Six ways to boost employee engagement

This article sets out six easily integrated steps that can improve employee engagement throughout any organization

Employee engagement is a major factor in a company’s revenue and retention metrics. Poor engagement results in lower rates for both measurements. Meanwhile, personally invested employees lead to higher company revenue and help to build positive cultures which results in greater employee retention.

While most managers, HR professionals, and business owners understand that committed employees are more valuable to their company than disengaged workers, not everyone knows what steps they need to take to engage their whole workforce.

A sustained approach to employee engagement needs to be taken to get results and achieve key objectives. This article sets out six easily integrated steps that can improve employee engagement throughout any organization.

Reward and Recognition

Work that doesn’t give us a sense of progress or meaningful activity demotivates and disengages us from the task we are being paid to perform. As Dan Ariely’s Ted Talk illustrates, it also serves to disconnect employee from company. Meaningful recognition of the work we perform is a valuable way of encouraging engagement. Recognition programs should focus on the following three points:

  • Contribution and effort 87% of employee recognition programs focus on worker longevity. Having someone work with your business for 5 years or more is worth celebrating, but it’s not the only thing employees should be acknowledged for.  Successful incentives and reward programs should promote specific actions and behaviors that are both beneficial to the business and measurable for authenticity over a specific period of time.
  • Allow all employees to identify great work from colleaguesContrary to popular belief; money is not the primary driver of employee performance. 78% of U.S. workers reported that being recognized motivates them at their job, and 69% said they would work harder if they were better appreciated. To build a truly cohesive and collaborative workplace, allow colleagues to recognize great work from each other and consider this in your regular reward and recognition scheme.
  • Personalize rewardsThe best recognition is highly personal. Cookie-cutter rewards such as plaques or vouchers can end up demoralizing staff. The power of highly-personalized rewards is phenomenal, driving workers to new heights of engagement and motivating them to do even more for the business.

Keep In Touch With Your Team

Conversations with your team should cover more than what their daily tasks are and how they are progressing with projects. Communication should also aim to understand each team member better so you can recognize the best ways to increase each individuals engagement level.

Employee surveys are a great way to do this, as long as a few simple steps are followed:

  • Keep it short and regular – Long surveys that take more than 20 minutes to complete result in rushed answers or incomplete results. Shorter, regulated surveys are beneficial for both managers and employees. Employees are more likely to give thorough and thoughtful answers if you take less of their time. From a managers perspective, consistent brief surveys enable quality, frequent feedback that can be acted upon.
  • Share the results – Results from these shortened staff surveys should show both the strengths and weaknesses of the business. All feedback should be shared with all parts of the business, as transparency is the key to opening up healthy discussions about how to solve the problems highlighted by this process. However, when doing this it is important to screen results so answers don’t publicly call out individuals or create embarrassing situations for managers or employees.
  • Take action – In order ensure employee surveys don’t demotivate staff, it is imperative that the leaders of the company support it fully and are prepared to act upon the results. If you can’t guarantee action will be taken, you are better off not having one in the first place.

Employees who complete surveys for the business should also be thanked for their time. They should also be kept up to date with all plans to address issues raised and, where appropriate, asked to put forward ideas to fix larger problems that have been identified.

Feedback will fall into two categories: smaller and easier to resolve issues and bigger, more difficult problems. Take the quick wins as soon as you can. After gathering feedback, put in place clear and transparent plans to address the bigger issues.

By consistently following these steps you will be leading your team and the wider organization toward increased engagement and a more fulfilling partnership with the business.

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