Employee engagement has become a hot button topic in the past few years. There are multiple guides, reports, and articles that all offer tips and tricks to boost employee engagement up from where it is (which is just above 30% by the way).
How do you know what advice to follow?
Well, we’ve compiled a quick and easy list of best practices to help you increase your company’s employee engagement.
Know what employee engagement actually is
Just because your employees show up to work and seem happy doesn’t mean they’re engaged. Employee engagement is loosely defined as the emotional and functional commitment an employee has to helping achieve the mission of the company.
More specifically, engaged employees:
- Volunteer for extra projects or tasks
- Help their coworkers and offer advice
- Support the company’s mission and goals
- Speak positively about the company
- Take part in training activities to broaden their skill sets
- Are open to constructive criticism and feedback
Becoming aware of whether or not your employees are engaged can help you know what strategies to use to boost employee engagement.
Implement employee recognition programs
Your workers want to know that the work they do doesn’t go unnoticed. If an employee does particularly well on a project, big or small, congratulate them on a job well done.
Employee recognition can take a few different forms:
- A simple thank you. Letting employees know that you appreciate the daily work they do can be a good way to encourage better performance and increase employee engagement.
- Rewarding tenure. When an employee has been with a company for three, five, ten, or even twenty years, use their dedication to your organization as a chance to recognize them and thank them.
- Peer-to-peer recognition. Encourage employees to recognize each other for jobs well done or other milestones in their careers.
- Tell stories. Instead of having a traditional “Employee of the Month” award, let employees tell stories of success about themselves or their coworkers. These stories can go out in monthly company newsletters, emails, or be posted on an office bulletin board.
Appreciated employees are more likely to feel connected and engaged with the company they work for, and while there are many other ways to recognize your stellar employees, remember that recognition should be frequent and consistent. While some employees may perform better than others, try to highlight each worker’s strengths and let them know you appreciate them.
Develop a culture of corporate philanthropy
Over two thirds of millennial employees expect their employers to focus on societal or mission-driven problems. With the millennial generation set to overtake the baby boomers and the Gen-Xers in the workplace within the next few years, creating an environment of corporate philanthropy is becoming more important than ever.
You can engage your employees by implementing corporate giving programs such as:
- Matching gift programs that allow employees’ donations to nonprofit organizations be doubled or even tripled by the company they work for.
- Volunteer grant programs that provide money and other resources to groups of employees who donate and volunteer at nonprofits.
- Dollars for Doers programs that contribute a set amount of money per hour that an employee volunteers at a nonprofit organization.
- Fundraising matching programs that match the funds pledged to an employee participating in a fundraising walk or run.
By encouraging employees to be more philanthropically minded, companies can boost employee engagement at work and in the community. When employees feel like the company they work for cares about a cause they themselves support, they are more likely to connect with the company and feel engaged.
Treat employees like people, not machines
Productivity and profits are vital to an organization, but keep in mind that your employees are humans, not robots. While this point may seem fairly obvious, it can be easy to forget that employees perform better and feel more engaged when they have regular breaks and time to recharge.
Easy ways to help your employees feel more productive and engaged include:
- Implementing flextime. Flextime requires employees to be at the office during a core period of time, usually a few hours in the afternoon, while the rest of the work day is open for them to use how they want. Flextime can help all employees reach their full potential and be more engaged.
- Trying flexspace, which offers the same versatility as flextime with regard to workspaces. Flexspace allows employees to choose their own location for the workday. Some employees may thrive in an office environment while others prefer the noises of a coffee shop. Giving employees the option will help them feel cared for and will boost their engagement.
- Offering longer breaks. Employees who don’t take breaks are susceptible to burning out and feeling dissatisfied with their jobs. Encourage your workers to take regular breaks to recharge, especially if they stare at a computer for hours at a time.
- Providing them with competitive compensation. Workers want to know that the work they’re doing is valuable, but they also want to feel valued. Giving your employees competitive pay plus benefits can be a huge way to increase employee engagement. If workers feel like they aren’t being monetarily rewarded for their hard work, not only will they feel disengaged, but they may leave their jobs completely.
Obviously, not every company will be able to implement the same programs and procedures. What works for massive companies like Google and Facebook might not be as effective or easy to execute on a smaller level. Discover what your employees want and try your best to accommodate them.
Conduct employee engagement surveys
One of the most effective ways to find out exactly what your employees want and determine how engaged they are is by developing and conducting an employee engagement survey. While employee engagement surveys have recently gotten a bad rap for being too generic and not accurately measuring employee engagement, they can still be great tools for improving engagement if you know what to measure and what to do with the information you gather.
Offer career support
Employees want to know that the company they work for is personally invested in them. One of the ways you can demonstrate your support and help engage more employees is by offering career support.
Employees should feel like there is mobility within the company. If there are no opportunities for advancement, they will likely sink into a rut, become disengaged, and look for other employment.
You can prevent these problems by having conversations with employees on a regular basis about their career aspirations and goals. Listening to them and giving them the tools and chances to professionally grow will help stimulate employee engagement and help your company thrive.
Communicate effectively with employees
There is nothing that frustrates employees more than a lack of communication between themselves and their supervisors. Ineffectual conversations that don’t help employees understand their projects and tasks can lead to misunderstandings and a decline in productivity.
When employees feel like they have an open dialogue with managers and other company leaders, they will be able to communicate when they are dissatisfied or need support. Being available to employees can help them feel more confident and encouraged, leading to higher employee engagement.
While this is by no means a completely comprehensive list of every single way to increase employee engagement, these best practices, when used together, will help your employees feel more engaged and content at work, resulting in better productivity and profits.