employee engagement written on chalkboard on desk

How to Create Workplace Engagement on a Budget

Employee engagement is basically a measure of how an employee is emotionally attached to their place of work. It is demonstrated by the amount of effort they put into pushing the company agenda and the resilience they show whenever the company is faced with harsh operational or economic challenges.

Without strong employee engagement measures, the prospects of a company succeeding in anything are minimal. That is why every employer must strive to create workplace engagement for all employees, with or without a huge budget.

To create workplace engagement on a budget, you have to address the pain points that revolve around employee appreciation, trust, and communication. You do not necessarily have to allocate bonuses or hand out gifts; research has shown that employees in a secure and respectable working environment are least concerned about monetary rewards. With that understanding, all you need to do as a business owner or HR manager to create workforce engagement is provide good leadership and build an environment that all employees love to be a part of. Here is how you can do that:


1. Granting Workers a Voice

Employees feel valued when their suggestions are heard and implemented. Being heard makes them more engaged and productive. They feel empowered to do their optimal best in everything they do.

One way of opening up communication lines in the workplace is having manual/online suggestion systems where employees drop their suggestions on different official and non-official matters. They should do this anonymously to minimize the chances of systemic bias and victimization from their seniors. Another idea would be to ask them directly to weigh in on ideas for growth and development during staff meetings and other corporate events.


2. Recognizing Employees

In a fast-paced and diverse organization, individual employee efforts and achievements are hard to identify and recognize. That is why employers must make deliberate efforts to recognize exceptional employees. You don’t need money for this; you can recognize outstanding employees by offering them promotions, issuing thank you cards, or giving them a few days off. You know – anything to make them feel seen, appreciated, and special.


3. Promoting Teamwork

It is easier to engage employees who work as a single, cohesive unit as opposed to individual glory-hunting workers. That is because people from different backgrounds and with diverse skill sets get the best out of each other when they collaborate. Besides, when people work harmoniously, workplace conflicts become rare and way easier to resolve.

How can you promote teamwork in your office? By investing in team building activities such as sports days, karaoke or entertainment nights, and corporate cooking competitions, among others. These activities build employee engagement and rapport organically. Team building has become particularly hard now that the pandemic has pushed employees into working remotely. However, virtual team building methods are not to be underestimated!

Furthermore, if you are fully or even partially back in the office, you may want to invest in a coworking space. If you’re operating in Boston, for example, you can take a look at coworking spaces in the area.


employees at a meeting


4. Leveraging technology

Managers can now automate complex tasks with bots to reduce employees’ workload, enhance speed and accuracy, and boost employee productivity and efficiency. Using different tools and software, such as WinZip's RAR opener, helps employees to share, download, and extract large essential files with ease, can be a great time saver. Employees don’t have to spend an entire day sending single files via email: They can combine multiple files into a single RAR file to save time. They can then use that time to engage in more meaningful work.

Employee engagement tools, on the other hand, help managers to find out what motivates individual employees and obstacles they could be overcome to boost their engagement, and consequently, staff retention for you as an employer as well. In a nutshell, companies with digital transformation strategies are bound to boost employee productivity, efficiency, and engagement. To optimally leverage the technology at hand you can also invest and implement a virtual network, such as NordVPN, so you can safely share data and confidential information to your team, especially if you’re working remotely.


5. Training and Development on a Budget

Training and development give junior employees the purpose and incentive to keep working for you. That is why regular career development programs are recommended for youthful employees.

Of course, meaningful training comes at a cost, but does it have to be expensive? Not at all! For instance, instead of sponsoring a new employee for a costly career training program, you can opt to pair them with a seasoned, skillful, and resourceful employee for a year. The recruit will learn the ropes under the senior employee’s guidance, without costing you a dime!


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6. Ensuring Safety and Wellness

Employee safety and wellness should be among the core responsibilities of any employer. As an employer, you need to make each employee feel safe from both internal and external biases and discrimination, especially employees from minority groups (with respect to gender, race, religion, and sexuality). In the same spirit, you must ensure that the working areas and conditions don’t put workers under any mental or physical risk.

In regard to employee wellness, you must help them achieve work/life balance and stay fit and healthy. You can do that by adopting remote and flexible working for employees who don’t necessarily have to work from the office. Another way is to introduce paid annual vacations for all employees, their rank notwithstanding. You can also install a gym in the office to encourage employees to exercise as well as a kitchen office to encourage them to adopt healthy eating habits. All the above will foster employee engagement without costing you a fortune.


The Bottom Line

There are too many risks of not investing in workplace engagement. Disengaged employees are unhappy, unmotivated, and unproductive, and all that reflects negatively on your company. You cannot afford to ignore the need for solid workplace engagement, no matter how stretched your budget is.

By Dea Styles, Guest Author | January 14, 2021