Five ways to beat big business at employee engagement

Saul Meyer   23 November, 2017
Employee Engagement

Many people assume that it’s easier for big businesses to implement an employee engagement strategy because of their size, manpower and financial clout. However small businesses have a number of advantages when it comes to launching initiatives that will have their staff feeling valued, engaged and motivated. Here are five ways that we think SMEs can beat big business at employee engagement.

1) Take advantage of the lack of bureaucracy! 

Launching any employee engagement initiative in a large company – such as a reward and recognition scheme, employee discounts or salary sacrifice programme - can be a complex and timely process. From making your case to the finance team, to getting managers on board during the launch phase, things generally become a bit more difficult when there are lots of people, offices and even countries involved (not to mention investors). So, take advantage of your position as a nimble, flexible SME and don’t let bureaucracy get in the way. If you wanted to launch an employee discounts and concierge scheme tomorrow, you could!  

2) Celebrate team moments

Team moments are a crucial part of employee recognition and arguably still the most effective form of social recognition. Whether awarding someone ‘employee of the month’ at your weekly team meeting, encouraging staff to thank and recognise their colleagues’ hard work in person or offering ‘lunch with the CEO’ to your junior stars, these face-to-face moments can have a powerful impact on your company culture. This can be a real challenge for organisations with a large mobile or flexible workforce, yet for many small businesses this is an easily achievable goal.  

3) Tailor your benefits to individual staff

Whether you’re offering a cycle to work scheme, employee discounts with high street brands, or access to sold-out events, the best employee benefits are those that are tailored to the individual needs and wants of your staff. It shows that you know and care about them and that you want to go above and beyond their salary to reward them for their hard work. Many small business owners have the luxury of knowing each and everyone of their team, so if that’s you, use it to your advantage and make your team feel valued! 

4) Say thank you and build a recognition culture

There is so much to be said about the impact of simply saying thank you to your staff. We have feedback all the time from clients that this is one of the most powerful gestures when it comes to recognising the hard work of team members and, best of all, it doesn’t cost a penny. Yet, for many bigger businesses, building a culture of recognition can take a long time compared with smaller businesses, which can effect change much more quickly. 

5) Encourage your team to stay healthy

The physical and mental health of your team can make a huge difference to their motivation and happiness in the workplace. Indeed, it was recently reported that just one hour of exercise a week could help stave off depression. Of course, it’s one thing to simply offer staff discounted gym membership or similar perks but as a small business it can be quicker and easier to directly influence the mind-set of your team and instil a culture that truly encourages mental and physical wellbeing. Consider giving staff a long lunch break once a week to take advantage of local gym discounts, or even hosting a free on-site yoga session.  

Staff Treats is an employee perks platform for SMEs that helps you to engage and reward employees by making their salaries go that much further.

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