boosting employee engagement on a budget

You’re not alone if, in this moment, everything seems complicated. After all, the present is a time when you need medical-grade PPE to get groceries and an advance appointment to hit the gym. Once-simple decisions—such as whether to attend a friend’s birthday—now require careful reflection, and I won’t even get started on how back-to-school season has changed…

All of this upheaval is dangerous, and not just because it is being driven by a global pandemic. Where disruptive change has become the norm, it has become all too easy to imagine even the simplest tasks as too overwhelming to tackle. Take boosting employee engagement, for instance. With many teams working remotely for much longer than planned, employers are understandably worried about maintaining morale and, increasingly, are turning to more complex, time-consuming, and expensive mechanisms. Facebook is gifting every employee a $1,000 bonus. Microsoft is continuing to pay hourly service workers whose employment has been affected by the pandemic. Google is funding paid sick leave for everyone on staff, regardless of full-time status.

Don’t get me wrong, these are great morale-boosting initiatives. But they aren’t feasible for the little guy. What’s more, they’re not even the most effective approaches anyway. Even cheaper (and trendier) alternatives, such as virtual book clubs, video game tournaments, and movie watch-alongs miss the mark. What we need to remember is that human beings are pretty simple. A little old-fashioned recognition and genuine support goes a lot further in boosting a person’s spirits than being crowned the firm’s Fortnite all-star. Indeed, praise might matter even more than money to some folks.

Here’s How to Amp Up Morale in 3 Steps…Without Breaking the Bank

1. Acknowledge Work Well Done

Employee engagement is built on trust. When a team member knows that you trust in their skill and believe in the value of their work, they are driven to do more and better. You’ve heard the saying “employees leave managers, not companies.” Think of this as the inverse. Recognition both retains and motivates.

2. Make It A Group Activity

Praise is only welcome if catered to the individual. This might mean a public shout-out on Slack; it might mean a personal video message; or, it might mean peer recognition instead of acknowledgment from above. Looping your team into the importance of recognizing each other’s hard work boosts morale on two fronts: the person receiving praise feels good and the team shares in a common purpose. With this in mind, consider implementing a peer recognition program.

3. Engagement Starts with You

You can’t expect employees to be any more engaged that you are. This means making the time for individual check-ins that center motivation. Organize a one-on-one Zoom call with each of your team members once weekly and ask them both about their weekly goals and how you can be of support. And then make sure to follow up. After all, the more you engage with your team, the more your team will engage back.

As simple as this may sound, crafting mechanisms for providing effective recognition is no easy task. Without a clear plan, your efforts are want to come off as scatter-shot and inconsistent. Our 66-Day Law Firm Turnaround Program assists in designing and implementing sustainable solutions—and not just where employee morale is concerned. If you’d like to hear more, don’t hesitate to schedule a free call with our founder, Molly McGrath!

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