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How to boost employee engagement with meal vouchers

February 28 / Australia

Employee engagement can mean different things to different organisations, depending on their overall mission and values. It can also show up in many different ways, but having employees who are passionate about and committed to the work they’re doing is a strong indicator of high engagement.

According to a Gallup study, businesses with engaged employees have 81% lower absenteeism, 23% higher profitability, and 18% higher productivity, among other positive performance outcomes. This study also found that business units that score in the top half of employee engagement more than double their odds of success. Businesses in the 99th percentile of employee engagement have nearly five times the success rate of those in the first percentile.

Employee engagement is an important part of any organisation’s success. From team meetings in the office to remote working, keeping your employees connected to one another and committed to the work they’re doing is vital to productivity and profitability. A simple gesture such as providing a healthy meal for a team lunch or scheduling a virtual happy hour can give your team the opportunity to continue to build strong relationships – even if they aren’t in the same room.

Motivate employees by solving meaningful problems

In an article detailing how to keep remote employees motivated and engaged, Harvard Business Review encourages business leaders to task teams with the opportunity to experiment and create impactful work. 

While this may not be a quick fix, or even easily identifiable, it encourages leaders to ask employees what they feel the organisation needs. Some questions to start with include: 

  • How can we improve our customer experience? 
  • What is broken that we can fix? 
  • What is a meaningful change we can make, even when things are uncertain?
  • Why are these problems important for us to focus on? 

This could include more simplified fixes, like improving email communication with customers, and more enhanced updates, such as adding a new product to fill a gap in your offerings.

Encourage strong relationships with colleagues

While employee engagement is often viewed as solely an HR initiative, managers and leaders throughout your organisation should be actively involved. Gallup reports that “managers affect 70% of the variance in team engagement.” 

It’s important to encourage managers to take an even more proactive approach to employee engagement, asking questions about topics such as professional development, regular goal setting, and feedback. Managers are responsible for the relationship between them and their employees, and that relationship greatly affects an employee’s experience and their overall engagement level. 

This points to an opportunity for further investment in management training. It’s also an opportunity to encourage employees to get to know their leaders and one another. 

While teams may not be able to meet in person, encourage managers to book time for virtual team-building activities. Something as simple as a team lunch, where employees can choose their favourite meal for delivery, can go a long way toward building relationships and driving collaboration.

Focus on holistic wellness

According to Accenture, wellness is a key component for keeping employees engaged – especially with younger generations of workers. Employees value their health, and businesses value healthy employees, says Accenture. Employee wellness programs can have as high as a six-to-one return on investment. 

Accenture recommends focusing on stress-reduction technologies and cultivating a human-first culture. Adding health technology might mean providing access to a meditation app, wearables, or a stipend for healthy meals or a gym membership; a human-first culture is a larger initiative. 

From the top down, that means an empathetic workplace with the opportunity to send feedback upward. Good mental and physical health are key to keeping employees safe and engaged members of your workforce.

What’s the first step?

There’s no need to completely overhaul your employee engagement efforts. Instead, work with employees to determine what is most desired to increase engagement and impact. Begin by communicating with employees about their needs. This might take the form of a company-wide survey, but it should also include conversations between employees and their managers. 

Take time to explore opportunities; what are employees looking for? A flexible working environment? More professional development? Team collaboration? Wellness opportunities? Listen to your employees – they can provide the greatest insight when it comes to what will help them remain engaged and important members of your organisation. 

Whether employees are in an office or working remotely, their engagement is largely driven by employee relationships. You can strengthen relationships throughout the employee experience. A few options to encourage engagement include: 

  • Recruiting meals: Get started on the right foot with potential new hires by sending a voucher for a meal during interviews, like Shopify does. After all, the employee experience begins with the recruiting process.
  • Virtual events: Include sharing meals together at these events (remote or in-person), like Enchanta has done.
  • Meal programmes: Encourage wellness by implementing an employee meal programme so teams don’t need to worry about cooking. GoodRx, a healthcare savings resource, has implemented meal offerings to prioritise the well-being of their team and their families.
  • Surprise and delight: Offer employees a one-off reward, give gifts of appreciation, or surprise and delight them.

As you look to update your initiatives, make sure you’re putting the needs and well-being of your employees at the forefront, creating a human-first organisation. Providing your workforce with ongoing perks such as meal programmes or membership subscriptions is a great way to keep your team well fed and valued. Whether your employees are working remotely or fully back in the office, the Uber for Business platform can help you leverage Uber Eats and more to feed and reward your team on a local, regional or global scale.

Learn more about Uber Eats and how to set up Vouchers to keep your employees engaged and well fed.