One of the best ways to motivate your employees is to implement a series of employee engagement strategies. The right strategies can help you nurture a positive employee experience where your workforce is more focused, productive, and committed to your organization. In fact, research shows that people who report having a positive employee experience have 16 times the engagement level, and they are eight times more likely to want to stay at a company.
In this post, we are going to discuss how to increase employee engagement, and how to measure employee engagement. We will look at the benefits of conducting an employee engagement survey, as well as the advantages of using employee engagement software. We will also share 7 effective employee engagement strategies to help you create the right environment where your workforce can thrive.
What is employee engagement?
Employee engagement basically comes down to the emotional and psychological connection your employees feel towards the work that they do and the organization as a whole. In other words, it’s about how your workforce feels about the employee experience that you offer – how enthusiastic and dedicated they are in terms of your business.
Engaged employees show up earlier, work harder, and are more invested in helping their companies achieve organic growth. They are also more likely to stay with their employers, helping to reduce turnover and boosting growth.
The aim as an employer is to implement a series of employee engagement strategies in order to nurture your employee experience and create an environment where your employees feel connected to the business and strive to contribute to the achievement of your business goals. And this is what we will look at shortly. But first, let’s take a look at why employee engagement is so important.
Why is employee engagement important?
Employees who are highly engaged are emotionally committed to the organization and motivated to do their best in order to help the company succeed. They are loyal members of staff who are invested in their work and in the success of the business as a whole. As a result, they are more productive because they have a genuine desire to do their best. They are also more goal-oriented, making them high performers.
What’s more, according to Gallup’s 2020 study on employee engagement and performance, teams with higher levels of employee engagement have lower levels of turnover and absenteeism, and higher levels of organizational success. The survey also showed that businesses with high employee engagement experienced 23% higher profitability, 10% better customer loyalty and engagement, and 18% more sales productivity.
In contrast, employees who are disengaged lack any form of emotional commitment so they are more likely to underperform, make frequent mistakes, and do the bare minimum to get by. They frequently arrive late for work, have higher rates of absence, and often disrupt other members of their team.
How to improve employee engagement
We will look at more specific employee engagement strategies in a moment. First, let’s start by discussing the overall approach that you need to develop in order to boost engagement in your business.
First and foremost, you need to understand that employee engagement works from the top down. This means that your leaders have an important role in the level of engagement in their teams. It is on them to set the tone, communicate your vision of engagement, build strong relationships, provide continuous feedback, and keep their teams informed and inspired.
HR also has an important role to play. This is because the human resources department is ultimately responsible for designing, implementing, communicating and managing all your employee engagement strategies. Without the support of HR, it is very difficult to nurture any sense of accountability or staff engagement. This also means that HR needs to rely on the right tools and software in order to achieve the highest possible level of engagement. More on this later in the post.
How to develop an employee engagement strategy
Before you can implement any specific employee engagement strategies, you need to set the scene. This means you need to identify what your current workplace engagement level is so that you can establish the right goals and employee engagement tactics. Understanding your existing people engagement level also helps you measure your progress towards your target benchmark.
Let’s take a look at this in a bit more detail.
Measure your current engagement levels
Before you can improve your employee engagement, you need to know where you stand. In other words, you need to identify how engaged your workforce is right now so that you know what you need to work on in order to improve engagement levels.
One of the most accurate and efficient tools for understanding your current level of engagement is an employee engagement survey. This is a questionnaire that helps you gauge the current levels of engagement of your workforce, and the effectiveness of your current engagement initiatives. We’ve included a list of typical questions that you should include in your questionnaire in the survey section towards the end of this post.
Other tools that can help you establish your current level of engagement of employees include pulse surveys, new hire surveys, employee appraisals, feedback sessions, and exit interviews.
Establish engagement goals
Once you’ve established your current level of engagement, it’s time to design a series of engagement goals so that you have a clearly defined roadmap for success.
Which employee experiences have the biggest impact on engagement? What do you need to improve? What do you hope to achieve? Which employee engagement strategies will help you drive organizational change and create a better workplace for all?
Make sure your goals are S.M.A.R.T: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely. This will help you clearly track your progress so that you know how well your strategies are working. And that way, you can make adjustments where necessary.
Implement employee engagement strategies
Once you’ve established your goals, it’s time to implement employee engagement strategies that will help you reach your targets. Whatever strategies you choose to implement, make sure they are built around your foundation: the people who work at your organization.
Your strategies should help your employees feel valued and connected to the business. They should feel like their contributions have a direct impact on your organizational goals. They should understand that they matter and that they are more than a simple cog in the machine.
7 employee engagement strategies
There are a number of employee engagement strategies that you can implement in your business. The right strategies for you will depend on your goals and identified areas for improvement. Ultimately though, the best employee engagement strategies focus on three key areas: improving the employee experience, helping your employees feel valued, and building strong, connected relationships.
Here are a few strategies for employee engagement that you might consider implementing or merging with any employee engagement ideas of your own.
Trust is a huge factor when it comes to promoting employee engagement. In fact, it is one of the core foundations of engagement, along with purpose, clarity and recognition. Employees who feel that they are trusted by their managers feel empowered. They give it their all and work to the best of their abilities.
When you show your employees that you trust them, it helps them develop a sense of ownership over their work. Trust also helps to water down the hierarchical divide and generate a sense of teamwork.
Show your employees that you trust them by empowering them to manage their own workload. Involve them in important decisions. Keep them informed of any important changes and encourage them to take initiative. If you only adopt one of the employee engagement strategies discussed in this post, make it this one.
Promote two-way communication
As we just mentioned, clarity is also a cornerstone of employee engagement, and that means that you need effective channels for internal communications. Communication also needs to be two-way. Managers need to be clear and transparent with the information they communicate to employees, and employees need to feel there is sufficient psychological safety at work for them to communicate feedback and concerns without fear of recrimination – that there is an open door policy in your company.
The best way to achieve this is by being clear and transparent about the goals of the company. Communicate any corporate decisions that might affect the workplace. Make sure you hold regular employee appraisals and collect feedback through employee engagement surveys. All this will help your workforce feels heard and valued.
Create a positive working environment
Creating a positive and healthy working environment will help your employees feel intrinsically motivated. And this is important because workplace motivation helps employees feel more satisfied, and increases workplace productivity.
A positive working environment is one where employees have all the tools, resources and support they need to perform their duties to the best of their abilities. But it goes beyond that. You also need to work on improving your work culture so that employees feel a sense of job enrichment and that they are also receiving an emotional salary from what they do, not just a financial one.
For example, make sure you communicate the value of nurturing a healthy work-life balance so that employees feel that you care about their physical and mental wellbeing, not just their productivity and output. This will help you create a sense of organizational commitment that boosts your existing employee engagement levels.
Create a sense of purpose
It’s also vital that you implement measures that help you create a sense of purpose for all of your workforce. After all, the quickest way to create an unhappy workforce is by making your employees feel that they are an easily replaceable commodity. Help them feel valued by providing them with regular feedback. Make sure they understand the important role that they hold in the company. Explain how their work contributes to the success of the organization. This will help them feel that what they do matters. And that, in turn, will help them feel an emotional connection to your business and boost engagement.
Implement a recognition program
A reward and recognition program is a great way to show appreciation to your employees and foster a sense of loyalty, empowerment, satisfaction, and engagement. This can be a great tool for giving your employees a sense of accomplishment and motivating them to achieve more.
Recognition can take the form of a public shoutout, a small gift, a day off, or a monetary bonus, for example. Or you could even hold an annual award ceremony to publicly recognize and reward high achievers. You could even implement a peer-to-peer program, where employees publicly give each other positive feedback. These programs encourage engagement across the board as they empower employees to recognize and be recognized.
Nurture growth and development
Focus on creating a growth mindset in your business by promoting the value of learning and development. You might do this by creating tailored training programs. Or you could sponsor higher education for your employees, for example. This is a great way to generate a sense of loyalty, commitment and engagement. Mainly because when employees feel supported in their development, they feel valued. In turn, they will strive to continuously improve their performance levels, for the good of their own development, as well as that of the business as a whole.
Get to know your employees
Finally, make sure you get to know your employees and develop genuine and meaningful relationships with them. This is the core of a successful employee engagement strategy. If you don’t understand who your employees are and what they care about, then all your other efforts will likely fall short.
Schedule regular check-ins to find out how they are doing, both professionally and personally. Do what you can to ensure they feel comfortable enough to confide in you when they need management support. Your workforce is your most important asset, after all. Make sure you spend time getting to know each individual as a person, not just an employee.
Employee engagement survey questions
As we mentioned above, an employee engagement survey (similar to an employee satisfaction survey) is a highly valuable tool for identifying and measuring your current level of staff engagement. This is because employee surveys get straight to the heart of how your employees feel. They can also help you identify what you need to do in order to boost your employee experience.
Your surveys should touch on important components of engagement like employee satisfaction, alignment, and future goals. It’s also important that your employees understand that they can share honest feedback without fear of recrimination.
Here are a few questions you can include:
- Do you feel proud to be part of the company? Empowered?
- In terms of motivation, do you look forward to coming to work each morning?
- Are you comfortable contributing ideas and opinions in our workplace?
- Can you ask for help if you do not have the skills required to meet your goals?
- When you have a problem relating to work, do you trust your managers to listen?
- Do you understand the strategic goals of the organization?
- Are your goals aligned with those of the company?
- Is there a positive work culture in your department? Do senior managers contribute to this culture?
- Do you have the basic amenities to feel comfortable and relaxed at work?
- Does the company provide you with all the tools and materials you need to do your job?
- Is your organization dedicated to fostering diversity and inclusion?
- In your opinion, do you think that the company cares about your physical and mental wellbeing?
Employee engagement software
The last point we want to mention in this post is the importance of using the right tools and software to support and manage your strategies and initiatives.
For example, you will need performance management software to track the impact of your employee engagement strategies on overall productivity. You will also need some form of training management software in order to develop your learning and development policies and promote effective employee growth.
The best type of employee engagement software is one that covers all stages of the employee lifecycle. That way, you can provide a positive experience with every interaction an employee has with your company. For example, Factorial’s all-in-one software solution includes features for:
- Employee performance management
- Talent acquisition
- Onboarding and offboarding
- Training development
- Goals and OKR tracking
- Time tracking
- Employee surveys and appraisals
All this will help you successfully implement all your employee engagement strategies so that you get the best possible results and achieve maximum levels of engagement and productivity in your business.