5 ways to empower your employees  

How do you empower your employees and increase engagement and productivity in times of economic crisis and quiet quitting? Follow the guide!

Published ·October 5, 2023

Reading time·5 min

The world’s employees have been better — and that’s putting it lightly. Over the past few years, you’ve probably seen stats like:  

  • Over half of employees globally have expressed some level of intent to leave their job (51%), 
  • Only 23% of the world’s employees were engaged at work in 2022, and  
  • Low engagement costs the global economy $8.8 trillion. 

What’s causing the burnout? Are the repercussions of COVID-19 solely to blame? Is the burnout merely a casualty of the economic crisis? The scary truth is that all these factors have led to pandemic-era high records of exhaustion, fear and workplace malaise. Things like the looming recession, political/socio-economic issues, tech adoption and an increase in pressure to return to offices have all led to disengagement.  

So, the million-dollar question then is, What sparks engagement? How do we clean up this mess and give people what they need to do their best work?  

At Foundever™, we’ve studied the impact of people sentiment for years and have concluded one concrete truth that we’ve molded our organization around, which has, in return, resulted in a massive increase in engagement and employee satisfaction. That truth is: the employee experience is the customer experience.

Learn with Naomi Oerton, Global Employee Engagement, Autumn Smith, Global Digital Content Manager and Martin Wilkinson-Brown, Chief Marketing Officer at Foundever, as they chat through how to empower employees.

And we’ve found that the best way to empower people is to put them first. Here are the top five ways we do this:  

1. Listen through feedback  

They say that if you really want to know something, just ask. Feedback is extremely valuable because it reveals common themes and truths in the organization that may be issues now but can be fixed.  

For example, our global voice of the employee program — MAX (“My Associate Experience”) — was created in 2019 with the goal to provide a soundboard for our 170,000 employees. MAX is embedded in our culture and forms part of our operating standards for a reason — because it has impact.  

Once a year for three weeks, we invite all our associates with at least four weeks of working at Foundever to participate in a confidential 28-question survey called the MAX Annual Survey. This offers them the opportunity to give their feedback about working at Foundever, which allows us to measure their engagement and perception of the company.    

We also give associates a daily option to provide how they’re feeling through Max Pulse — our daily, one-question survey hosted on our shared associate platform. Unique in our industry, it gives real-time visibility of the sentiment of our associates, meaning we can respond fast and act in the moment to show that we genuinely care about the wellbeing and experience of our people. In other words, we can listen fast and solve problems fast. In a remote-working context, this is particularly important.  

2. Act by making changes where needed  

Listening loses its value if you have no intention of making the changes needed to improve and grow. Once you have gathered feedback and discovered common themes, what will your improvement plan look like? Where do you go from here?  

At Foundever, we have systems in place for acting. After our MAX Annual Survey, for example, we create a roadmap for the year. If a common concern is to improve communication amongst company news, we  ensure we make information and updates more available for everyone.  

And for our MAX Pulse, if we notice an associate has shared they’re sad, we ask if they would like to share why. From there, front-line managers and supervisors can take action, like having an individual meeting, hosting a workshop or feedback session or putting together a morale booster.  

3. Prioritize wellness programs  

The wellbeing of your employees isn’t something to take lightly — multiple studies show that productivity dips and rises with the overall wellbeing of employees, and things like mental and physical health can lead to disengagement and burnout. 

The good news is that the opposite is also true — increasing various types of wellness boosts employee performance and productivity tremendously. By putting your people first and ensuring they’re healthy and taken care of, organizations can truly drive their business forward. The proof is in the pudding. Organizations with workplace wellness programs report a 56% productivity increase, a 67% increase in employee satisfaction, a 63% increase in financial stability and a 50% decrease in absenteeism.  

At Foundever, we leverage sports and movement to promote global associate engagement. By connecting through a global and digital wellbeing community — via wellbeing missions, support and resources — we encourage our people to be #EverBetter. Committed to investing in the health and wellbeing of our teams, EverBetter at Foundever supports healthier choices for a happier body and mind through simple, achievable change. 

4. Invest in creativity and connection  

One of the ways to create a safe space for your employees to express themselves is to give them an environment that fosters creativity and connection. You can do this with collaborative workspaces, company culture initiatives and offices that spark creativity. We implement this through our global initiative called Conversation at HeART.  

Conversation at HeART aims to inspire, connect and empower Foundever associates through the power of creating and taking ownership of artworks in the spaces in which they work. We ask associates their opinions on what kind of art they want to see in their workplace and have them vote on local artists to do the project. It’s our way of providing our employees with a blank canvas where they can illustrate and express their culture and diversity, to bring attention to and initiate discussion around causes or values and to forge new connections with the wider community by working alongside local artists to bring their ideas to life. 

5. Embrace a “people-first” mentality  

We say “the employee experience is the customer experience” because it’s true. Especially in the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry, where associates play a crucial role in supporting overall customer experience.  

And when given what they need to thrive, people can do some pretty amazing things. And your business will reap the benefits. According to Gallup’s employee engagement data, when employees are engaged, they increase productivity by 14%, increase customer ratings by 10%, increase sales by 18% and increase profitability by 23%.  

By putting your people first and ensuring they’re taken care of, you’re taking care of what truly matters and nurturing the overall health of your business.  

To learn more about ways to foster engagement and create a strong company culture that sparks creativity and productivity, download our whitepaper “Our people are our superpower: Inspiring creativity, commitment and connection at Foundever™.”