these awesome employee engagement ideas?

Small business employee engagement ideas

Create a culture of a small company

This will be the first of staff engagement ideas for small businesses. Why? When we hear about something like this, we imagine that the whole strategy of building an organizational culture applies only to big businesses. The truth, however, is that in every company, even one that employs only 2 employees, a company culture is created. In smaller companies, however, since their structure is not so extensive and the contact between teammates is direct, it’s easier for them to control what organization culture and employee experience look like. As part of such an organizational culture, it is worth considering things such as: how employees and managers are to communicate with each other, how often company events will be organized, and how employees will be rewarded and recognized. For example, if we want a friendly atmosphere in our company, we cannot allow it to become a standard that an employee has to address the manager as Sir or Mr. Director especially if we want the organizational structure of the company to be flat. If we, as owners or the HR department, don’t verify this and remind employees of it, it may happen that the employee-manager relationship will be more official and in this case, our company culture will not be as planned and will not be in line with individual employee interests. In addition, considering that we work in a small company, so we have influence over more things and can react immediately, it’s worth checking on an ongoing basis whether our organizational culture is consistent with the company values and goals. And above all, the fact that you are a small company is your big advantage. Small companies where the atmosphere is often more relaxed and less formal attract a certain type of employees who love working in such conditions, and thus their engagement and employee performance, are always at the same level. Therefore, as a company owner or one of the Human Resources Leaders, think carefully about what values and behaviors you want to introduce in the company as a standard, present them to the team, and soon see how everyone (new hires also) works better.

Be available

A smaller team is usually characterized by the fact that it is easier for you to talk to each other, communicate on some issues and goals, and agree on important things. Most often, you can just organize a meeting, discuss a topic, and collect feedback and ideas from the team and that's it. When something happens in the company, just say it in a meeting or send a message on Slack, and if the team wants to report something, just catch you in the office and the problem is solved. It seems so obvious, but in many smaller companies, it’s not. Companies want to grow, so they try to prepare procedures (e.g. onboarding procedures) and formalities typical of big companies, which kills what is most beautiful in small companies: fast and easy communication. An open-door policy for everyone in the company can work wonders. An employee who knows that his boss is available at almost any time, that he can ask him for advice, and knows that when he needs help, he will help him, is simply satisfied with this job (e.g. new hires during engaging onboarding experience). Easy and fast communication helps to make engaged employee, prevent high turnover, speed up careers and the employees feel that they are important to the company, and this affects what? Many employees engagement.

Let your employees develop

In a small business, it might seem like there aren't many chances or enough money to help staff improve and create their personal growth plans, but from what I see, small companies are great places for different employees to develop their role. You might be wondering what I mean by this. Well, in the unique setting of a small business, where the organizational structure isn't as large or as layered as in bigger companies, employees often find themselves taking on tasks outside their initial job scope. Usually, this company organisation procedure helps them achieve their own long-term goals. This isn't just about making do with less; it's a golden opportunity for personal and professional growth.

I know some might raise eyebrows, questioning, "Isn't this exploiting employees by making them do more for the same pay?" But here's where the perspective shifts - I'm advocating for a scenario where team members are rewarded for their willingness to expand their roles, goals, and capabilities. By laying out a strategy that transparently communicates the benefits of taking on additional responsibilities - be it through promotions, pay raises, or both - employees will see the value in stepping out of their comfort zones.

This approach does more than just fill immediate gaps in your business; it builds a culture of continuous learning and adaptability. Where the team can share their employee engagement strategies. When employees understand that their efforts to engage in new tasks or improve their performance can lead to tangible rewards, their motivation skyrockets. They become more willing to embrace challenges, feeling more connected to the team and company's mission and growth. This, in turn, not only enhances their skill sets but also propels the business forward at an accelerated pace. By investing in your team this way, you're fostering their development and cultivating a stronger, more resilient business and workplace.

Let them work from home

When you have fewer employees, you probably know all of them, you know what their lives look like, and you are colleagues, so you trust them. Why not allow them flexible working hours and remote or hybrid work as much as your business allows? Believe me, your remote employees will be delighted. It is a sign that you trust them, and no better thing will make remote employees want to work in your company even more, and that's an amazing idea for improving employee engagement. Of course, various situations in the company can happen and there may indeed be an employee who cannot cope with the freedom given to him and will have to work from the office under control. This is normal, it happens even in the best companies, but until you give this opportunity to your remote employees and don’t trust them, you will not know if it will be an interesting option for them. Above all, remember how their convenience affects efficiency, as we can read in Forbes (one of the best news and top employee engagement ideas source):

“Once your employees no longer have to deal with the hassles of commuting, you'll be surprised at how much more efficient they can be. The hours they spent in traffic can now be spent on work.”

Take care of mental and physical wellbeing

At first, I thought the whole idea of work-life balance and looking after employee well-being was something only the big companies with their hefty budgets could manage. But as time went on, I realized that smaller businesses can do a lot in this area too. It's not about grand gestures like a weekend spa retreat, but more about the smaller, meaningful things that can make a big difference. For instance, offering employees a sports club membership or dental insurance can be a great start. And if those options are a bit out of reach budget-wise, there are still plenty of ways to show you care. For example, giving employees a day off on their birthday, providing a day off for menstrual discomfort as they do in Spain, or organizing team bonding activities or fun events are all fantastic ideas. These actions might seem small, but they go a long way in showing employees that you value their health and happiness. Plus, they're often very cost-effective. The key is to think creatively and consider what's feasible for your business. Implementing even one of these well-being measures can significantly impact how valued and appreciated your employees feel. In turn, this appreciation can lead to a more engaged and motivated workforce. So, it's worth exploring what options fit your company's budget and culture because investing in your employees' well-being is not just a nice to do; it's essential for fostering a positive and productive work environment.

Give and collect feedback

Oh god, this should be standard. After all, our Human Resources Management department is constantly talking to employees, so if there were any problems, they would tell us, wouldn't they? And then suddenly we are surprised that the best worker leaves us, and only then do we find out what he didn’t like about the company and work environment. It could have been predicted earlier. If you have a small team, organize regular 1:1 or do some anonymous surveys and ask your employees about their favorite employee engagement idea, other ideas, and plans for their career. Maybe just collect employee feedback during company meetings and provide them with important feedback if necessary. There is nothing worse for the development of your company if the employees and the leaders do not work in a culture of mutual feedback. Employee feedback is essential, even the worst and most anonymous one. When one side doesn't know about the problem, the problem doesn't go away. It is growing more and more. Therefore, create a company culture of honest feedback and develop together with your team.

Recognize your employees

Expressing gratitude to your employees for their hard work is a fundamental aspect of employee recognition. This gesture of appreciation can be as straightforward as offering a heartfelt "thank you," sending kudos on platforms like Slack (or another example of communication and employee engagement tool), or publicly acknowledging their employee engagement efforts. Additionally, rewarding top performers with something special, such as a gift card, a getaway, or an extra vacation day, serves as a tangible token of appreciation or something like "happy hours" within your organization. These gestures may seem minor and need not be expensive, yet they play a crucial role in making employees feel valued, significantly boosting their engagement with their work. In the context of a smaller business, where interactions with staff tend to be more personal and direct, the impact of such gestures is even more pronounced. For an employee working in a close-knit environment, receiving personalized recognition, allowed to celebrate group success, whether through public praise, a written note of thanks, or a small reward, can be incredibly meaningful. This personal touch not only enhances their sense of belonging but also motivates them to maintain or even improve their performance. It's a simple strategy, but its effects on employee morale and productivity can be profound. By acknowledging the efforts of your team members in this way, you're not just rewarding past achievements; you're also encouraging a culture of excellence and commitment that will drive your company forward.

Big company employee engagement initiatives

Checking if your company culture is friendly and supportive is important, especially if you have a lot of employees. When your company is that big, you're likely to have some rules, a culture plan in place, and other employee engagement ideas that small companies (and employee engagement results) have. It's great that you've worked hard to set these up because big companies need clear rules for everything to run smoothly. But, it's worth asking: do your employees actually like these rules? Do these rules fit what your employees need and what your company stands for? Sometimes, what the bosses think is a good idea might not match what employees want or need. It's possible that the culture you're trying to build doesn't feel right to the people who work for you. If the rules feel more like they're just coming from the top without considering what everyone else thinks, it can make people less excited about their jobs. To figure out if this is happening, it's a good idea to ask your employees what they think. You can use surveys, small group talks, or just chat with people 1-on-1. This can help you understand if your company culture makes sense to them if it matches their values, and if it's helping them enjoy their work more. When employees feel like their opinions matter and that the company's culture fits them well, they're likely to feel happier and more connected to their work and the company.

Introduce less formal communication

Why is this one of the first simple ideas to engage employees in big companies? In a large corporation with 500 employees, the challenges of personal connection and direct communication are significantly magnified. It becomes impractical, if not impossible, to know each individual personally or to engage in direct discussions with everyone. The idea of gathering all employees for a single meeting to gather feedback or deliberate on specific topics is far from feasible. As a result, the establishment of standardized communication protocols and procedures becomes essential, not just for efficiency, but to ensure coherence and clarity across the organization. This shift inevitably leads to a more formalized approach to internal communication. On the bright side, this formality ensures that corporate communications are crafted to be universally understandable, minimizing the risk of misinterpretation and reducing the likelihood of follow-up queries. However, this shift comes at the cost of sacrificing more personalized, human-centric interactions. Such interactions are vital for fostering a sense of belonging and engagement among employees, allowing for open discussions, and soliciting fresh insights and needs.

Transforming the communication culture of an entire organization overnight is an unrealistic goal. Yet, instilling a less formal communication ethos within individual departments could serve as a viable starting point. By encouraging employees to engage in open dialogues with their managers about key issues and concerns, a deeper sense of trust and commitment to the company can be cultivated. For this to be effective, management and HR departments must empower department leaders with the autonomy to oversee these interactions and address the most pressing matters. Adopting a more relaxed approach to team communication can dismantle barriers, foster a more inclusive workplace environment, and significantly boost employee engagement. When workers feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and ideas without the constraints of excessive formality, they're more likely to feel valued and understood. This not only enhances the overall company culture but also contributes to a more dynamic, innovative, and responsive organization. With the right balance of formal and informal communication, the company can achieve a harmonious environment that respects professional standards while nurturing a deeply motivated and engaged workforce.

Let what you do matter

As we can read at www.greatplacetowork.com (a website with tons of effective employee engagement ideas):

“People want to spend their time in meaningful ways. Purpose is the way you make a difference in the world. It's why you matter. All humans seek purpose, and employees are emboldened more than ever to go find it”

But you are not a startup that lives with the vision that it will change the lives of millions of people, you just do your job. You have a huge factory in Texas, so it's hard to convince anyone that your paper cups are a discovery and will change the course of world history. But even the paper cup factory in Texas was founded with a story and a mission, someone is behind it and people work there who also have an interesting history, so make sure that engaged at-work employees feel the spirit of your company. After all, you are a workplace that does something important and useful for the world. You don't have to be a unicorn from the IT industry for engaged employees to be proud to work for you. But how to do it? Show that the leaders, the HR department, and top managers believe in the company's mission. That what everyone does is important. If the directors are bored, disappear for days, and do not know what the company does, how can they infect others with passion? There's a reason many employees would give anything to work with Elon Musk. His passion and mission are contagious and can make every employee so engaged that some would even work for him for free. Just to have this amazing opportunity and work milestone.

Take care of well-being in a simple way

You probably have many more opportunities and a larger budget for benefits of employee engagement than a smaller company/office, but no one will expect you to offer your employees trips to the Maldives as a benefit or other crazy initiatives or activities for 2024. However, if you have a larger budget, you can do more employee engagement activities, and thus you probably have much more to offer in the employee benefits offer. But do engaged employees receive benefits from you that are the simplest and at the same time the best for them? I mean solutions such as the possibility of "workation", remote work, and flexible working hours during a typical workday. These are small and simple things that are not expensive don’t affect the work performed by the employee and can make your company's employees feel recognized and, above all, feel that you trust them. I know that numerous remote employees require even more control, but if you set standards for such simple benefits throughout the company, it will certainly succeed. It may need to be verified after some time, but it's still worth a try.

Trust your team and employees

I wrote about it above, but with numerous employees and thus in various strange situations, it’s difficult to build a company culture that trusts its employees 100%. Unfortunately, the bigger the company, the more controls, procedures, and someone who manages the team are needed. However, try to control employees less and see if they reward you with greater commitment and employee loyalty. Employee engagement will increase. Instead of checking every minute if a team member is working, try to give the employee more freedom and after some time check if this best practice works or not. Believe me, 90% of workers will continue to work hard and become happier and more engaged in the process. And the 10% that will probably work worse? Employee retention is normal. There will always be someone who still needs to be worked on, but the rest should not lose the opportunity to receive a large dose of trust from you because of them.

Honestly recognize employees

The last one is engagement ideas for employees from big companies workplace. You probably have an extensive policy on rewards, salary increases, etc. Every employee probably knows what they should do to receive a reward and exactly what reward they will get when they meet certain conditions in their career. Perhaps you have a range of different rewards on offer, everything is described and automated. But do you remember human relations in all this? Even the best-performing employee who won a trip to the spa, a raise, or a promotion would also like to hear a simple “thank you” from his supervisor for meaningful work. It seems so simple, and there are plenty of companies, both small and large, where employees, even well-paid, have never heard from their supervisor that they are proud of them or that they thank them for their hard work. Most often, they get an email from the HR department about winning a trip and thanking the team for their work and activities, and the manager will pretend it didn't happen. Sounds familiar? In corporations, you hear a lot about exploiting workers and that it’s not worth trying to be proactive about engagement. But what's the point of an employee trying if, apart from the rewards policy, no one notices their efforts? Try to change it and if you need a simple solution, try sending a simple kudos on your internal company messenger like Teams and remember to encourage employees in it.

Integrating external tools like www.thenftreality.com, which offers seamless integration with Slack and Microsoft Teams, presents a novel approach to enhancing employee engagement, especially in remote work settings. Utilizing such platforms for giving kudos transforms the act of recognition into a more tangible and impactful experience. In a remote environment, where the physical manifestations of appreciation are less apparent, these digital accolades serve as significant morale boosters. They not only offer a modern twist on the traditional pat on the back but also actively contribute to fostering a culture of acknowledgment and appreciation across digital workspaces. This method of recognition can deeply influence team engagement, making employees feel valued and connected, regardless of their physical location. Try NFT Reality here: https://thenftreality.com/#pricing

Conclusion

Were you expecting super creative employee engagement ideas and the recipe for an employee engagement program? The importance of fostering employee engagement transcends the scale of your business and your goals. Adopting even the simplest strategies and engagement employees ideas aimed at enhancing employee involvement and satisfaction can yield significant benefits to the workplace and the team. There's no need to overhaul your entire organizational culture overnight. Start with modest, manageable actions to gauge their impact. These initial steps could be the key to unlocking greater productivity and loyalty among your team members. Remember, the success of your startup or the continued growth of your established company hinges on the commitment and enthusiasm of your employees. A decline in employee engagement can signal a halt in business growth, a scenario business leaders want to avoid. Looking ahead, envisioning your business thriving decades from now necessitates a focus on nurturing your most valuable asset - your team/coworkers/colleagues. By investing in their well-being and professional growth, you're not just securing their loyalty; you're setting the stage for collective achievements that will stand the test of time. So, take the initiative to show your employees they are valued. Together, you can navigate the challenges ahead and carve out a successful future.

Would you like to share with us other employee engagement models? Please let us know here: hr@mobilreality.pl If you have an impactful employee engagement idea, we would be delighted to add it to our blog article.