Employee Engagement Ideas for Your Small Business

employee engagement ideas
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Liz Strikwerda

Content strategist and corporate blogger (2000+ posts). Her work has been featured on G2's Learning Hub, Human Resources Today, Better Buys and over 500 business websites. She plays bluegrass mandolin and enjoys sailing her catamaran and hiking in the red rock wilderness of southern Utah. Connect with me on LinkedIn

Looking for employee engagement ideas? Check out what these employers are doing.

Employee Engagement Ideas From 6 Great Places to Work

1. Chile’s

The restaurant chain ditched their “no visible tattoos” dress code policy. Plus, the company president does Facebook live videos with employees. They share and discuss both positive and negative company reviews from Glassdoor.

2. Cisco

A staff member suggested giving employees their birthdays off. Cisco leadership agreed and it’s now company policy. They also provide employees with five paid days to do volunteer work.

3. Faction

Faction presents an annual awards night. At the event, they recognize employees and celebrate company successes. Past prizes include an all-expenses-paid vacation and a Rolex watch.

4. Southwest Airlines

Each week, Southwest’s CEO gives a shout-out to recognize star employees. In addition, Southwest’s magazine highlights a top-performing employee each month. A few years ago, Southwest decided to re-design staff uniforms with employee input. Southwest allowed all employees to apply to collaborate on the new uniforms. Those who worked on the design team said it was an “unforgettable experience.”

5. Dreamworks Animation

At company parties and events, employees are invited to share their personal hobbies and interests. Dreamworks employees say they “feel that they are more than just the work they do for the company.”

6. Salesforce

The software company provides 56 hours of paid time to volunteer for causes of their employees’ choosing. Salesforce also established a program called Equality Groups, which are employee-led groups organized around similar interests or backgrounds. A Wellness Reimbursement Program provides workers $100 each month to use any way they want.

Want to Improve: Ask Your Employees

The best employee engagement ideas come from your own employees. You can elicit ideas by conducting “stay” interviews (as opposed to “exit” interviews). This is best done by someone in Human Resources. You want your staff to be candid about their relationships with their manager and team members.

10 questions to ask employees during a “stay” interview:

  1. Did onboarding set you up for success?
  2. How could we improve onboarding?
  3. Do you have enough training to succeed?
  4. Do you use your health benefits? If not, why?
  5. Do you understand how to access HR and payroll information?
  6. Does your manager recognize your contributions?
  7. Do you know what career paths are available?
  8. Do you understand how your work contributes to the company’s overall success?
  9. Where do you see yourself in 3 years?
  10. How can we improve?

Construction-equipment maker Caterpillar’s increased employee engagement resulted in $8.8 million annual savings from decreased attrition, absenteeism and overtime in a European plant, and a $2 million increase in profit plus a 34 percent increase in highly satisfied customers in a start-up plant. (SHRM)

WorkforceHub Can Help

You can manage employee engagement programs with a unified small business HR system like WorkforceHub from Swipeclock.

  • Employee surveys
  • Stay interviews
  • Recognition wall
  • Anonymous suggestion box
  • Wellness programs
  • Perks and prizes
  • Announcements and events

Note that this list only includes the engagement tools. WorkforceHub handles all Human Resources functions including timekeeping, onboarding and PTO tracking.  Of course, every HR function influences engagement. When employees have a self-service HR portal, it transforms your company culture. When employees can access their timecard and pay stubs any time, they trust they will be paid correctly. Being able to take time off is a big deal. With WorkforceHub, employees can request PTO when they are home planning a vacation. Unstable schedules are notorious for killing engagement. Managers can publish schedules in advance in the WorkforceHub mobile app. Then employees can plan their lives around their schedules. If managers allow employees to trade shifts with each other, everyone is happier. It’s also essential to have managers who recognize employees for their contributions. Engaged managers drive employee engagement on their teams.

HR technology and processes are integral to employee engagement. WorkforceHub helps increase engagement for small business workforces. To request a demo, visit WorkforceHub.

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