The month of Ramadan is a period of religious observance, and includes fasting from sunrise to sunset. The month brings new challenges for many organisations, including a flurry of leave requests, reluctance to attend training events, conferences or offsite meetings, and a drop in productivity levels. However, the biggest day-to-day hurdle often is keeping employees engaged and motivated.Continued research shows that employee engagement is a big problem for businesses, not just during slow seasons but round the year. An engagement study by Psychometrics in 2015 revealed that 69% employees said engagement was a problem in their organisation. Experts agree that employee engagement is the most researched topic by businesses.
Try these simple ways to keep employees motivated through Ramadan:
Encourage employees to give backThe Dale Carnegie Employee Engagement Study revealed that 54% employees who were proud of their company’s contributions to society were engaged within their company. Ramadan is synonymous with self-reflection and introspection, making it the perfect time to encourage employees to give back to society. Amp up engagement by encouraging people to work in teams – it could be by setting up a food camp or distributing clothes among the underprivileged. If you are not sure what volunteering opportunity will work best for your office, talk to employees – they’re sure to have plenty of ideas.
Keep the channels of communication openIf the month of Ramadan is particularly busy for your company, clear communication is critical to ensure employee engagement. Weekly/daily meetings, with email follow-ups, will ensure that everyone is in the loop. However, ensure that the meetings are structured and timed properly. Overtly long or pointless meetings can hurt employee engagement. Time your meetings in the morning to ensure everyone is in the best mood after suhoor. Leaving them for later in the day can lead to unproductive sessions.
Value your employeesA survey by American Psychological Association under the Psychologically Healthy Workplace Program showed that employees who feel more valued by their employer are 60% more likely to report feeling motivated to do their very best for their employer. Rewarding employees helps foster cheer and shows them that they are valued members of the team. Continued fasting can lead to stress, so companies and employers need to combat any negativity by making employees feel welcomed when they come to work. Involve them in planning work schedules for the month, schedule one-on-ones and send out appreciation emails. Motivate employees by setting specific goals and rewarding people who meet objectives. Nothing works like positive reinforcement.
Plan ahead, but be flexibleWith things tending to slow down at most workplaces, it’s important to set expectations regarding employee attendance and behavior. Encourage teams to map out work schedules and set goals so they never miss a deadline. It’s imperative that leave and time-off requests are submitted well in advance so schedules can be coordinated easily. Your business may not be into complete remote working, but this is a time when being flexible will help immensely. Offering employees flexibility will keep them motivated as it can help them maintain work-life balance during this busy month. Working from home can take a lot of pressure off employees; the bonus: they’re happier and more productive.
Build a culture of teamworkEmployee engagement isn’t just about keeping employees happy, but it helps. And nothing keeps them happier than a workplace with a people-oriented culture that focuses on diversity, respect, trust and fun. Over time, this creates a work environment that’s enjoyable, relaxed, encourages teamwork, fosters innovation and reflects shared values. Work towards strengthening teams and rewarding exemplary teamwork in your office to show others the way. Ensure that managers and supervisors play their part; they need to be upbeat and positive to set the mood for their teams. A low-key iftar party will help cement the bonds.
With most modern offices celebrating diverse workforces, it’s possible that not everyone in your office marks Ramadan. Be conscious and keep your engagement efforts small and appropriate.