It was Doug Conant, former Fortune 500 CEO and New York Times Bestselling Author, that said it best: “To win in the marketplace, you must first win in the workplace,” and yet, according to PDT’s 2015 State of Employee Engagement in South Africa survey, there’s an increasing disconnect emerging between employee and employer. What’s even more disturbing is that South African executives fail to see how employee engagement impacts their business. If you have disengaged employees you’ll find more absenteeism in the company, a loss in productivity and downtime, disengaged employees will eventually affect your staff turnover and create recruitment costs for the company. Therefore it’s as clear as day that you need to do everything in your power to ensure your employees stay motivated. Follow our unconventional tips to keep your employees happy throughout the year.

Give off good vibes

A great place to start, is to get a feel for the vibe your office is putting out there. Undercover Boss is the best example to illustrate this point. It’s a CBS reality show that takes bosses from different companies and puts them to work as a regular employee in their own companies. They end up learning things they never would’ve if they’d stayed up in their pristine towers. You need to dig a little deeper to understand what’s going on behind the scenes. Your ultimate goal is to cultivate an environment in which employees feel praised, unafraid to socialise with colleagues, encouraged to do their best and thrive in a company culture where there’s room for career advancement. Build trust with your team because it’s the foundation for employee motivation. Provide all of this and employees will want to stay.

Offer meaningful incentives

You need to understand that each employee is motivated by different things. To make the most of your employee motivation program you need to ensure your incentives are relevant to the right people. Some are motivated by career growth, some are motivated by making an impact on the organisation and others are motivated by incentives. You need to understand your employees personal as well as professional goals. To boost employee motivation plan a contest for a set period of time with the winner getting a money incentive, extra leave, a trip to their favorite restaurant, concert tickets or anything they personally want, (within a reasonable budget of course).

Give credit where credit is due

According to The Global and Real-Time State of Employee Engagement that shows constantly changing data, 65% of employees feel that they don’t get enough praise for the hard work they do. “Not getting recognition for your work when you know you deserve it is one of the most frustrating things that can happen in an organisation.” Engaged employees are hard to come by and even harder to retain, especially if they feel undervalued. Use stand-ups as a platform to air their achievements, or online portals. Some employees may prefer private validation, to figure out each employee’s preference, all you have to do is ask.  

According to Recruit Loop, you can create an employee praise calendar to help you keep up. With a busy schedule, remembering to acknowledge a job well done can easily fall by the wayside. But you don’t want your employees feeling that the company is being ungrateful. A thank you holds so much power, never underestimate it.

Let loose

There’s nothing wrong with allowing a few pranks to happen in the office. Let your employees have a little fun, this allows for innovation and creativity, which is contagious. If one employee feels it, soon they all will. Cover someone’s desk in bubble wrap or sticky notes. Or encourage your employees to pursue a hobby and and allow room for them to explore it. For instance offer them a ‘bonus leave’ day where they can pursue their passions. Organise fun days such as an office dress-up. Be mindful of special days in the coming year such as Valentine’s day, don’t just let your employees come to work like it’s a regular day – plan something special. You could tell your employees to dress in pink and expect a few treats during the day. These may seem like small initiatives, but the effect it’ll have on boosting employee motivation is significant.

The fun doesn’t stop there. For more insightful business tactics to employ in the New Year, download our comprehensive business management guide below.  

Image Credit: Corporate Essentials