Unhappy and disengaged staff can be a business’ worst nightmare. Any organisation that has had to deal with the fallout of a disgruntled staff member, or former staff member, badmouthing it on social media or in anonymous online workplace forums knows this only too well. It leads to a negative atmosphere internally and can also have a devastating impact on reputation and, therefore, the actual bottom line.
On the other hand, a happy and engaged workforce can be the very best advocate a business could ask for. And this can be across the board – both in regards to its peers in its particular industry and with customers. Keeping staff positive can be something of a challenge, however. And the experiences of the last 18 months have made this even more challenging.
With many workers feeling isolated and cut off from their workplaces and co-workers, making sure that they still feel engaged with the organisation and are a productive and important part of it has been a struggle. Organisations that employ teams of field service workers, however, have an advantage in this regard. This is business as usual for such outfits, so many will be adept at strengthening those bonds between worker and workplace. And more than this, they know that an engaged and positive thinking employee will radiate those feelings to those with whom they come into contact. An engaged employee leads to an engaged customer, which leads to more business. It’s a simple enough equation.
But how to ensure that engagement in the first place? That’s the trick. The following tips work for remote workers and field service employees alike:
Acknowledge and reward
In pretty much every study of employee satisfaction, remuneration and salary are, surprisingly, not cited as the most important factors. Time and again, employees will say it’s not simply being paid more that ensures their enjoyment of a role. What is important though is being recognised and acknowledged for a job well done. When an employee’s achievements are noted, shared and celebrated, this is the key. Though a bottle of wine or a couple of Gold Class cinema tickets for someone whose productivity has risen spectacularly or has managed to, say, complete the most successful site visits in a month will always go down a treat.
If the idea of a whole team get-together at a paintball facility fills you or your staff with horror, then don’t do it. But also don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Getting colleagues and workmates together in an informal setting can be a big boost for individual engagement levels. But what needs to happen first is making sure you really know your employees, what sort of people they are and what they like. And to aid with this, work on your…
This is a big part of acknowledgement and reward, but also any other strategy to keep your staff on board and engaged. It could be as simple as sending round an all-office email announcing that a joint staff activity is being arranged, but suggestions are invited.
On a practical level, communication is vital if you want to keep your employees driving your business forward. Staff are not mind readers, especially if they don’t spend much time in the office on a day to day basis. Share the company’s vision and plans in the short, medium and long term. Explain what your hopes are for the organisation’s future and the way you intend to get there. Employee engagement follows employee buy-in, so if the overarching strategy is clear and, importantly, also equitable, even bad news can be delivered without too much negative impact.
And the team you send out into the outside world will be one that comprises employees who are advocates, knowledgeable and always engaged.