18 Employee Engagement Ideas [Practical Tips on Engagement]
— February 25th, 2019
Talking Engagement is all the rage amongst the HR fraternity. But it goes beyond being fashionable and of-the-moment. Engagement, if done well, can materially improve an organization’s effectiveness.
According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, it’s not simply about having a people strategy for motivating employees and meeting basic levels of job satisfaction. “It can be seen as a combination of commitment to the organization and its values and a willingness to help colleagues”.
This will include things such as:
- fair treatment for employees
- support for staff well-being
- empowering staff to shape their roles
- meaningful ways for staff to voice their opinions to management
- effective people-management skills
- performance management systems that seek to motivate
- opportunities for personal professional development
- communications to reinforce the organization's strategy and vision and to ensure staff are well informed
So, let’s look at 18 things your business can do to impact staff engagement.
Ensure staff understand the organization’s purpose
Every organization has a purpose. How well this is communicated internally can have an effect on employee engagement. That's one of the findings from Deloitte where 73 percent of employees who said they work at a "purpose-driven" company are engaged, against just 23 percent for those who don't.
Give employees a voice to raise concerns and speak their minds
A 2016 Deloitte report says the top challenge for engagement programs is moving from a once-a-year mindset to a "continuous listening approach to monitoring engagement.” In essence, listening is the key to employee engagement.
Give new employees a mentor
Mentoring matters. Mentoring strengthens collaboration skills of both parties and enhances understanding of diverse needs across the workforce.
Support ways for employees to build relationships beyond the workplace
Organizing social activities beyond the workplace helps foster team cohesiveness amongst staff, whilst also addressing issues of health and wellness.
Recognize performance when it deserves to be acknowledged
Recognizing every little achievement is not the objective. However, when a major milestone is achieved, the contract won, a project brought in under budget or ahead of time, such contributions should be recognized amongst the wider organization.
As social creatures, people often thrive in teams. Recognizing these traits and fostering group interaction can achieve much greater commitment from staff.
Encourage healthy physical/dietary pursuits
The encouragement of physical activity quite apart from the day-to-day responsibilities of an employee’s role can significantly enhance staff happiness and satisfaction. "When employees eat healthily, exercise regularly and get enough sleep, they’ll feel and perform their best".
Give clear guidance on an employee’s (or team’s) objectives and timelines
Imagine if you were turning up to your place of work and had little idea what your employer’s expectations were? Clearly explaining the organization’s expectations of its staff and when it should be completed will empower staff to then set their own agenda to meet the ultimate objectives.
Foster lifelong learning and skills development
Organizations which want to retain their talent can increase engagement by giving staff opportunities for career development and learning over the course of their employment. Employees want to “develop their skills and continue challenging themselves. They don’t want to do monotonous tasks that require minimal effort. Engaged employees constantly use their mind and enhance their skills.”
Play to an employee’s strengths
Focus on what an employee does well and encourage them to build on their skills. This not only gives the employee a greater sense of self-worth but enhances the value of their ability to deliver on wider organizational objectives
Don’t trust in salary alone to motivate
Many have heard of the Mazlow Hierarchy of Needs. It argues that beyond basics, such as a salary to put food on the table and clothes on their backs, employees need more than financial rewards to motivate and engage their minds each day they turn up for work. As Harvard Business Review’s analysis found, “results indicate that the association between salary and job satisfaction is very weak”.
Recognize and encourage innovations from staff which improve performance
Let staff improve on work practices. Foster a sense that they can influence how the workplace operates and that their contributions to improving the way things are done are valued. Recent studies also suggest that a culture of innovation is synonymous with high levels of employee engagement. [ https://blog.cultureamp.com/engagement-and-innovation ]
Encourage decision-making from the bottom up
There’s a cliche that the best managers are those that make their own roles redundant. Conversely, the idea that delegating decisions to those that do the job is invariably the best strategy for engaging an employee with the task and securing their commitment over the long term.
Ensure staff have the necessary work tools to perform
There is little point in aiming to increase staff commitment to the organization if they are stymied by the lack of basic tools for the job expected of them. Good equipment is not a luxury, it is a necessity.
Promote office health and wellness
This is all about recognizing that downtime during office hours is key to allowing staff to let off steam, socialize, get moving if at a desk for many hours. Some research suggests that introducing standing desks to office environments actually improves staff performance. A University of Leicester study found that 43 percent of employees who swapped their seat for a standing desk said their performance improved after a year.
Encourage staff to communicate what they do to the wider organization
Staff need to be given opportunities to share their knowledge and responsibilities with colleagues within the organization. This will foster a sense of being valued and appreciated. It will also ensure that staff better understand how their co-workers fit into the organization.
Seek employee input on new team hires
Nothing feels more engaging than asking existing staff to give input into the type and character of people the organization should be seeking to bring into the team. It not only makes existing staff feel their opinions are valued but will ensure that new hires hit the ground running with a team already invested in their success.
Let staff take greater responsibility and ownership of their tasks and targets
Organizations that want to get the best from employees should seek to ensure that staff feel ownership of their role. If they have a set of tasks and objectives, management should negotiate with and push employees to perform. This should be done to maximize the sense that there is real ownership of their role and input into how they merit recognition from contemporaries and the wider organization.
The tip of the iceberg
In these engagement ideas, the overarching point is to find the many, often small, frequently easy-to-implement ways in which managers can make employees feel genuinely valued and recognized for the contribution they make to the success of the operation.
When an organization focuses on engaging employees, the results are often higher productivity, better staff retention and improvements in overall organizational success. If your organization isn't fostering an engagement culture, you need to ask the question, why not?