By Michela Owen
August 8, 2023

Inexpensive ways to keep employees happy and engaged

It is possible to keep employees engaged if you take a thoughtful approach that focuses on them.

Employee engagement is critical to any successful business because of how much impact employees make. A great employee can boost sales numbers, improve processes, and make a huge difference in the bottom line. On the flip side, an unhappy and unengaged employee can have the opposite effect. 

While the most crucial part of keeping employees engaged and plugged in is compensating fairly and as appropriate for their skills and the market, many skilled workers demand more out of their workplace because they know they can get it.

If you want your business to stand out regarding hiring and retention, here are some ways to keep employees happy and engaged without breaking the bank. 

1 – Appreciate employees the way they want to be appreciated

If you have a super shy person and you insist on recognizing them publicly and loudly, they will likely not appreciate it. Alternatively, if someone appreciates public praise and you never give it to them when they deserve it, that would not go over well either.

One practical way to determine employee preferences around this is to ask during onboarding. Any onboarding paperwork can easily include questions about how they want to be appreciated. Many companies have employees fill out a survey about their favorite treats or hobbies so they can give employees appropriate gifts without guesswork. 

2 – When you can, be flexible

With remote work being increasingly popular, flexibility in a job can be more important than compensation for some workers. This also contributes to a better work-life balance. 

Showing grace and compassion when employees need the flexibility to take care of personal business fosters loyalty and appreciation. Being strict and rigid can invite bitterness or a negative attitude. 

Nobody says you should disregard the rules or let people stomp all over you, but being kind and flexible keeps employees engaged and happy.

One practical way to implement this is by adopting a flexible hours policy. This could mean adjusting start and end times to accommodate personal commitments or offering compressed workweeks. If you want to avoid running a fully remote team, consider hybrid options where employees can occasionally work from whatever location works for them.

3 – Prioritize health and wellness

Healthy employees are happy and productive employees. Promoting health and wellness initiatives shows that you care about your team’s well-being, reduces absenteeism, and boosts morale. 

This also ties into hybrid/flexible options. If an employee is afraid they are contagious or their child is sick, allowing them to work from home keeps more people from getting sick and lets your employees know you trust them to get things taken care of.

Wellness programs and stress management tools are also great ways to show employees you care about them as people. 

4 – Share your team with the world

If you want to hit it out of the park with an activity that builds employee relationships, shows off their skills, and helps the community, consider volunteering as a group. Many places in Edmond and Oklahoma City can benefit from the skills your team has. 

Here are a few that offer plenty of opportunities for groups.

It is possible to appreciate employees and keep them engaged if you take a thoughtful approach that focuses on the needs and wants of employees. Respecting people’s autonomy and talent, valuing their time and energy, and ultimately treating people how they’d like to be treated is vital for keeping employees engaged and happy.

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About Michela Owen

Michela Owen is an Oklahoma native and passionate wordsmith with a knack for creative problem-solving. After obtaining her associate's in business management from Baptist Bible College, she went on to receive her bachelor's of journalism with a focus in Public Relations from the University of Oklahoma. During her time at OU, she was the news lead of OU Esports.

Michela is also a Marketing Strategist at Backslash Creative, where she helps businesses and nonprofits be strategic about how and where they spend their marketing efforts.