For some companies the Christmas period brings collaboration and forward planning, for others it’s a time of skeleton staff and lapsed productivity.
What separates the two is their approach to employee engagement, particularly over the festive period.
By and large, leaders are realising that annual bonuses don’t really work.
Cash incentives do little for employee satisfaction and even less for performance. Studies have repeatedly shown that non-financial rewards are the way to go for engagement.
That’s because today’s employees are a smart bunch. They’re in the market for development opportunities, sustainable benefits, and support networks. Fortunately for employers, these can be catered for with longer-lasting effect and less financial investment than the rewards of yesteryear.
Christmas is an opportunity to demonstrate genuine appreciation of your people, and show an interest in their wellbeing, on an emotional, physical and financial level.
That’s why revamping your employee engagement programme today will ensure your team returns from their holidays incentivised and directed, rather than disengaged and distracted.
Here’s what you need to do.
Elements of a successful employee engagement programme
Above all, the best programmes align with organisational goals, which could be anything from improving skills or increasing retention. Demonstrating how your initiative will help meet these objectives will validate your business case, increasing the likelihood of buy-in.
The companies that excel in this space – Google, John Lewis, Virgin – are famed for their deep understanding of their people, something that fuels standout engagement initiatives.
That’s why conducting an employee survey is a good place to start. Perhaps it will uncover a widespread feeling that your existing benefits or training need improvement – whatever the results, they’ll point you in the direction of where to start.
Here are the pillars of an innovative employee engagement strategy – with a nod to festivities.
One of the biggest benefits of employee engagement programmes – and something that’ll have particular resonance over the festive period – is their ability to stretch salaries. It’s becoming increasingly easy for businesses to help their people’s paychecks go further by offering automated discounts and personalised freebies.
Health and wellbeing
Gluttony has its way with us over Christmas. That’s why health and wellbeing incentives should play a role in your engagement initiatives from December – and 2018, for that matter. Offering discounts and free wellness classes will make the strive for health that little bit more attainable. Think along the lines of gyms, yoga classes, even home cooking.
As hierarchies flatten, silos should be broken. Software can be used to enable top-down and peer-to-peer communication – even among geographically dispersed teams. With access to these platforms, both leaders and employees can routinely share feedback and recognition, while increasing transparency and collaboration.
Reward and recognition
In line with the perks and discounts mentioned above, it’s also important to formally recognise and applaud your team’s achievements. Gamification of recognition adds an element of fun, and works particularly well when it can be shared peer to peer, as well as from managers. For example, software can facilitate company wide sharing of badges and rewards.
For HR managers looking for an affordable and impactful way to show appreciation, relaxing rigid working hours over Christmas is an ace up the sleeve. This could mean anything from work from home days to stretched lunch breaks in exchanged for later finishes – now’s a good time to workout which is practical for your organisation.
There needs to be a Christmas party – it’s often the only time of the year when the whole company can bond without worrying too much about work. Whether you decide to put on a lunch, dinner, evening or team bonding exercise, the Christmas do is a surefire way to create company stories. Some welcome; some not so welcome.
How employee engagement programmes have transformed organisations
A good programme will transform your performance on an individual, team and organisational level. Although the benefits stretch far and wide, the following factors have the strongest links to employee engagement:
- Bottom line performance
- Employee turnover
- Customer and employee satisfaction and loyalty
- Absence rates
- Creativity and innovation
Rentalcars, the world’s biggest online car rental service, saw huge improvements to their employee retention rates after kickstarting a formalised employee engagement programme involving Perkbox software.
“Last year our staff turnover was 44%,” explains Sophie Weids, People Advisor at Rental Cars. “Since starting Perkbox this year it’s dropped to 33%, and is continuing to go down each month.”
Retention rates typically rise in correlation with platform usage. Sophie goes on to describe how engaged the company became with the software: “Over the last 12 months colleagues have saved over £16O,OOO – it really does give you a great ROI.”
Rentalcars has also seen a 7% uplift in its most recent employee engagement survey. These results were achieved with Perkbox as part of a multi-pronged employee engagement strategy.
Purplebricks is the world’s fasted-growing estate agent. With an exponentially rising headcount, its leaders wanted to show a commitment to their people by introducing a formal employee engagement programme. Not only to express appreciation towards its existing people, but also to differentiate the company from a recruitment perspective.
“We want to be an employer of choice to attract the best talent,” says Gemma Burke, Head of HR, Purplebricks. “Perkbox is a great attraction tool.”
Naturally the ability to prove ROI from employee engagement initiatives is paramount. As well as attracting and engaging key talent, Purplebricks made total savings of £2O,383 and an ROI of 4.O6 in the first six months.
Getting started with an employee engagement platform
Harnessing the discretionary efforts of employees improves business performance. It’s clear from the success of Purplebricks and Rentalcars that a bespoke platform can play an integral part in an effective employee engagement programme.
When people are recognised and incentivised, they work better together. For customers, this enhanced performance manifests itself in better services and more efficiency. An employee engagement platform isn’t just for Christmas, it’s a systematic tool that can help organisations reach long-term goals and achieve ROI.
Request a demo below to find out how Perkbox can transform your business’ performance.
- By Oliver, at Perkbox
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