High levels of employee engagement are known to boost productivity, improve customer satisfaction, and bolster retention rates. It’s these very benefits that have spurred companies across the country to invest in enhancing the employee experience.
Despite this investment, only 13 percent of today's employees report feeling engaged in the workplace. Many employers struggle with creating an effective strategy targeted at improving employee engagement company-wide. The truth is that there are some tactics that employers are getting right, and other strategies that are causing more harm than good.
Here's a look at the top do's and don'ts for elevating the employee experience and building an effective employee engagement strategy.
Don't rely solely on yearly reviews
For decades, employers have relied solely on annual employee reviews to let their workers know how they are performing on the job. This is no longer sufficient. Today, employees want real-time feedback on a continuous basis. While yearly reviews still have their place, it’s important to create a system to provide feedback to your employees on a consistent basis throughout the year. This can help to improve workplace morale and productivity.
Do leverage recognition and rewards to enhance the employee experience
Unfortunately, employers tend to focus heavily on negative performance attributes. It makes sense that you want to correct poor employee behavior or performance, but it’s crucial that you don't overlook your top performers. This negative workplace atmosphere can lower employee morale, reduce job satisfaction, and increase turnover rates. You can avoid this problem by developing a strong employee recognition and rewards program that ensures deserving employees get the recognition they deserve. Employees who are recognized for a job well done are less likely to look for other job opportunities. After all, 69 percent of employees said “Recognition and Reward” would motivate them to stay at their current jobs.
Don't make promises you can't keep
One thing you absolutely do not want to do is to make promises that you can't keep. This can break trust between the company and the employees, and destroy your company's reputation. With the numbers of online employer review sites, just one bad employee experience could jeopardize your company's ability to attract top talent candidates in the future. It could take years to recover from such a crucial mistake.
Do let your actions speak louder than words
Any employer can say that they offer excellent benefits, treat their employees well, and have a great workplace culture, but only those employers that follow these words with action make an impact. Don't just say you're going to do something - actually do it. It’s better to offer a smaller number of benefits that the company can fully support rather than offer a large number of benefits, but only follow through on a few of them. Once your employees realize they can trust what you say, boosting engagement in the workplace will be easier.
Don't ignore your employees' concerns
There may be nothing more frustrating to employees than having their employers ignore their concerns. Employees who feel that they do not have a voice or that they are undervalued will simply look for other job opportunities. With today's record low unemployment rates, it probably won't take these unhappy employees too long to move on. This can turn into a very costly mistake for your business by increasing turnover rates, lowering workplace morale, and decreasing overall productivity.
Do accept employee feedback and be willing to listen
Negative feedback or criticism, especially from your employees, is never easy to hear, but who knows more about the workplace than your employees? It’s vital to set up a process for employees to provide honest feedback without fear of retribution. You also must be willing to really listen to what your employees are saying and be prepared to make changes if necessary. There literally is no way you can improve employee engagement within your company without first taking this step. You have to know what's broken before you can begin to fix it.
Don't leave your employees in the dark
A recent Gallup poll revealed that less than one-half of workers believe that they understand the company's overall vision. All too often, the problem is that executives meet to set the company's goals, vision, and mission, yet fail to effectively articulate this vision to their workforce. It's impossible to expect your employees to jump onboard a vision that they do not fully understand. Furthermore, obtaining success without the full force of your workforce behind you is highly unlikely.
Do make transparency a priority
There’s no doubt about it - today's employees want transparency in the workforce. In fact, in many cases, employees are demanding transparency. They want to be part of a fair and open workplace environment. For example, they want to know why they were turned down for a promotion, how the company is performing, and how to file an official complaint. Basically, they want as much information as possible. The good news is that by making your employee processes as transparent as possible, you can build trust, avoid lawsuits, and most importantly foster employee engagement.
Understanding the do's and don'ts of enhancing the employee experience will allow you to build a strategy that improves employee engagement, boost productivity, and increase retention rates throughout the company. To learn more about how to strengthen the employee experience, check out our white paper, "Personalization: The Missing Link in Employee Experience."
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