The One Small (and Affordable) Change You Can Make Today to Boost Employee Engagement
The way to your employees’ heart is through their stomach.
Employee engagement and culture is the most important issue facing businesses globally. Get it right, and you will attract and retain great staff who are productive and innovative, leading to success and profitability. Get it wrong, and well, you know…
The numbers are undeniable. Gallup’s 2017 employee engagement survey states that engaged employees have:
- 41% reduction in absenteeism
- 17% increase in productivity
- 24% less turnover
- 21% greater profitability
While there are many different strategies and ideas for how to create a healthy workplace culture and get staff more engaged, they’re mostly major projects with big price tags that can be a little daunting for businesses that aren’t Google. Thankfully there’s one affordable solution that seems almost too easy and too good to be true, and it’s as simple as stocking up your workplace kitchen.
In a 2016 study by research firm, Leesman, 155,000 office staff in Europe were polled on what were the most important physical factors for wellbeing and creativity in the workplace. The answers weren’t basketball courts and pinball machines or other quirky perks. What people want most, third only to a good quality desk and chair, was “tea, coffee and other refreshment facilities". This ranked higher than computer equipment and internet! Likewise, in a Fractl survey of US workers, free snacks and coffee were among the perks job seekers favoured when choosing between a high-paying job and a lower-paying job with benefits.
These results are not surprising when you think about how food makes you feel. We share meals with people we love, we eat to celebrate and we reward ourselves with guilty indulgences. Food equals pleasure, but it also fills an important physiological need for fuel. When we’re hungry we get irritable and distracted and find it hard to focus on our work. We’ve all experienced the 3pm slump when our blood-sugar levels have dropped and everything comes to a grinding halt until we’ve refueled.
Providing snacks in the workplace does 7 important things that work to produce greater employee engagement and a healthy workplace culture:
- Build Loyalty When you stock up your workplace kitchen with good quality refreshments, you are demonstrating in a real and tangible way that you value your staff. Having this concrete evidence that they are appreciated generates loyalty to the company. When staff are loyal they are more engaged in what you’re trying to achieve and have a positive attitude to the company.
- Atmosphere Having refreshments on hand offers a peace of mind that even on busy days you can quickly grab a coffee or something to eat. This makes each day more enjoyable, reducing tension and developing a good workplace atmosphere.
- Team Morale Shared experiences, conversations, and relationship building generally occur over a drink or around food. Giving your staff the facilities and opportunity to stop for refreshment will foster a sense of community that could not be achieved during expensive, one-off team-building activities.
- Innovation and Creativity Great ideas often emerge from informal conversations like these. In the relaxed atmosphere and neutral territory of the tea room or kitchen, people from different parts of your business, and various levels of seniority, engage in conversations that may otherwise never come to be, sparking innovative and creative solutions for your business, making them feel more involved.
- Saved Time Having snacks and drinks on hand in the office means that staff don’t need to wander off-site to satisfy their cravings. What could spill out to a 45-minute walk to and from the local café is transformed into a 5-10 minute trip to the kitchen, saving hours of lost productivity over the course of a year. It can also improve team harmony as resentment often builds towards those perceived to be taking overly-long breaks.
- Boost Productivity Stopping for a coffee or tea can boost productivity further because both contain the stimulant, caffeine, which improves brain function. Being productive is very motivating and increases our sense of achievement along with our job satisfaction, making us happier and more engaged.
- Reduce Turnover and Absenteeism A workplace with snacks and drinks is one worth turning up to each day. All of the above works together to produce an environment people want to be in and a part of, reducing unnecessary absenteeism and helping to retain staff.
Smart businesses have shown that you don’t need a budget like the big boys to build a great workplace culture. A small investment in some kitchen appliances and a regular order of popular beverages and snacks will indicate to staff that you care about their needs and comforts, which can be particularly critical to the increasing number of Millennials entering the workforce. This small outlay can ultimately have a great return on investment through employee engagement and workplace culture. Get started today by adding these favourites to your business supplies order.