Employee engagement is critical to master. When an employee is engaged and inspired, they are 125% more productive than an employee who is merely satisfied. However, in a modern work environment that sees some folks working from home, some working in the office, and some doing both in the same week, employee engagement becomes easier said than done.
The perceived trouble comes from the balance a manager should hit between an attitude of high standards & constant productivity and an attitude of maintaining an engaged & fun-to-work-with team. Is it possible for top leaders to do both? According to Harvard Business Review, it is – in order to lead a motivated and productive team, leaders must pay special attention to optimizing employee engagement in order to hit that balance.
Constant and consistent engagement is the key to talent retention and stronger motivation, both of which are paramount to business success. With most HR teams and managers leading workforces that spread across the country, the real challenge is in its execution. So, let’s help you execute with 10 of our best Employee Engagement Practices! But first…
What is employee engagement and what can you do to foster it?
Employee Engagement is the level at which employees are enthusiastic about, connected to, and involved in the success of their organization. It is the responsibility of leaders and managers to make sure that they provide an environment for employees to feel seen, heard, valued, and recognized, and thereby flourish in their job. To create an environment of engagement, organizations need systems that can help promote and support one. These systems, as we’ll discuss, are both analog and digital.
Here are some of the top elements that go into creating the perfect employee engagement strategy:
Know Where You Stand
It’s tough to roll out a new employee engagement initiative without knowing exactly what you should be targeting. The two most effective ways to do this are pulse surveys and stay interviews.
Sending pulse surveys to your team gives them an easy avenue to express any dissatisfactions they have with your culture. Once you’ve gathered all the data, you can compare them against industry benchmarks to see where you’re falling behind – or you might just spot some alarming trends with the eye test.
You might want more specific testimonies than survey answers, however, and that’s where stay interviews come in. Stay interviews are informal conversations between a manager and current employee that can touch upon the best and worst aspects of their workplace and reasons that current team members may or may not be looking for ways out. It’s a proven strategy to fight painpoints and issues head on before they become even more pervasive within your culture. Pull up a chair for one of your most trusted employees and learn from a stay interview.
Stay connected to employees
For your team to be engaged with you, you should be engaged with them right back. Speak regularly with your employees, ideally with a weekly one-on-one system or some sort of regular check-in session. You get to hear updates on projects, give them guidance in any area they’re struggling, trade feedback, ask questions, and simply get to know them more as people.
A continuous feedback loop holds your team accountable while also fostering a healthy and approachable relationship between managers and their teams. This is especially crucial for your remote workers, since contact outside these meetings can be sparse. Make sure it isn’t!
Make sure employees know their impact on the business
Disengagement becomes rampant in organizations when workers start believing their jobs serve no real purpose. This belief could be based on tasks a few positions spend their time on, or it could derive from a feeling that the company as a whole isn’t making an important impact. Never let the organizational zeitgeist reach this point – turn it completely around instead.
Developing a new company mission statement is a great solution to fixing that sort of discouraged culture. A mission statement tells people three things: why the business exists, what makes it different, and what its people stand for. When it resonates strongly with those who read it, it not only puts your company under a good light, but acts as a positive influence for your employees and justifies their effort.
When it comes to individual tasks, goal setting and tracking is an effective means of demonstrating their value to the cause. Seeing the physical results of their hard work is motivating enough to boost employee engagement on its own.
Try an Employee Incentive Program
The #1 reason most people leave their jobs is a lack of recognition, according to Gallup. Recognition isn’t just a nice-to-have, it’s a necessity whose absence could damage your organization’s retention rates. Leaders must celebrate their team’s completed projects, personal milestones, little wins, and even birthdays/anniversaries in any way possible. Recognition builds a sense of community in even the hardest of times and motivates your employees to continue to strive for success.
That’s why you should invest in employee incentive programs! These programs help managers reward their teams with bonuses, gifts, or events for putting in exceptional effort on the job. Whether given to one worker or a whole department, the presence of distinct incentives will motivate your staff to go above and beyond to both gain recognition and receive that “something special” that’s waiting for them.
Studies have shown that incentive programs boost productivity by 25-44% while simultaneously solidifying employee engagement and retention. Give your teams what they deserve while giving your company the high retention rates it deserves.
Keep employees informed
An informed workforce is a productive one. Sharing pertinent news helps give your team important context, inspires them to take action, and satisfies their need to be in-the-know alongside a transparent organization. By updating workers on the latest company news via a virtual dashboard or centralized news bulletin, leaders can ensure that their employees are getting all of the information they need to feel energized and engaged.
Go all-in for your remote team
No matter what kind of job a person has, when they work in person, they find themselves at a workplace alongside their colleagues. That’s just common sense. Why, then, isn’t it common sense for remote employees?
Creating a digital workplace for your remote team can single-handedly change their motivation and productivity through an increase in engagement and communicativity. A social community platform with employee profiles can mimic an on-site work environment and facilitate connections between coworkers that live on opposite ends of the earth, while hosting features like goals and meeting tools on the same platform. Make an impact on employee engagement by being one of the 67% of organizations that are making digital transformation a priority in 2022.
Commit to prioritizing DEIBA
DEIBA stands for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Belonging, and Accessibility. It’s a common misconception that introducing diversity initiatives into a workplace brings intangible benefits rather than measurable boosts in productivity, but that’s not the case. Companies in the top diversity quartile are 25% more likely to have above-average profits, while companies in the fourth quartile for both gender and ethnic diversity are 27% more likely to underperform on profitability. It matters as a driver for employee engagement, culture, and business success.
Implementing a fully fledged DEIBA program is one way to tackle the issue, but we know not every company has that in their budget. If you’re looking to do it internally, remember one thing: it’s not as simple as checking off boxes and filling a gender/race ratio. To learn more, check out our DEIBA e-book here.
We’re not done yet!
We’ve got plenty more resources on building the best workforce from the bottom to the top. Take a look at our e-book on Mastering the Employee Experience, or our analysis of Gallup’s 12 Elements of Employee Engagement. All of our resources can be found in our Library – check them out here! To see HelloTeam in action, click here — and to set up a meeting with us, go here!