Engaged employees are rare.
As a matter of fact, research from Gallup revealed that there is only 13 percent of engaged employees globally.
Engagement refers to the positive emotional connection that an individual feels toward their work and demonstrated by the effort that they exert into doing their job. This can make or break your organization’s success and sustainable long-term growth.
Thus, increasing employee engagement should be one of the top strategic priorities of any CHRO.
10 Strategies for Improving Employee Engagement
1. Local and Organizational Levels First
Real change can occur at the local workgroup level. However, it happens only when the leaders set the tone from top-down. Organizations reap the most benefits from engagement initiatives when the leaders weave employee engagement into expected performances for managers, allowing them to execute those expectations.
Both managers and employees need to feel empowered to create a significant difference in their environment. Thus, managers and leaders need to work with employees in order to identify any hindrance to employee engagement.
Employees are most familiar with the organization’s systems, processes, customers and products, as well as experts on their teams and themselves. Therefore, it makes sense that they have the best ideas to maximizing these elements, delivering business innovation, improved performance and a better, engaged workplace.
2. Offer Meaningful Rewards
There is virtually no limit to the types of bonuses and incentives that you give employees to keep them motivated and engaged. It all depends on the culture and size of your company, however, it can range from something as flashy as gifting your annual star performer with a brand new car to a simple offering of several days off work.
You can give them personalized rewards that are easy to implement— a day off for their birthdays or a vacation ticket to beach hotels for their whole family. You will easily regain the money and time you give for these rewards when the employee comes back to work feeling refreshed and reinvigorated.
3. Recognition Is A Priority
While you don’t have the budget to offer rewards every single working day, sometimes it’s the little things that don’t even cost a thing that really matters.
Recognizing employee efforts is a primary motivational tool that most leaders tend to forget because of the busy environment. However, a recent report found out that recognition has the biggest impact on keeping employees engaged.
Rather than confining feedback to a yearly performance review or waiting for the next best time to offer rewards, CHROs and managers can give their employees a handwritten thank you note or publicly congratulating them for a job well done in front of their colleagues or through the employee intranet.
4. Positive Working Environment
Any efforts to put into developing a positive, happy and respectful workplace can go a long way to keeping your employees engaged and productive.
Create a solution-focused culture where employees are not afraid to make mistakes and focusing on the best move forward. Celebrate achievements, wins or any special occasions to create a happy workplace. IT could be an employee’s birthday or work anniversary or a new client signing on.
Create spaces that allow employees to relax and collaborate such as cafes, lunge rooms or a well-equipped kitchen with all the favorite beverages and food.
5. Support For Personal and Professional Growth
When employees are supported for personal or professional growth, you will see a spike in loyalty, engagement, and motivation. This is particularly important for the millennials with 86 percent saying the career development and training would keep them at their current job.
Most companies have a professional development budget for their employees. The key here now is to encourage your employees to use it. If an employee’s unique potential is developed, chances are they will put all effort which can come from feeling well-connected, secure and invested in their job.
6. Show Them You Understand and Care
Showing that the company really cares for their employees can be a powerful way to increase employee engagement by emotionalizing the relationship between employer and employee.
Thus, you need to stop thinking that employee wellness is just an additional cost to the company. Reports revealed that an employee can gain at least $6 in health care savings for every dollar they invested.
You can also consider building your own wellness programs:
- Weekly Zumba, meditation or yoga sessions before or after work hours
- Ergonomic workstations
- Onsite gyms or discount partnerships with fitness and health clubs
- Healthy food options in the pantry
- Encouraging employees to speak up about mental and emotional health issues and offering assistance programs
Employees also want the perks which empower them to live a much better life. You can show employees that you trust them by allowing work-for-home days, having flexible working hours, as well as pet care or childcare facilities at work, can go a long way.
7. Encourage Employee Voice
Employees are more productive and engaged when they trust their leaders or managers and feel that their ideas are valued.
According to a report, employees who feel that their voice is heard and valued at work are up to 4.6 times more empowered to exert more effort and perform better.
While annual satisfaction surveys are important, you can also try suggestion boxes where employees can voice out their concerns, any opportunities for growth offer business ideas, weigh in on company morale and more. An HR department that is open to feedback and communicates well can build loyalty with employees.
8. Make Work Fun
Giving your employees the chance to ditch their desks sometimes and forge a sense of connection with co-workers should keep them invested and engaged. And while there are countless activities that you can plan, here are a few effective ideas:
- LUNCH ‘N’ LEARNS: You can throw a lunch party while giving your employees the chance to give a TED talk about the things that they’re passionate about.
- OFFICE GAMES: Host a weekly afternoon trivia game, a monthly scavenger hunt, or go flashy with an annual office Olympics event.
- THEME DAYS: Set up days where your employees can dress up, participate in a themed activity or bring in food for a potluck.
Make sure that you plan these activities during working hours. Otherwise, employees might think that these work events are interfering with their supposedly personal time.
9. Recognize Individual Preferences and Learning Styles
If you can understand how your employees learn— whether they wish to work within a group or individually, for instance— you’ll also find out a lot about how well they work and in which ways they’re more likely to engage with tasks and projects.
You also need to consider when someone can learn and develop and for how long. This is particularly crucial with online training— you’ll find that some employees are better suited to collaborative, synchronous learning while some are happy with individual training.
10. Nurturing Relationships
Having friends at work can make people more active and engaged in the workplace. AS a matter of fact, a report found out that women who have a best friend at work are 3 percent more engaged compared to the women who say otherwise.
So, when it comes to developing employee engagement strategies, giving employees regular opportunities to socialize and mingle could be a quick win. Here are some ideas on how you can promote friendships and help employees socialize at work:
- TEAM BUILDING ACTIVITIES: Hosting team building games and activities can help employees trust each other, fostering better mutual understanding and strengthening their working relationship.
- BREKA OUT SPACES: A dedicated office break out space is where employees can bond over a coffee or meal, discuss the next big thing or just relax after work. Further equipping these break rooms with a bar and kitchen can get those interactions flower
- COMPANY RETREATS: You can organize a weekend company retreat off-site where your employees can participate in adventure activities, workshops or just relax by the sea. Interacting with co-workers in a calm and relaxed environment can kick start some significant brainstorming sessions.
If a successful business is your goal and dream, then you need to straighten out your employee engagement strategies. As we all know, employees are the lifeblood of an organization. And with employee engagement, work productivity is doubled, customer satisfaction is on the roof and your company’s overall success is a sure goal!
Maxwell Donovan works in the conference production industry. His primarily works to discover the right group of delegates for business gatherings. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook and at Corptive.com.