Maintaining a high level of employee engagement is crucial for the success of any business and boosting morale is also vital for increasing productivity and keeping your employees happy.

Happy and motivated staff are better for efficiency, company culture, staff retention and building your employer brand.

But there are times when work can get stressful, and employers might find themselves facing a number of different challenges.

So how do you go about creating an engaged and productive workforce that feels like they can take on anything, even when times get tough?

You can start by following our tips and advice below.

1. Create an environment of trust and respect

It is so important to nurture a culture of honesty and trust within your company and for managers to be straightforward with their employees. If the workforce feels they will be penalised or shamed for speaking up, they aren't going to feel respected, and they certainly aren't going to do their best work.

Employees must feel like they can approach their managers or colleagues when they're facing a problem and get the help they need.

Not only this but creating a culture of communication encourages workers to share their ideas with one another, so they can be more creative and innovative.

2. Arrange regular meetings

Whether it's a quick weekly catch-up or a quarterly review, today's workers prefer to receive regular feedback from their managers.

By communicating regularly with employees, they feel seen, and it gives managers a chance to find out how their work is going and what results they've achieved. It also gives them a chance to praise them for any wins. 

These regular meetings can also be used to tackle any issues immediately before the problem gets worse.

But these don't always have to be formal business meetings held in the boardroom; it could be something as simple as catching up over a coffee.

3. Ask for feedback

It's important to remember that feedback is a two-way street, and it should not just be managers going feedback to their employees.

Instead, it's a good idea to regularly collect feedback from the workforce to find out what your business could be doing better. This can give some real insights into the ways you can boost morale and help workers to be more engaged in their roles.

This could be done through employee feedback surveys which are easy enough to set up online. Plus, managers should use their regular meetings and catch-ups to ask employees if there is anything bothering them or if there is anything they feel can be done better.

This leads to a collaborative workforce where everyone works together to create the best workplace possible.

4. Look out for your employee’s well-being

Whether their mental or physical health, looking after your employee's well-being is crucial for creating a happy, engaged and productive workforce. This is because sick employees won't be working at full productivity - not to mention they could impact others around them if they were contagious.

Their mental health is just as important because stressed, overworked or anxious workers could find it much harder to focus on their responsibilities and could eventually face burnout.

So, businesses need to make sure they're doing all they can to look out for both their employee's physical and mental well-being. Some ways to help them stay healthy, as well as addressing any issues if they do become ill, might include:

  • Offering sick pay to those who need time off work
  • Encouraging schemes like cycle to work schemes to support fitness and healthy lifestyles
  • Arranging discounted gym memberships or having an on-site gym
  • Having an on-site counsellor
  • Offering health insurance as an employee benefit
  • Stocking staff rooms, kitchens and vending machines with healthy drinks and snacks to encourage good health

By encouraging employees to take time out to rest when they are unwell, as well as encouraging fit and healthy lifestyles that prevent illness, you can support both the physical and mental wellbeing of your workforce.

5. Give praise when it’s deserved

As well as giving regular feedback to employees, it's also important to give praise when it's deserved to show your teams that their hard work doesn't go unrecognised.

Praising your employees not only makes them feel good but also inspires them to keep working hard in the future.

And giving praise and recognition to your employees doesn't have to be a big effort. A thank you email at the end of a big project goes a long way. So do team lunches to say well done or bonuses when they are deserved.

You could even run an employee of the month scheme, rewarding one employee each month for their contribution to the business. If your company is quite large, then perhaps an employee of the month per department is better suited.

6. Allow flexible working options

Although lots of companies have operated remotely since the pandemic, as people return to the office, it’s more crucial than ever to offer flexible working options to staff. This could mean offering your employees the ability to:

  • Adopt a hybrid work style
  • Work remotely
  • Take on part-time or compressed hours
  • Job share
  • Work staggered hours or shifts
  • Work flexitime

Of course, the options you offer to your workforce will depend on their individual needs, as well as the nature of your business. That said, you should certainly consider flexible working options that allow staff to better fit work around their personal life.

7. Encourage growth and self development

Finally, one of the biggest productivity and morale killers is feeling stuck in a rut. Therefore, it's important that you create a culture where staff are encouraged to take control of their own career and development.

In order to do this, always offer plenty of chances for growth, such as encouraging employees to take on new responsibilities. Managers should also work closely with their employees to spot opportunities for development and learning, suggesting additional training where it helps.

Employees should also feel comfortable approaching their manager to ask for additional support, training or learning opportunities whenever they feel ready to take the next step in their career - for example, asking their manager if they could be enrolled in a relevant online course or take part in a training event.

Of course, part of this also means promoting employees as and when they deserve it to help them progress to the next step of their career.