Want to build a staff of engaged employees? Smart thinking! I’ve got 15 tips to help you get started.
This is my ultimate guide on how to improve employee engagement.
Employee Engagement Tip #1: Investigate Company Culture with an Open Mind
Like grilled cheese and tomato soup, a highly engaged staff pairs perfectly with great company culture.
If your company culture is lacking, I wouldn’t be surprised if you found employee engagement dropping simultaneously.
Conduct an internal review of your workplace environment.
Collect data on employee satisfaction, productivity, attrition, customer loyalty, and more.
Use your findings to identify areas where employee engagement levels could improve.
Evaluate processes used by your staff. Are they effective? Could ineffective processes be impacting workforce engagement?
Or, could employee morale simply need a boost with a corporate MC leading a meeting every now and then?
There are circumstances in which disengaged employees weigh down effective systems.
However, it is more likely that ineffective systems are frustrating employees, resulting in a lack of motivation.
Employee Engagement Tip #2: Provide Professional Development Opportunities
One of the best ways to engage employees is by offering career growth opportunities.
Leadership workshops, technical skill classes, and networking conferences are all excellent chances to invest in your staff.
Invest in your staff’s personal growth.
It increases their self-esteem, broadens their skill sets, and inspires them to engage more actively with the work.
When staff sees no chance for career development, they may get complacent. Instead of resting on this, provide employees with tools to forge exciting career paths for themselves.
It is also investing in your business. You want employees with confidence and useful skills!
Employee Engagement Tip #3: Distribute an Employee Engagement Survey
This is a simple but effective way to increase job satisfaction and employee engagement.
Employee engagement surveys demonstrate that you care about your staff’s opinions.
Send around a thoughtful survey asking employees’ thoughts on topics such as:
- What keeps them motivated at work; where does their intrinsic motivation come from?
- What are their biggest frustrations about the workplace?
- What do they appreciate or enjoy most about the workplace culture?
Once you collect their results, read them carefully.
Consider what improvements you can make to encourage everyone to become engaged employees.
Employees will greatly appreciate seeing changes that show their voices are valued.
Employee Engagement Tip #4: Rework the Company’s Mission to Reflect How Employees Feel
Many engaged employees work for organizations they support on a moral level.
So if you want to increase employee engagement levels, ensure the organization’s mission statement resonates with staff.
Maybe employees like the mission but do not feel it’s being met.
Sit down for conversations with the staff.
What can the business or organization change or improve upon? How can your actions as a leader help employees feel proud of where they work?
Ask employees to send you their suggestions as far as improvements to the mission statement.
Employee Engagement Tip #5: Analyze How the Most Engaged Employees Perform
Even if staff engagement is a challenge right now, I’m sure there are a few engaged employees.
What do they do that sets them apart?
- Do they always arrive on time?
- Do they have the mental energy to contribute creative ideas?
- Do they volunteer to help others where needed?
Talk to these employees and ask what is allowing them to perform this way.
- Did they receive proper training where others did not?
- Have they had opportunities for employee growth and promotions that others did not?
Consider how you can equip everyone with the tools these employees had to make them successful.
Employee Engagement Tip #6: Get Everyone On Board to Welcome New Employees
It can be scary to start a new job and be highly engaged right off the bat.
Help new employees feel comfortable by inviting existing employees to join the onboarding process.
Ask existing employees to lead trainings, Q&A sessions, and take the new hires to lunch.
This immediate showing of community will demonstrate to new employees that engagement is important here.
Some folks never quite get over the fear of not being a “cool kid” in school.
Foster a work environment where it is cool to participate and help each other out!
Employee Engagement Tip #7: Encourage Middle Management to Budget for Team Bonding
I cannot express how important it is for employees to feel safe and comfortable around one another.
One of the most effective ways to accomplish this is by designating time for team bonding.
Don’t just encourage managers to set aside time for this. Equip managers with the budgets they need to do so.
Team bonding should not be a one-and-done activity.
On at least a quarterly basis, teams should do something fun together like:
- Go out for lunch off-campus;
- Spend the afternoon doing a fun outdoor activity like mini golfing or a ropes course;
- Attend an outdoor concert or movie under the stars;
- Do trivia together and share knowledge.
Activities like this enable employees to build friendships.
Once they feel this comfort with one another, they will be more likely to stay engaged.
Employee Engagement Tip #8: Have Heart-to-Hearts with Actively Disengaged Employees
It can be difficult to talk to actively disengaged employees. However, these conversations are vital.
Employee disengagement can happen for many reasons.
- Maybe they had an ineffective supervisor;
- Perhaps they have something going on at home that is distracting them;
- Or maybe they have done the same job for too long and need a new challenge.
The case will be different for each individual employee.
It is crucial that you listen to each one and treat it as the unique story it is.
If you are open, you will learn something about your business and how it can improve.
Honor what the employee says and make effective changes based on their recommendations.
I promise, you will see less employee turnover.
Employee Engagement Tip #9: Create Opportunities for Employee Recognition
One of the best ways to lose employee engagement is to let employees go unrecognized.
A lack of recognition communicates a lack of respect and gratitude for their hard work.
If you find improving employee engagement important, make a strong effort to recognize them.
Employees achieve great things every day!
- Maybe someone handled a difficult customer experience beautifully;
- Another found a solution to a technical problem that had lasted weeks;
- Yet another stepped up and ran a big meeting when their supervisor was out sick.
Celebrate these wins!
From a weekly email shoutout to a formal award ceremony, let your staff know how much you appreciate them.
Employee Engagement Tip #10: Schedule Designated Times for Employee Feedback
Did you know that employees crave feedback? It’s true!
It can be stressful for employees to not know what their supervisors think of their work.
Instruct managers to establish regular review sessions with their direct reports.
Regular feedback serves a multitude of purposes:
- Lets employees know what they are doing well and where they can improve;
- Improves communication between employees and supervisors;
- Ensures that the work is being done in the most efficient way possible.
Employee Engagement Tip #11: Instigate a Company-Wide Wellness Initiative
Employees are more likely to be engaged when they feel valued and respected.
Show that you care for your staff by establishing an ongoing initiative dedicated to wellness.
Your wellness plan can look many different ways:
- Reimbursements for gym memberships;
- Discounts at local grocery stores;
- Free healthy snacks in the break room;
- Free memberships to fitness apps;
- Company-sponsored group workout classes offered once a week.
Create a company wide schedule and encourage employees to participate.
Not only will they appreciate the company offering another perk.
They will find new ways to bond with each other over wellness.
Employee Engagement Tip #12: Prioritize Relationship Building to Increase Employee Engagement
Measuring employee engagement can be a challenge.
If you want to see a truly engaged workforce, focus on relationship building.
Improving engagement starts with relationships.
Engagement is all about participation and communication, right?
Employees aren’t going to want to spend that time with people they don’t know.
Create opportunities for staff to create bonds with one another and watch their engagement blossom:
- Schedule staff picnics and other fun bonding events (food always gets people talking!);
- Put together a trivia game for employees and have them work together;
- Create affinity groups for staff with shared experiences.
Employee Engagement Tip #13: Boost Employee Engagement by Inviting Employees to Participate in the Hiring Process
We’ve discussed including employees in the onboarding process.
But there are many benefits to having them participate in talent acquisition processes, as well.
As we mentioned before, engagement is all about relationships.
It motivates employees to collaborate if they had a hand in hiring their team. When it’s time to hire someone new, invite that position’s main collaborators to participate in the interviews.
The more you do this, the more engagement you will see throughout the entire organization.
Employee Engagement Tip #14: Demonstrate That You Value Employees’ Passion Projects
One great way to ensure employees stay engaged is to honor their passions.
Sure, they knew what the job was when they applied for it. But how can you help them integrate their other passions into the work?
Allowing employees to incorporate their talents and pleasures into work vastly improves the employee experience. It makes employees more excited to come to work and more motivated to engage with colleagues and customers.
Employee Engagement Tip #15: Prioritize Mental Health
One of the hardest parts of the employee experience is balancing work responsibilities with personal commitments. If you find improving employee engagement important, you will help set boundaries for work-life balance.
The better rest employees get when they’re away from work, the more engaged they will be upon returning. Do not sap their energy by emailing on off hours. Or texting on weekends. Or sending last-minute projects on Friday afternoons.
Instead, honor employees’ boundaries and recognize the mental health benefits of work-life balance.
Now You’re Ready to Start Improving Employee Engagement!
You wanted to know how to improve employee engagement. Let’s review what we’ve learned!
#1: Investigate company culture with an open mind.
#2: Provide professional development opportunities.
#3: Distribute an employee engagement survey.
#4: Rework the company’s mission to reflect how employees feel.
#5: Analyze how the most engaged employees perform.
#6: Get everyone on board to welcome new employees.
#7: Encourage middle management to budget for team bonding.
#8: Have heart-to-hearts with actively disengaged employees.
#9: Create opportunities for employee recognition.
#10: Schedule designated times for employee feedback.
#11: Instigate a company-wide wellness initiative.
#12: Prioritize relationships to improve employee engagement.
#13: Boost employee engagement by inviting employees to participate in hiring.
#14: Demonstrate that you value employees’ passion projects.
#15: Prioritize mental health.
I can’t wait to hear about the transformations you see!
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Adam Christing has been called “The Tom Brady of emcees.” He has hosted more than 1,000 company meetings, special events, gala celebrations, and more. He is the author of several books and founder of CleanComedians.com. For more event tips, follow Adam Christing on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and YouTube.