How to effectively engage and motivate your workforce


How to effectively engage and motivate your workforce

By Paul Macildowie, owner and CEO of outsourced contact centre company Mpl Contact.

With 12.5 million working days lost due to work-related stress, depression or anxiety in 2016/2017, it’s never been more important for businesses to prioritise the wellbeing of their employees. People are at the heart of any organisation, and happy staff are likely to take less time off work, be more productive and want to progress within the company. It goes without saying that all of these things have a knock-on effect on your business’s bottom line too. Luckily there are many things you can do to encourage motivation and create a better atmosphere for your team to work in. Here are a few ideas:

Rethink your decor

There are many studies which show that workers in better physical spaces are more productive. Something as simple as the colour of the walls can make a difference, as can allowing more natural light to shine into the office. Biophilic design is a big trend in 2018, which involves incorporating nature into the workplace. This may include a few plants here and there, a ‘living wall’ or even an entire room dedicated to greenery! Plants can also have a positive effect on health, helping to decrease the symptoms of common health complaints such as fatigue, concentration problems, dry skin and irritation of the nose and eyes.

Accommodate individual working styles

More and more firms are introducing dedicated break out areas and quiet zones into the workplace in order to accommodate different working styles. Some people may be happy to sit at their desk from 9-5, but others enjoy the variation and having the option to work from a standing desk, to sit on a bean bag or be in a quiet room for a while. Flexible working policies are becoming popular too, allowing employees to work at a time that suits them (often within ‘core hours’), in an environment that suits them – whether this be in the office, at a local coffee shop or at home.

Stress the importance of stress

There are many things you can do to reduce stress levels in the workplace. A good place to start is by looking at workloads and encouraging staff to speak to their line manager if they feel they’re under too much pressure. People seem to have a mentality of saying ‘yes’ to everything, but this quickly piles up and can be overwhelming. Too much stress has a direct effect on productivity and can lead to people working longer hours or working from home in order to catch up. This was echoed in a recent survey which reported that 66% of us Brits log on to our work emails outside of normal business hours, with most of those (91%) using their personal devices to do so. It’s also important to encourage employees to take regular breaks away from the desk, including a lunch break (which so many of us don’t!).

Physical stress on the body should also be considered. The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) recently warned that people are spending too long ‘slumped’ in front of their computers. This can lead to a range of orthopaedic issues relating to the musculoskeletal system, which is where ergonomic design for office furniture comes into play; made with special features they can help lower stress and injury caused by awkward positions and repetitive tasks.

Place emphasis on perks

Office perks are a great way to boost employee retention – and they don’t have to be expensive! Perks could include anything from free food and drink to in-house yoga and massage sessions. Some businesses may also choose to sign up to employee reward schemes which enables their staff to access a range of freebies and discounts. If you’ve had a particularly good month/quarter/year you may consider organising a team day out. This is not only a good way to make employees feel valued, but they also get to bond with each other and work on their team building skills.

Gather and give feedback

No employee is going to be happy if they don’t feel like they’re listened to. Get your team involved with decisions and seek their general feedback every couple of months. How satisfied do they feel with their job? What do they think about the office and the workplace environment? Do they feel there is a good chance to progress within the company? Such surveys can provide insight into what’s working well and what’s not working well and will highlight areas for improvement.

It’s also important to give your staff feedback on their performance, perhaps through regular 121 sessions with their line manager. People value feedback because it provides them with goals to work towards and clarifies exactly what needs to be done in order to reach the next step in their career progression.

Consider CSR

One thing we often hear at Mpl Contact is how much our staff enjoy getting involved with local and national charity fundraising events; we’ve done many things in the past including  BBQs and Macmillan coffee mornings. Nothing creates a feeling a fun like dressing up for charity, sharing baking skills or attempting a ‘fun run’ together. At the end of the fundraising, you can celebrate reaching a goal together and feel more connected as a team.