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7 ways to improve employee engagement this financial year

If you're a business owner, you know your employees are your business's heart and soul. That's why it makes sense to invest in them and look after them as best you can.
Two people talking to each other



Research shows that employees who feel valued in the workplace are more engaged, more efficient, produce better outcomes and unsurprisingly, are more likely to stay with their employer long term. 

When it comes to keeping your team happy and motivated, expectations are constantly changing, so it pays to have your finger on the pulse of these changes and trends.  

From seamless onboarding processes to competitive incentives, professional development and employee self-service - here are our top 7 ways you can improve employee engagement in the new financial year and get your people feeling valued and excited to give their very best!

7 ways to improve employee engagement

1. Onboarding and training

First impressions count and can have a lasting impact on your employee’s engagement with your business, that’s why it’s important to invest some time and energy into creating a great onboarding experience for your new employee from day one. 

A great onboarding plan goes beyond simply handing your employee the tools to do their job – it extends to company culture, inductions into your company mission, vision and values and setting up effective communication channels for regular check-ins and feedback.  

Beginning a new job can be an overwhelming time for new employees, with lots of new information to absorb, it’s important that the onboarding process is comprehensive and is accompanied by the right support from the right people and resources.

2. Professional development planning

Most of us want to feel like we’re going somewhere, right? Investing time in professional development planning is one of the most effective ways to engage your employees, improve performance and decrease staff turnover. It’s important that your team members see a future for themselves within your business. And not just any future, but one that aligns with their career and lifestyle goals.  

Take time to have regular chats about career progression and work-life values. Ask them where they would like to see themselves in 2, 5, 10 years and work out a plan to help them achieve their goals. 

Engaging your people with future planning has been shown to significantly reduce staff turnover, saving you time, money and stress. Talk about a win-win!

3. Employee self service

Empowering your employees with access to manage their personal employment information is a great way to express value, transparency and instil autonomy – increasing happiness and, you guessed it, engagement in the workplace.  

It also significantly cuts down business administrative costs. Think about all the time spent responding to questions about leave balances, processing leave requests and working out how many annual leave days Scotty will have by the time his holiday in Rarotonga rolls around. 

Smartly’s payroll app gives employees visibility over their personal information, allows them to submit leave requests, calculate future leave balances, access their last nine payslips and even tells them how many days until they’re next due to be paid.  We think that’s pretty smart!

4. Recognise and incentivise  

Who doesn’t love a pat on the back when they’ve done a good job? Knowing how to express appreciation in a way that will resonate with your employees can be challenging – and the answer is likely going to be unique to your industry, your business, and the individuals inside it.  

Whether it’s bonuses, benefits, promotions, awards, shout-outs, or company events - a combination of reward and recognition types is the best way to communicate value to your team. Any employee rewards and incentives should be reviewed regularly to ensure they remain relevant, valuable and support the growth and goals of both your company and show your employees a little bit of love!  

5. Employee surveys 

Surveys are a great way to engage your team and get valuable feedback about your company culture. These should be anonymous, and with clear objectives and processes to ensure the feedback is reviewed and appropriate action is taken.  

A well-executed employee survey can provide insights into employee satisfaction and morale, leadership effectiveness, retention and change impact – and support a culture of constructive communication across the business. Plus, by doing them on a regular basis you can see how the feedback is tracking and make any necessary changes. 

Investing in employee happiness pays off, trust us – a happy team is a productive team! In a recent survey conducted by Slack, 9 out of 10 employees reported being more productive when they feel happy and engaged at work, while an Oxford University study found that happy employees are 13% more productive in the workplace. 

We’ve partnered with Best Places to Work, an organisation on a mission to identify, celebrate, and grow the very best in employee experiences. You can take part in their survey to assess your overall employee experience today!

Employees having a meeting

6. Invest in employee wellbeing

Looking after your employees goes beyond supporting them in their role, if you want to really get the best out of your team, you need to be concerned with their general wellbeing as well.  

It should come as no surprise that people who are both mentally and physically fit exhibit higher energy, focus and creativity levels and therefore produce better work. 90 percent of business leaders report that promoting wellbeing in the workplace can lead to positive business outcomes including higher engagement, increased moral, and lower staff turnover rates – ultimately resulting in increased productivity and performance.  

There are many wellness initiatives that can be taken to enhance employee wellbeing – from mental health services and employee programmes to educational seminars, wellness challenges and subsidised gym memberships. All of which will help keep your employees feeling tip-top!

Flexible working conditions have also shown to have a positive impact on employee overall wellbeing, by reducing stress and allowing for better work-life balance.

7. Team building activities

Teamwork makes the dream work, right? Research shows that by encouraging supportive relationships between team members, it can make a positive impact on business outcomes, improving overall employee wellbeing. Plus, good workplace relationships also instill a sense of belonging which is shown to positively impact staff retention rates.

Team building activities are a great way to build relationships in the workplace – consider setting aside time in the calendar for quarterly or bi-yearly team building days or workshops. Include ice breakers, games and challenges which will bring your team together, boost morale and communication and create strong, trusting, supportive relationships.

Empower your people with Smartly 

Whether you’re on our Managed Payroll or DIY Payroll plan, Smartly’s automated payroll software will save you hours of time (and stress) not just processing payments but calculating leave and managing requests without the faff and paperwork. 

Plus, our employee self-service features give your team the tools they need to manage their personal information, payslips and leave requests with full transparency and autonomy. 

And right now, you can save with our end of financial year offer! Sign up before 31 May 2024 using promo code EOFY24, and you’ll get $20 off your monthly base fee until 31 May 2025! That’s 12 months of simple and secure payroll from as little as $20 per month.  

To learn more about Smartly, book a free demonstration with one of our team today.  


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