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Employee engagement continues to be paramount. As organizations continue to adapt to the new normal, they’re finding that one thing remains the same: exceptional talent leads to exceptional results. But attracting and keeping that talent is far from simple, as each employee brings unique aspirations and goals to the workplace. What motivates one team member may fall flat with another. Companies that want to retain talent must understand and address the diverse factors that inspire and engage employees.
By working to improve employee engagement, organizations can ensure that each individual feels personally invested in the success of the company. This delivers a wealth of benefits, from increased productivity and job satisfaction to lower turnover rates and a stronger company culture. Let’s take a quick look at what employee engagement really means and why it’s so important before covering 10 strategies for improving engagement your company can start implementing today.
What is employee engagement?
Employee engagement is a measure of the commitment and motivation of your workforce. It represents the extent to which individuals feel a genuine connection to their job, colleagues, and the company as a whole. Engagement in the workplace is characterized by alignment with company values, a clear understanding of one’s role and responsibilities, and the availability of opportunities for personal and professional growth. Engaged employees feel a real sense of purpose and are willing to go above and beyond their basic job requirements, enthusiastically giving their best efforts to achieve organizational goals.
To foster employee engagement, organizations must invest in effective communication, involve all employees in providing recognition and rewards, and create a supportive work environment that encourages collaboration and development. Two-way feedback, career advancement opportunities, and a clear organizational mission are also essential elements in promoting and maintaining high levels of employee engagement.
The benefits of employee engagement
Employee engagement offers a multitude of advantages that contribute to both individual and organizational success. Engaged employees are motivated to put in extra effort, leading to increased efficiency and higher-quality outputs. This heightened productivity can positively impact an organization’s bottom line as a result of cost savings and improved profitability.
Employee engagement also plays a pivotal role in reducing turnover. When employees are engaged, they’re more likely to remain loyal to their organization over the long term, reducing the costly and disruptive cycle of hiring and training new staff. Retaining experienced and committed employees also fosters a sense of continuity and stability within the workplace. And the engaged employees you retain will positively influence their colleagues, creating a ripple effect of higher commitment and better performance throughout the organization.
Last but not least, employee engagement contributes to a great organizational culture. Engaged employees are more likely to collaborate effectively, communicate openly, and support one another, creating a positive and inclusive work environment. A winning company culture is a real boon to attracting the best talent as well, helping organizations recruit and retain top performers.
10 strategies for improving employee engagement
It’s clear that employee engagement is a cornerstone of any thriving and productive organization — but how can your company better engage its own workforce? Start with these 10 actionable strategies, each addressing a key driver of employee engagement.
1. Support feedback and two-way communication
Engagement begins by giving employees a voice, listening to what they have to say, and acting on the issues they raise. When employees see that their opinions matter and that their feedback leads to positive changes, they’re more likely to buy into what your organization is trying to accomplish and recommit themselves to its success.
In addition to providing team members with opportunities to provide feedback in one-on-one and group settings, offer channels where employees can share their honest input confidentially. Adopting an employee engagement platform that includes these channels — like pulse surveys and AI-powered, always-on chatbots — is a great way to address this need. These platforms also let managers, HR professionals, and other people leaders across your company quickly analyze feedback and help them develop action plans to address the pressing issues they identify.
2. Recognize and reward employees
If you’re looking for the single biggest driver of employee engagement, you’ve found it in recognition. Employees want to feel valued and rewarded for all their contributions, from wrapping up a major project to covering for a sick co-worker. Organizations should strive to make providing both social recognition and meaningful, personalized rewards easy and seamless for every team member, from the C-suite on down.
Implementing a program backed by a modern, mobile-friendly solution lets organizations centralize and improve recognition across the entire company. Look for a platform that has a proven track record of enabling frequent, widespread recognition. It should also include a points-based reward system where every employee can give and receive points redeemable for a huge variety of merchandise and experiences available through a built-in marketplace.
3. Build community through diversity, equity, and inclusion
A diverse and inclusive workplace is a more engaging one. When employees perceive that their organization values diversity and is committed to inclusivity, they’re more likely to engage fully in their work and contribute their unique perspectives and talents. Organizations should actively promote diversity of thought and background from recruitment on, striving to create an environment where all employees feel a sense of belonging. This requires addressing issues related to equity and inclusivity, ensuring that all employees have equal opportunities and are treated with respect and fairness.
4. Support employee growth and development
Engaged employees see a future for themselves within the organization and feel that their growth is encouraged and supported. Organizations should invest in training and development programs that help employees acquire new skills and advance in their careers. This enhances employees’ capabilities while sending a clear message that the organization is invested in their long-term success. Offering clear career paths, mentorship programs, and continuous learning opportunities are essential components of supporting employee growth and development.
5. Train leaders on the importance of employee engagement
Leaders play a pivotal role in shaping the employee experience and overall engagement levels within an organization. HR must provide leadership with training that emphasizes the importance of employee engagement. Leaders should understand how their actions and behaviors impact employee morale and performance. This training should focus on effective leadership skills, communication, and how to create a positive work culture. When leaders are well-versed in the significance of employee engagement and are equipped with the skills to nurture it, they can lead by example, inspiring their teams on a daily basis.
6. Provide voluntary opportunities for team-building
Team-building activities can be an important part of the employee engagement equation. These opportunities let employees bond, build mutual trust, and develop strong working relationships. When employees enjoy positive relationships with their teammates, they’re more likely to go the extra mile to support one another and achieve shared goals.
Team-building activities range from team lunches and outings to volunteering together or participating in team-building workshops. Solicit feedback from team members to find out what they’re interested in to avoid spending effort and money on activities that won’t move the engagement needle. And always make participation in these exercises voluntary — forcing an employee to attend an exercise or event they’d prefer to avoid will only encourage them to look for a more accommodating organization.
7. Don’t neglect employee wellness
Employee wellness is a fundamental aspect of fostering engagement. Neglecting employee wellness can lead to burnout and disengagement, which has serious detrimental effects on both the individual and the organization. Organizations that prioritize employee well-being must create an environment where employees feel cared for and supported. This can involve providing access to mental health resources, promoting work-life balance, and offering flexible work arrangements. By proactively addressing employee wellness, organizations demonstrate their concern for their employees’ health and support sustained engagement and productivity.
8. Support employee engagement from onboarding forward
Employee engagement should be nurtured from the very beginning of an employee’s journey with the organization. This requires robust onboarding processes that introduce employees to organizational culture and company values, while setting understandable and realistic expectations. It’s essential to provide clear guidance and training throughout the onboarding period to help new hires feel integrated and confident in their roles. When employees have a positive onboarding experience, they’re more likely to feel engaged and aligned with the organization and its goals from the start. This early investment in engagement pays dividends by creating a foundation of commitment and enthusiasm that can last through an employee’s entire tenure with your company.
9. Give back to the community through volunteering and charity
Involving employees in charitable and community initiatives can be a powerful way to strengthen their feeling of purpose and connection to the organization. Whether it’s offering to match donations to a popular local charity or providing time off for employees to volunteer, there are many ways for organizations to foster a shared commitment to making a positive impact beyond the workplace. These initiatives let employees contribute to meaningful causes and foster a sense of pride in being part of an organization that values social responsibility. This sense of collective purpose can have a profound effect on employee engagement and organizational culture, organically promoting a more fulfilling and meaningful employee experience.
10. Provide employees with a purpose they connect with
Employees want to work for a company that has a vision and a set of values that resonate with them. When employees understand how their daily tasks contribute to the broader mission of the company — and when that mission speaks to them on some level — they’ll always have a source of motivation they can tap into. Organizations should define where they’re heading with a concise and compelling vision statement, as well as a mission statement that guides their actions in the here and now. Together with a set of company values that are easy for employees to connect with, these let organizations communicate their purpose to employees in an understandable, effective way.
Engage employees by giving them a real voice
If you want to start implementing these strategies at your organization without delay, you can’t go wrong by adopting a comprehensive employee engagement solution like the Achievers Employee Experience Platform. It includes Achievers Listen, a platform dedicated to giving employees a voice by establishing channels for confidential, honest feedback. Employees can then express their concerns, suggestions, and opinions freely, so you can prioritize those aspects of engagement that will have the most impact at your company. The Achievers Employee Experience Platform also supports making recognition — the number one driver of employee engagement — an integral part of the organizational culture through Achievers Recognize. This combination empowers employees to actively shape their work experience, cultivating a sense of belonging and ownership.
Start prioritizing employee engagement at your organization by trying a free demo of the Achievers Employee Experience Platform today.
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