Your ultimate goal is to create happy, healthy and productive employees who enjoy their jobs and work passionately towards the success of the company. When you improve employee engagement in your workplace, not only do employees become more satisfied with their job, they also have more enthusiasm about their role.
They feel a deeper loyalty and a greater connection to the company – which means that they are more likely to produce high quality work. This benefits the company, as well as the customer.
You’ll also enjoy higher retention and lower turnover – which is beneficial as the hiring and onboarding process for new employees is time consuming and expensive.
So what is holding back most employers from promoting engagement?
According to Gallup research, only 33% of employees in the USA describe themselves as “involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to their workplace.” It is a true shame that only 1 in 3 people state that they feel this way at work – so many companies are getting mediocre work from employees who don’t care much because they are not engaged.
What are the obstacles getting in the way of achieving these employee engagement benefits? Some of the most common ones are lack of strategy, a cynical attitude from both employees and managers, layers of bureaucracy, and employees who might be overworked and burned out. There may be old fashioned traditions of workplace mentality in place – which are stifling and do not lead to innovation. There might also be a fear on the part of management to try new engagement strategies – in case they do not work.
What is the solution?
It’s time to start working at it. Employee engagement doesn’t just happen – it’s something you have to work on building within your organization. When you do, it can be felt in the entire company culture and it is irreplaceable.
In order to achieve this, it is crucial to invest time and effort into strategies that improve employee engagement – such as the following:
1) Employee Rewards Programs
Reward employees when they do something right. Not only will this encourage your staff to excel at their jobs, it will also create a healthy atmosphere of competition. After all, who doesn’t love a little bit of friendly competition?
Make your employee rewards programs a tight race, but in a fun and encouraging way. For example, as a reward for excellent performance you could allow employees to earn flexible hours, so that they can work whenever they want to work. Or, you could set up one really nice office in the building with the best view, the best equipment, coffee and snacks, etc. The employee who gives the best performance will earn the privilege of working out of the amazing office for a month. You could even host an awards ceremony where employees are recognized and given gifts.
Pit the strengths of your best workers against each other to see what they can teach each other. The best employee rewards programs set goals that are just challenging enough to keep things interesting – but not so impossible that employees give up.
Plus, it is important to offer actual rewards of value. Choose gifts for employees that your staff will actually be motivated to work towards. When they do achieve the targets, identify what they did right so that they know to do it again next time.
2) Celebrate Work Anniversaries
Commemorate milestones when someone has been working with your company for a specific amount of time. It’s a meaningful life event for them and if they have invested a significant period of their life into achieving success for your company – it’s worth recognizing them for their loyalty and for all of the great work they have done.
There are a number of employee appreciation ideas you could use here. Of course, you could give work anniversary gifts, but it could also be a great idea to create a Wall of Fame to immortalized the achievements of your long term employees. Sometimes public recognition of an employee’s contribution can mean more to them than a gift.
3) Employee of the Month Awards
Here’s another strategy for improving employee engagement: employee of the month awards. It can be a great way to recognize achievements on an ongoing basis.
When you choose the employee of the month, this is a chance to highlight the ways in which they have excelled. Maybe they have learned a new skill, or solved a problem the company faced, or went above and beyond to provide high quality customer service? No matter what it is, make sure that everyone knows why the award was given – so that it serves to encourage this behavior in other employees.
4) One on One Meetings
A one on one performance review can be a very powerful way to keep employees engaged. Communication can often be a weak spot for organizations, so this creates a structured way that you can give them personal feedback and guidance. It also allows the employee to ask direct questions that have the opinion of being researched in nature.
Although one on one meetings take more time, they can give you a much better picture of how happy and motivated your team are. Also, these meetings don’t have to be intimidating – they can be simply going for a walk or having a coffee.
5) Encourage Employees to Speak Up
It is very important to encourage open and honest communication in your organization. When employees are not afraid to speak up about flaws in the organization, they will be able to offer constructive criticism that will help your business to succeed. You can trust them to tell you the truth if something is working or not.
How can you let your staff know that it is okay for them to speak their mind? Make sure that you reward honest and open dialogue and listen to what your employees are telling you.
Ask your employees for feedback on a regular basis, so that it becomes ordinary for them to share their thoughts rather than intimidating. You do not have to adopt or implement everything that people bring to you, but you can listen rather than judge.
6) Eliminate Annoying Processes
If calculating timesheets or submitting hours and getting paid is an enormous pain for employees, they will find work more stressful and will become less engaged.
The easier you can make these administrative tasks, both on the employee side and the management side, the more everyone can spend their time and attention on other things. Fortunately, there are smart software solutions such as Boomr that can help with this.
7) Plan Activities for Employees to Get to Know Each Other Better
Your employees work together every day, so it’s important for them to build a camaraderie. Team building exercises will break the ice and can help the group to create a connection, which will result in more meaningful teamwork.
Team building activities can be a lot of fun and there are many creative experiences out there that will create a rapport between your team members remarkably quickly. Perhaps you can do an escape room, in which you must work together to figure out a puzzle or riddle in order to be free. Or maybe a group crafting night where everyone learns how to do something new such as painting or making pottery. Make sure that it is something that is accessible for all employees and that will get them in a fun, playful and open-minded mood.
8) Focus on Strengths Rather Than Weaknesses
Instead of focusing on the weaknesses of your employees and how to improve them, don’t forget to also focus on their strengths. This is where recognition awards can be very powerful, as they can highlight the strengths of your employees.
Also, it is crucial to think about the strengths that each employee has so that you can make sure you are using their skills to their full potential. Is there some other task or new project that your employee could be taking responsibility for which would be suited to their strengths?
9) Encourage Better Health and Wellness
Companies are realizing more than ever that the link between employee health and wellness and job performance is critical. This is why healthy living initiatives in the workplace are another important way to encourage more employee engagement.
Healthy workforces are more productive, have better morale, have less downtime due to illness and are better able to respond to stress. So how you can improve the health and wellness of your employees? Some workplaces are offering fitness centers on site, while others are providing yoga classes, personal training and smoking cessation programs for staff. It makes sense – when employees are healthy and feel good they are better able to innovate.
How will you improve employee engagement?
These are just a few of the best strategies and ideas for increasing employee engagement. With the right approach, you can create a workplace culture that is based on trust, respect and passion and that will inspire employees to do their best. How will you encourage engagement in your workplace?
Sign up to our Newsletter