Employee Engagement Balances Fun and Functionality in the Workplace

Thanks to companies like Google, it’s become hip for businesses to make their headquarters a veritable playground. But while game rooms, indoor dog parks and on-site spas are “fun”, they may not be the most effective means of employee engagement.

Employee engagement and fun go hand-in-hand; employees consider a workplace fun if they’re engaged in what they’re doing. So naturally if you focus on increasing employee engagement, “fun” will be a byproduct.

A recent study conducted by Modern Survey found that 70 percent of employees are “disengaged” or “under-engaged” at their current job, and only 8 percent are “fully engaged.” The results also indicated that recognition and appreciation, personal accomplishment and career development are all top predictors of employee engagement.

These three factors contribute more to creating a fun and functional workplace than efforts to make work “fun” that aren’t really connected to anything. Instead of offering meaningless perks and activities, it’s advisable to focus on creating a more engaging workplace in these key ways:

1. Autonomy

A major component of employee engagement is giving people enough “room” to do their jobs. This doesn’t necessarily refer to physical space, but more so the freedom for employees to make decisions—within certain parameters—about how they will go about doing their work.

2. Education

Another way to increase employee engagement is by supporting career development and continued education. People value being able to learn new things and improve their skill sets. Offering encouragement and giving employees the tools needed to achieve their professional goals will go a long way toward boosting morale and employee engagement throughout your company.

3. Communication

Communication is another key component of employee engagement, and fostering an environment of open dialogue is paramount to your success. It’s important to clarify your expectations and recognize when they’ve been met, and to encourage your staff to communicate with you in return.

4. Celebration

Rather than throwing an occasional ice cream social, focus on meshing fun and functionality by celebrating success. Fête your employees when they reach milestones and celebrate the accomplishments they achieve as a team. If your staff feels their work is valued and is making a difference in the “big picture,” they will be more engaged.

5. Evaluation

Engaged employees enjoy their jobs and have fun while contributing to workplace functionality. Evaluate how well your work teams are functioning by looking at whether they are achieving their goals. Team members might get along well, but if they’re not getting anything done, they’re not being functional.

After all is said and done, a workplace’s “fun factor” is determined more by employee engagement and workplace functionality than it is by the presence of a volleyball court or personal scooters (both of which Google offers). Focus on offering autonomy, opportunities for growth and rewards for success to create a fun, functional workplace.

What other ideas do you have for increasing employee engagement? Have you employed any specific strategies within your organization?

 

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