Companies today are frequently looking unique strategies to improve employee engagement. Some businesses do this through office parties, others organise volunteering opportunities, and others find that something as simple as a few extra hours off on Fridays is all they need.
But there is one employee engagement strategy that is work related, improves engagement, and possibly helps your company grow in the future, and that is allowing employees to work on their own personal projects.
What Are Personal Work Projects?
Personal work projects are projects that employees plan, manage, and execute all on their own – with no instruction from a manager. For example, an employee that works in marketing can try out a unique marketing strategy that they’ve always wanted to try, and see if it helps your company grow.
Examples of personal projects might include custom code design, graphic design that you didn’t know you needed, a unique email system for sales leads, and much more. It’s not important what the project is. What matters is that the employee gets to choose the project completely on their own, and execute it on their own.
Why Are Personal Projects Great for Companies?
Personal projects are amazing tools for employee engagement. Personal projects allow employees to feel like they’re bringing something to the company and are not just a cog in a machine doing what someone else tells them. It lets them be the ones trying to figure out how to help your company succeed, and giving them the chance to feel like they truly matter.
In addition to how personal projects improve engagement, they also have many benefits for the company:
- They May Work – First and foremost, these personal projects are frequently employees thinking outside the box for ways to help your company, and it’s possible they may work. Rarely are the ideas of management the only successful ideas. You hired these employees for a reason, and you may find that they have brilliant, outside of the box ideas that help improve your revenue.
- They Find Idea Makers and Leaders – It’s often very hard for management to figure out which employees are the diamonds. Is someone a mediocre performer or just not challenged? Can someone that goes above and beyond really make it to the next level? These questions are hard to answer when people do only the tasks you tell them.
- They Offer a Break – Employees that have a break from the monotonous are very likely to find that they are less stressed and overwhelmed by the monotonous later. Personal projects can renew the energy the employee has for your business, while also contributing to its success.
- They Teach New Skills – Even if an employee’s idea fails, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t successful. Every staff member that takes up their own personal projects is also learning new skills that may help them at your company in the future, such as how to come up with ideas, how to plan them, and more.
- They Open the Door for More Engagement – Finally, an employee that has their own personal project and succeeds at it sets themselves up for other strategies that improve engagement and satisfaction. For example, if an employee brings a lot of excess revenue to your company with their idea, you can then give them a bonus, which in turn makes them feel even more a part of your company’s success and continues the cycle.
Personal projects are also one of the few employee engagement ideas that can actually help your company profit in the future. Employee engagement is always beneficial, but the fact that this type of engagement can also help you increase your revenue makes it especially useful in the context of your business.