How to Improve Employee Engagement: Ideas & Tips
There’s much buzz about how to improve employee engagement — and for a good reason. It’s the simplest way to limit unwanted employee turnover, boost productivity, increase safety, boost your employer brand, and support your strategy. When employees are engaged, they have passion, energy, and commitment. They bring their best to work every day, and they’ll go above and beyond for your organization.
Many organizations across the U.S. continue to struggle with improving employee engagement, which is one of the reasons why employees quit . Yet others have done it successfully. And for some — the nation’s Top Workplaces — they’ve been able to achieve engagement levels almost double the U.S. average. We’ll talk about the secret to improving employee engagement, but first, let’s define what “employee engagement” truly means.
Here are some steps to increase your organisation’s employee engagement:
When companies place employees in the wrong role, due to reasons such as growth and unexpected employee losses, it can lead to rushed hiring decisions and therefore a selection of the wrong person for the role. An employee can feel under-utilised or conversely over-worked if placed in a role that is not suitable for their experience level and personal preference. Plus hiring the wrong person for the role could cost your organisation over $200,000!
- Get another opinion – by conducting several interviews or inviting other team members to sit in on the interview
- Check their references! – This is a free resource to gather more information about a candidate before they get started
- Conduct an interview that gets them involved – For example, create a hypothetical work situation and ask them what steps they would take to achieve an outcome
- Set clear expectations early – If they are not meeting the expectations, there will be no surprises for them when they are told so. This is important for measuring the performance of your employees too
- Trust your instincts – It’s likely you know which employee will be the best fit, go with your gut.
Provide quality training from Day 1
There’s nothing worse than starting a new job and not being provided with up to date training and information required to get started Those first few weeks for a new employee are crucial in making them feel like they made the right choice in deciding to work for your organisation.
- Supply a rough plan or calendar for your employee’s first week – this helps your new employee to know what to expect each day as they get to know the organisation and the team
- Introduce them to to the company – this includes missions, values, goals and/or history
- Complete those administrative must-do’s – this includes Workplace, Health and Safety, car parking and covering all key policies and procedures. Make this a resource your employee can access whenever they need it.
- Who’s who in the zoo – provide your new employee with a company organisational structure diagram will be helpful for learning everyone’s names and roles. Avoid overwhelming a new staff member by only introducing them to specific team members on their first day, not the whole office! (they are likely to not remember names or roles)
- Inform them of their reporting lines – knowing who to contact and which process to follow to achieve an outcome, from day 1, will benefit your employee immensely!
- Set up one-on-one inductions – with team members they’ll be working closely with
- Provide training – on how to use software, relevant IT tools or other processes
- Organise a special welcome – this could be a team lunch or a coffee catch up. One organisation takes its employees to choose their own desk plant on their first day!
17 Employee Engagement Strategies and Tactics Worth Implementing in 2021
To find out the best employee engagement strategies you can test out, we talked with 36 executives and Human Resources (HR) leaders from across a variety of industries.They shared their top tactics and the employee engagement strategies that have proven effective for them time and again. Here’s what they had to say:
1. Start with Trust
“And when you gain that trust,” Suzie added, “magical things start to happen—employees develop a true sense of ownership over their jobs, and productivity rises. Trust also removes that hierarchical divide, it puts everyone on a level playing field, steering and sailing the same ship together as one. Ideas flourish, employees feel engaged and working environments feel uplifted.”
2. Give Your People Autonomy
Increases in employee autonomy have a direct impact on job satisfaction. When employees are given autonomy in their job, they feel more responsible for their work and more satisfied with their contributions.
“Give employees autonomy and empower them to do what they feel is truly meaningful and impactful work. It’s all about enabling them to shape their own story as opposed to fitting into one we’ve created.”
3. Evaluate Your Communication and Alignment
Eric Harris, CEO at MindHandle, noted how the big shifts of 2020 will leave an indelible mark on communication and employee engagement: “Between blended remote and in-person work, new rules for how to meet, safety concerns, and more, there’s a whole new set of criteria for internal communications.”
“An organization that knows what it stands for—and communicates this core belief system regularly—will have a considerable advantage as the world continues to change,” Harris concluded.
“Providing clear communication of company and team-wide goals has been particularly helpful in helping our employees be engaged, focused, and ‘in it for the long run’,” Ben Lamarche, General Manager at Lock Search Group, told us.
“When employees are in the dark about what’s going on with the company, and formal collaboration and internal communication tools aren’t made available, it’s easy to lose the motivation to do your best work.”
Paige Arnof-Fenn, Founder & CEO at Mavens & Moguls, agreed: “Communication is key to all of our community and employee engagement,” Paige said. “To stay connected and keep the team on track, I try to set the tone upfront with one rule: When in doubt, over-communicate. Especially now that everyone is working remotely, it is key to set up regular emails, video, and conference calls.”
As for how they facilitate internal communication, more than half of the pros we talked with say they use Slack, the most popular tool by far. There is no shortage of options, so make sure you find one that works for your team and your company’s needs.
Tyler Forte, CEO at Felix Homes, also shared this tip: “To further improve the flow of communication, I adopted ConnectTeam. It is a tool that allows my employees to connect through individual chat and group chats. It’s helped with maintaining day-to-day communication and collaboration within my company. It’s easy to use and encourages efficient and interactive participation between all levels of employees.”
4. Get to Know Your People and Truly Care About Them
This tip may seem obvious, but it can be hard to maintain at scale and easy to let fall by the wayside. But this is the core of a successful employee engagement strategy—if you don’t understand your people, all your other efforts will likely fall flat.
“Spend some time getting to know your people,” Bryce Welker, CEO at CPA Exam Guy, advised. “Familiarize yourself with their role, how they feel about the company, and get to know who they are as people when they are not at work—to build the kind of meaningful relationships that create engaged workers.”
“The most important thing employees need in today’s landscape is true, unbridled support from their bosses. Schedule regular check-ins, actually ask how they are doing—both professionally and personally. Get to know them as much as possible so they’re comfortable confiding in you,” Mason McSpadden, Vice President at WELD Recruiting, added.
“Pay attention to them. Employees generally want to be heard, to recognize they are valued, and to have a link with management. They love it when management knows about them and their interests outside of the workplace,” Kerry Lopez, HR Manager of Incrementors, explained. “This takes time, so take it one conversation at a time, empower them, trust them, and give them responsibility—this will prove one of the best employee engagement strategies.”