You found our guide to the best employee engagement strategies.
Employee engagement strategies are methods for connecting employees to the company purpose and ensuring maximum productivity. For example, hiring passionate people, polling employees, investing in technology, and championing diversity.
These ideas are similar to employee engagement campaigns and employee engagement activities, and are related to employee engagement theory. The goal of these efforts is to improve company culture and earn the benefits of employee engagement.
Specifically, this article includes:
- What are employee engagement strategies?
- What are some good employee engagement strategies?
- How do you develop an employee engagement strategy?
- How can HR improve employee engagement?
- List of employee engagement strategies
So, here is the guide!
What are employee engagement strategies?
Employee engagement strategies are blueprints for cultivating respect and ensuring active participation from workers.
What are some good employee engagement strategies?
The best approaches recognize workers for achievements, effort, and strengths and encourage employees to continue performing at high levels. Some good employee engagement strategies are to offer development opportunities, recognize and reward accomplishments, and master the art of manager engagement.
How do you develop an employee engagement strategy?
To develop an employee engagement strategy, first take a pulse and solicit feedback from your teams to gage what areas most need improvement. Once you identify potential weaknesses, pick an approach that is likely to help you reach your target. For instance, if employees feel isolated, then you may choose to prioritize team building initiatives. If your employees express frustration at limited personal growth, then you may opt to fasttrack an employee enrichment program.
How can HR improve employee engagement?
Human resources largely sets the tone for the company culture, so the department should work towards creating an environment where all employees feel safe, included, valued, and recognized. HR can spearhead diversity initiatives and implement reward programs to celebrate employee uniqueness and express staff appreciation.
List of employee engagement strategies
From starting with the right crew to investing in the proper technology to practicing flexibility, here is a list of engagement strategies sure to create grateful and dedicated employees.
1. Start with the right crew
There is a reason job interviewers continue to ask the question: “why do you want to work here?” The answer helps recruiters identify candidates that fit the company’s culture and mission, two factors that greatly influence employee engagement.
A team member can be smart, skilled, and hardworking, yet still underachieve if the role is not right. If an employee’s heart is not in the work, then you will struggle to keep that teammate fully involved. There should be some level of intrinsic motivation driving teammates, otherwise you will exhaust yourself with never-ending efforts to inspire.
Employee engagement strategies can achieve near-magical results, but ultimately cannot work miracles. For this reason, selecting the right team is integral to your success. Engagement is a two way street, and if employees are unwilling or unable to commit to the cause, all the strategies in the world will not help much. When selecting your team, seek candidates whose work styles and goals align with your group. Diversity and different perspectives strengthen teams, but these new additions should still match and mesh with the team; think complement, not total contrast. There are plenty of resources geared towards hiring the right people, including this New York Times guide.
2. Poll the team to form a baseline
Employee engagement does not start with strategy. Even before you implement a formal plan, your company takes steps to make a positive impression on employees and inspire high performance. You can take stock of which existing factors work well and which could use improvement by polling your workforce.
Employee engagement software such as Culture Amp or Trakstar offers survey options that allow you to collect insight from employees. By collecting feedback from your staff, you can customize a better informed, more targeted plan for improving employee engagement within your business. For instance, perhaps you might learn that an inflexible time off policy is contributing to employee stress, or that your company’s diversity initiatives make employees proud to work for the organization. By taking the current temperature of your teams, you can more clearly identify what actions will improve your impact. To quote the great Maya Angelou, “If you don’t know where you’ve come from, you don’t know where you’re going.”
Here is a list of the best employee engagement survey questions to ask.
3. Master the art of manager engagement
Micromanagement and undermanagement both harm employee morale. The former undermines an employee’s confidence and ability. The latter makes an employee wonder, “why do I care so much if the boss can’t bother?” Both encourage an employee to check-out and do the bare minimum.
Master the delicate balance between overmanaging and undermanaging, and you will hack your employees’ loyalty and productivity. Ideally, you want to give your employees room to innovate and solve problems, but still help when necessary. You should involve yourself in the process, but not to the point of smothering your employees or stifling creativity. Offering employees both space and support builds trust between you and your team, and spurs employees to put in the effort to support you in turn.
For more ideas on effective leadership, you can use employee engagement books to find an approach that works best for you.
4. Offer development opportunities
Growth is important to employees. Unlike students who groan at the mention of classwork or homework, most modern workers are eager lifelong learners. Employees want to sharpen skills and gain new knowledge, but only possess so many hours in the day. If employers offer chances for on the clock education, then companies can simultaneously increase employee satisfaction and improve performance.
An astounding 94% of employees would stay at a job longer if the company offered training and development opportunities, according to a survey from LinkedIn. Investing in employee education sends a message that organizations value individual growth and improvement, which makes teammates feel appreciated and supported. Grateful employees put in more effort and achieve impressive results. Not to mention, a lack of knowledge or training is one of the main reasons for disengagement.
5. Celebrate diversity and promote inclusion
Diversity in the workplace is a hot topic. Deloitte found that corporate diversity and inclusion increased 74% within the past few years, and the trend towards welcoming and celebrating employee differences will likely, and rightfully, continue for years to come.
The modern workforce consists of various ages, skill sets, cultural backgrounds, nationalities, religions, genders, sexualities, socioeconomic backgrounds, health conditions, and other distinguishing factors. Successful companies embrace differences and view variation as strengths.
The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) discovered that diverse and inclusive workplaces create more engaged employees. Diversity extends far beyond the recruiting process. You can encourage inclusion by building a safe space for employees to share different perspectives. Every employee should receive equal opportunity to learn and grow within the organization. Instead of waiting for employees to ask for accommodations, you can offer options such as flexible holidays for various faiths or childcare options for working mothers. At the very least, you should voice your willingness to adapt so employees feel comfortable approaching you.
All workers want to feel like a valued part of the team. By actively appreciating all backgrounds and perspectives, you build an environment of belonging where all employees contribute because all contributions are valid.
Here is a list of DEI activities for virtual teams.
6. Invest in the proper technology
Silicon Valley’s success is evidence of technology’s ever-growing importance in the modern workforce.
In his book The Employee Experience Advantage, Jacob Morgan identifies technology as one of the key factors that attracts and retains top talent. Glitchy or limited software or hardware can demotivate employees and prevent teammates from properly performing tasks. Equipment-related frustration can even lead workers to seek new jobs. If constant technological issues interrupt an employee’s workflow, then that worker is unlikely to see the work as meaningful and likely to disengage.
Of course, technology alone will not engage employees. Some leaders believe that spending money on apps, equipment, and software is enough to engage employees. I recall one former employee requiring me and one hundred other colleagues to watch a one-hour training session for a scheduling software we never actually used, a huge waste of time and company resources. Ideally, you should research technology carefully and select the software that best suits your organization’s needs. Remember that technology is a tool that can enhance the engagement process, not a substitute for effective leadership. However, technology can remove barriers, enabling employees to complete tasks easily, more efficiently, and more enjoyably. Technology may not solve all your engagement problems, but a functioning laptop is a good place to start!
Here is a list of employee engagement platforms.
7. Recognize employees and reward accomplishments
Recognition is one of the most effective employee engagement strategies. All employees want to feel that their accomplishments receive notice and appreciation. When you acknowledge effort and results with praise and rewards, you show employees that extra work will pay off and incentivize your team to aim high.
While workers may not necessarily seek out the pat on the back, acknowledging and rewarding a good job serves as a reminder that the work is important. Forty plus hours a week is a significant amount of time. Workers want to feel that this sacrifice amounts to something more than just a paycheck. Professionals want meaningful work. Complimenting and thanking employees sends the message that the individual duties are part of a greater whole.
Here are a few ways you can recognize employees:
- Peer-to-peer shout outs. For instance, here at teambuilding.com, we have a #you-are-awesome channel on Slack where employees can call out colleagues for kind acts and good work
- Awards ceremonies
- Thank you lunches
- Announce a “weekly win” during meetings
- Celebrate work anniversaries
Many companies fall back on methods like “employee of the month,” or bonuses to incentivize employees. While these tactics can be effective, there are many more creative, innovative, and exciting ways to recognize and reward employees.
Here is a list of employee of the month ideas.
8. Practice flexibility and embrace adaptability
As virtual offices become more common, workers increasingly question the other fixtures of the modern workplace: the 9-5 schedule, the work from home policy, the time-off request process, the in-person interview, the health care options. Sticking “to the way we have always done things,” becomes harder to justify when other organizations embrace change and incorporate adjustments with ease.
CNBC reported that three-quarters of millennials would consider taking a pay cut to work at a job that offered flexible hours. The younger half of the workforce prioritizes work-life balance, preferring to avoid canceling doctors appointments and missing children’s jazz recitals. The T-shirt dress code of many Silicon Valley startups, not to mention the existence of startups in general, is evidence enough that workers are ready to shake up the system and explore alternatives to professional standards.
If you want to keep your employees engaged, then you must at least consider accommodating your crew. Granting special requests that do not interfere with operations can earn your employee’s admiration and respect at little cost to the company. If the employee appeal hinders workflow or otherwise endangers the company, then you can explain your reasoning for denying the request so that your employees understand the logic behind the decision. Refusing to revisit rules just to avoid the hassle will not win you any fans, and may even cause you to lose employees to more responsive organizations.
9. Commit to team building initiatives
If you have ever found yourself wishing, “I wish there were about ten more of me,” then I have a possible solution for you. No, not a cloning machine. You do not literally need copies of yourself; you simply need teammates who share your values and further your goals.
Team building activities promote a culture of engagement. Strong teams perform many of the actions on this list, including recognizing teammate accomplishments and welcoming diversity within the group. Your colleagues can continue your mission by performing engagement-boosting activities such as complimenting coworkers and teaching teammates. Attitude is contagious, and if a few team members put in the extra effort to exceed expectations, then other employees will likely do the same.
The strategies on this list form a framework for encouraging cooperation, but there are many other ways you can build employee/employer rapport, boost workplace morale, reduce absenteeism, and increase employee retention.