According to research by the Hay Group, engaged employees are up to 43% more productive than disengaged employees. A Towers Watson study showed that highly engaged organizations improved 19.2% in operating income while low engagement organizations saw a 32.7% decrease. These numbers are significant but they aren’t useful if your organization doesn’t understand how to motivate and engage your employees.
While different employees will have individual motivators, there are some factors that will engage the majority of workers. Employees have an inherent desire to be connected with their organization. They want to do worthwhile work and feel valuable to the business. Workers often feel this way during the first six months of employment, which is referred to as the honeymoon period. In fact, research by Gallup shows that employees are at their peak engagement levels during this initial six months. Organizations should use this time wisely to get to know new employees and help them connect with their new coworkers and the company’s mission and values. A simple way to do this is with a social solution. Managers can get to know their employees and new hires can start learning about the organization and meet coworkers from day one. By consistently using social software, these connections between coworkers and between employees and their managers can continue to grow along with engagement.
Employees also crave rewards and recognition for their hard work. While financial incentives are nice, recognition from direct managers and from the leadership team are equivalent if not greater motivators, according to a McKinsey survey. With social, it’s easy for managers to recognize their employees and it also enables peer recognition. Share the story of how an employee supported your efforts or closed a major deal and let everyone acknowledge the success.
Motivation is not one size fits all. Think about your organization’s culture and the type of motivators that your employees will respond to, given that culture. If you’re trying to create an open, transparent organization, use social to learn about your employees, build relationships, and give recognition for achievements to increase motivation and engagement in your company.