The idea of engaged, productive and happy employees has become somewhat of an urban myth within the mining sector.
While we all know what an engaged employee looks like, we struggle to understand how to get from Point A to B, or we get stuck thinking that the only way is through financial incentives.
Due to the nature of much of the work in the mining sector – FIFO, long hours, uncomfortable locations and more, many businesses seek to motivate and engage their employees through money.
And let’s be clear – money is an important factor, but not the only factor.
Building a culture where employees feel empowered in their decision-making, respected and noticed can actually result in better employee engagement than if it’s sought through a salary increase.
To help you move from Point A to Point B, we’ve come up with a few ways to engage your employees that feel good on your pocket and good for your employee.
Reward input, not just output
Sometimes, a genuinely good idea from an employee just doesn’t work out for reasons beyond yours or the employee’s control.
What that doesn’t acknowledge is the time and effort the employee put in; something that deserves to be acknowledged, if not more, than the outcome.
Even if their ideas sometimes fail, you want employees to keep producing them.
Help them connect
Introducing employees to key clients, suppliers or business people can really make an employee’s career both professionally and personally.
It made lead to important connections, or may show to you that they have the potential to move further in the business with their relationship building skills.
Accommodate for life outside of work
Balancing a stable and interesting job, family and friends, as well as much needed “me” time is certainly not getting easier.
Allowing your employees flexibility to lead both a satisfying work life and social life may mean allowing them to arrive late or leave early to accommodate their children, working from home one day or week or letting them have an extended lunch break to hit the gym.
By giving your employees this flexibility and showing your employees you support their work/life balance, you’ll have employees that are more motivated and engaged and likely to stick around for the long haul, which means more productivity for you and less financial burden and stress going through the training and development of new employees.
Celebrate the success together
Acknowledgement of the hard work of an employee, in front of the team, not only gives you a chance to show your thanks to those employees, but it’s also an occasion to bring employees together and promote an environment of teamwork.
However, if there are general disappointments, share those too.
If you expect your team to perform, it is important you are honest about when this is not occurring.
Make your ideas theirs
It’s a universal fact that people hate being told what to do.
What they don’t hate though, is thinking that they came up with the idea of what to do all by themselves, even if you planted the idea in their head to begin with.
Instead of telling people what you want done, ask them in a way that they can come to the conclusion for themselves.
Take “I’d like you to do it this way” and turn it into “What do you think about doing it this way? Do you think it’s a good idea?” Notice what happens when your employees are included in on the decision making process: they are more motivated and energised to see a project through to its end if its their own project.
Support their passions, both professionally and personally
Are your employees interested in further study, or would like to organise a charity fundraiser?
Can you contribute in some way – whether it’s financially or offering your time or the time of someone with a specialty in that area.
Not only does it give you the opportunity to use the particular skills and interests of each of your team members as they grow professionally, you will also be rewarded with happier, more motivated employees.
Remember your manners
The two most underused and underrated words from employers are “thank you”.
We all know what a good feeling it is to have someone be genuinely thankful for what we have done. Imagine how much sweeter that’d be coming from someone you respect and look up to.
It may seem like an urban myth, but having motivated, engaged and happy employees is possible. What is a myth though, is how you go about it – your first step should be to throw away the idea that money is the only answer.
*Lyndell Fogarty is the CEO of PerformHR, an Australian organisation that works with small to medium businesses across a wide range of sectors including mining, professional services, finance and insurance, manufacturing and engineering sectors.