It goes without saying that engaged employees are more productive, more efficient, more customer-focused, they generate more profit and they are less likely to leave their job compared to more disengaged colleagues.
One of the major ways to keep employees engaged is the workplace environment, which plays a major role in the performance and productivity of an employee. Employee engagement isn’t a buzzword that Human Resources roll out once a year, instead it should be a key business initiative that helps drive employee performance and improvement all year round.
But what produces an engaging workplace?
Give your employees the space to work the way they want
Consider any of the big tech companies you know and you probably realise that they have plenty of different spaces for their employees to work. This allows the employee to choose the best space for the job – so you should have an open floor space, as well as cubicles and collaborative rooms for team projects. Having a work space with a range of meeting rooms, from small innovation hubs to big boardrooms, as well as other areas for presentations can allow your employees the choice of working environments.
Ensure that your space reflects your company values
Don’t simply bung up a bunch of bean bags, pool tables, random bits of art and novel technology that will briefly keep your employees entertained. Instead, you should invest in your space and reflect your company passions and goals back into your environment. A very formal business that has the fixings for a creative agency will feel forced and create a false environment for your employees. Instead opt for something that suits your companies’ style as it will fit better with your branding.
Investigate how your employees work
Using your internal data, research how your employees actually work and then create the space around them. There’s no point in giving employees who constantly move around an assigned desk, instead you should set up a hot desk area for them to set up when they need to. Likewise, your employees – developers and data teams – who need silence should be given a quiet area in which to work.
Don’t be afraid to improve your spaces
You should consider your physical space as if it’s software – it needs constant iteration, upgrade and change. You don’t just change the space and then leave it for years until it needs a new lick of paint, you should be testing out and seeing what works, and then changing things as needed. Experimenting with office layouts and environments is the key way to ensure your employees stay engaged.
What other factors should you consider?
Beyond the physical space, there are other considerations into creating a great environment. For instance, do you have an effective reward system that recognises great work? Letting employees know when the work they do is exceptional. This can take the form of a verbal acknowledgement, but a written one often works better. And if it includes an additional physical reward, mores the better.
Your business should also be aiming to give frequent feedback to your employees. Effective feedback should focus on what the employee is doing well and what needs improvement. Clear and specific feedback reinforces what improvements an employee can make. It’s long past the time of the annual appraisal, instead you should be giving weekly feedback sessions.
When it comes to hiring a new employee, you should make sure that they have the same values and principles as the company. This way the environment will reinforce these beliefs, and the most engaged employees work in companies who believe their personal values are in sync with the organisation.
So there you have it – some ways to change your office environment and develop more engaged employees. Always remember though, it can be a tricky process that can takes months and years of tweaking to get right.