When the transformation is kicking off, make sure you try to formulate “what is it in for me?” If you do this successfully you will have an organisation moving with you instead of against you.
Encouraging your staff to try new things, be more involved in promoting your company and take on extra responsibilities can be achieved in a number of ways that aren’t just restricted to monetary incentives. However, depending on the employee needs, the incentive most attractive to them may be different. Factors like age-range, personal circumstance and personality will determine what incentives best suit them.
A good place to start is to talk to your employees to find out what would help them feel more appreciated and satisfied in their role. Being paid isn’t always enough, at times people will want to be acknowledged for extra efforts. If they are going above and beyond they want to be noticed for it. You can do this in a number of ways which will increase respect, loyalty and satisfaction. Employee satisfaction means they will happily advocate your business for you and in turn, attract more like-minded individuals to your company.
Areas to focus on when considering how to incentivise your staff:
- Work-life balance
How is your company perceived by your employees and customers? What attributes are seen as the core values of your company? Does your mission statement actually align against the day-to-day running of your company?
It’s a good time to reflect on your company culture when looking at transforming your business. The behaviours and characteristics you want others to associate with your company need to be something you live and breathe as a leader.
“Customers will never love a company until the employees love it first.” – Simon Sinek
Many companies look at re-aligning their values with agile principles encouraging collaboration, honesty, innovation, courage and transparency between all levels of the company infrastructure.
Allowing bottom-up decision making, removing hierarchy (that is hindering communication and collaboration rather than fostering it), creating transparency, nurturing creativity and allowing feedback from employees to be actioned by your leadership team are all areas that can be improved, to achieve that all important cultural shift. Once this is implemented your employees will feel valued and in turn, this will benefit customers.
As part of your transformation plan, you should already have an assessment of new skills that are needed to support this. The transformation is never better than the weakest link in the chain.
Putting in place both group and individual training plans will allow your employees to truly believe that you value them and that they’ll be supported throughout the company transformation and beyond.
Use your best assets, your employees, to help learn new skills across the business. Implement reverse mentoring, peer-to-peer mentoring, workshops or build up a video training library. All these methods of internal training can be inexpensive to implement but need to be planned against everyday workloads so no one is overwhelmed. If you have the ability to offer your employees external training and qualifications then highlight who is in the most need and add this to their personal development plan.
Even just allowing people to leave early, an evening or two a month, to attend free technical or role-specific meetups to keep up-to-date with the latest processes, standards and technological advancements will allow your staff to bring in new knowledge, ideas, skills and enthusiasm to your business. Networking will also mean your employees can spread the word on what’s being achieved within your company and help attract new talent.
Each employee has different needs and views on what work-life balance means to them. Younger employees with no family ties may enjoy spending more hours at the office but want help to afford a gym membership or join a company frisbee or football team so they can socialise as well as staying fit. Company BBQs and nights out also build a better sense of community.
Employees who have partners and families may need flexible hours to be able to fit around their family or carer commitments. Allowing the ability for staff to start/leave earlier or later makes a massive impact. The same applies to people who travel over an hour to get to work and back daily. Is there a case to allow people in these situations to work from home once a week to take the burden off?
The majority of employees are more productive from home and often work longer hours to prove they can be trusted. Just one day a week from home can greatly improve an employee’s well being. Your digital transformation should allow for the tools to support this.
Small changes to a workplace environment can have a major impact on morale. A decent filter coffee machine, access to a toaster, microwave and free fruit to encourage healthier snacking all shows you care about employee wellbeing.
Think about introducing a more relaxed dress code. A strict dress code, where employees are made to wear suits and ties in case of a client visit can build resentment. Allow smart casual dress, or provide company polo shirts for everyone to wear as this will allow your teams to feel more relaxed, increase morale and allows people to be themselves. In turn, this increases the mood and overall communication and productivity. This is also a consideration when looking at increasing diversity awareness.
You will also attract more people to your organisation then you would by enforcing a stricter dress code. Research has shown that creative and technical people will turn down a role based on a strict dress code.
Allow teams to add posters or task boards and anything else they feel will make them feel more at home and productive in their space. Also, give them an area away from their desks where they can have impromptu meetings or just have some thinking space away from a monitor. This helps towards team building and increases focus. Consider upgrading furniture, good adjustable supportive chairs, tables with enough room to be able to write on as well as type at, footstools, back supports and adjustable monitors can all be provided. The poorer quality your furniture is the less your employees will think you care about them.
Consider a ban on meetings after 4 pm. By supporting the need for people to finish their workday on time and not feel pressured to have to stay late as someone has insisted on an hour meeting to start after 4 pm, meaning the people involved may have to walk out if they have trains to catch, appointments, childcare commitments or classes they go to after work. This will support the work-life balance mantra you’re putting in place, especially if you’re advocating flexible hours.
You’d be amazed by the number of times I’ve heard people say “would have been nice if my line manager just said thank you after the extra work I put in”. Saying thank you, and sharing when extra effort has been identified with others, boosts morale and increases respect to the leadership team.
Are you able to offer small rewards monthly for those who have overachieved? Small offerings like $100 of high street vouchers, a good bottle of wine or offer to send them and their partner out for a meal can make all the difference.
Overall incentives can make the difference from employees who see themselves as just staff, to having employees who act as advocates. If your employees are happy they will shout about it. They’ll be the ones tweeting about your latest products or how great something was that day and what an awesome place to work for your company is. So to have a dedicated and enthusiastic workforce you need a dedicated and enthusiastic leadership team with the vision to treat employees as their biggest asset.