Keeping employees engaged brings many benefits to organizations. For one, organizations that prioritize employee engagement earn higher net revenue by 6 percent. These companies have also been found to have higher shareholder returns for a period of over five years (Kruse, 2012).
However, keeping employees engaged is often easier said than done. Several factors such as current work arrangements, employees' individual differences, workplace culture, and company goals all affect how organizations should approach employee engagement.
In this article, we will define employee engagement, explain ways to measure it, discuss its importance, and enumerate employee engagement ideas and activities for workplaces.
Employee engagement refers to an employee's emotional commitment toward an organization and its missions. On this note, the employee does actually care about his or her job and the organization. These kinds of employees are not driven by salary or promotion, but by working toward achieving company goals (Kruse, 2012).
As a workplace approach, employee engagement is founded on trust, fairness, mutual commitment, and communication. This approach can lead to business growth, which can further lead to individual and organizational performance, efficiency, and welfare (Engage for Success, n.d.).
Corporate employee engagement strategies lead to the best outcomes within an organization. Engaged employees give their best every day, commit to the mission and values of their organization, and play a part in the organization's success—all while having their improved sense of happiness and comfort.
Employee engagement can be evaluated and enhanced. However, it can also get lost and totally eradicated.
Source: PeopleKeep, 2021
Before we improve something, we have to measure it first. Then, we have to be ready to take action. Many companies conduct surveys but do not take the proper courses of action. Asking employees about their thoughts but not doing anything about them does not make sense (Officevibe, 2021).
Measure employee engagement regularly with any of these tools.
Pulse surveys are brief, regular surveys that consistently check on the office vibe. Ask around five to ten employee engagement questions about the feelings of workers toward their work and what they would want to change if given the chance.
Talking to each employee during hour-long meetings scheduled on a regular basis also helps. In this way, you can have a grasp of what they are going through every day at work.
1-on-1s are personal, private, and safe modes of communication with employees. To conduct this approach effectively, you have to make sure that your employees do not feel fear when talking about their feelings with you.
Structured interviews are used to gather insights and discover what makes employees engaged or disengaged.
While exit interviews are popular in many companies, stay interviews should be the norm. Ask them what makes them want to stay and what can you do to improve things instead, not when it is too late for you to realize what could have been done to make them stay. Nevertheless, using both types of interviews is recommended.
eNPS stands for employee Net Promoter Score. It is a simple, easy question that measures employee loyalty.
Employees will only be engaged when they feel that their employers truly care about their wellbeing. This engagement transforms into commitment and loyalty (Officevibe, n.d.).
Engaged employees are more likely to initiate working beyond the hours, feel pride and satisfaction working in your company, and refer your company to a friend. For the organization, it means being able to provide better products and services, garnering higher profit, and retaining more employees and shareholders (Barna, A et al., n.d.).
It goes without saying that measuring employee engagement enables companies to fathom what engaged employees appear to be. It can also help employees look for room for improvement, which is particularly aligned with culinary arts degree requirements pertaining to continuous learning to improve their craft.
"Existing management research offers insights on strategies for managing human resources in [times of crises], such as putting people first, attending to teamwork and communication, adopting clear and humble leadership, providing training sessions, incentives to motivate employees, help them overcome their uncertainty, and ensure teleworking tools. All these measures are aimed not only at improving wellbeing but also at recovering and improving the company’s performance, mainly through staff engagement. The study confirmed the predictive relationship between employee engagement and wellbeing. In this regard, it is also demonstrated that employee engagement and wellbeing have a positive impact on efficiency, productivity, and organizational performance." This excerpt is from the article
Factors affecting employee engagement are diverse, and they also change over time. Take these employee engagement ideas and apply them to your workplace.
Reading too many emails or getting interrupted with too much administrative work every morning may make employees hate their jobs. Atlassian states that employees get 304 emails weekly, and refocusing on work after checking email takes at least 16 minutes.
Syncing meetings by up to 50% and saving a lot of time is now possible through applications. By using one, employees can drop administrative tasks to a certain platform and use their time more meaningfully for work.
Take some time to do something fun with the employees. Do scavenger hunt, play outdoor sports, or try bowling. Activities like these allow people to create a bond together and create a fun community within the company.
Remote work arrangements are no excuse for this as many remote activities and games are popular these days. Try virtual escape rooms, virtual murder mystery games, and more.
Quality experience must be provided not only to customers but to your own employees as well. There are platforms that include everyone during work celebrations. They encourage employees to commend each other publicly and gain rewards for their hard work.
Letting employees know that they greatly contribute to the company's vision will improve the way they work toward achieving success for themselves and the company.
One great idea to do this is to detail to the employee how each of his or her tasks helps meet the company vision. If the employee manages the company's social media accounts and the company vision is "transforming how people buy appliances," then focus on how social media engagement establishes long-lasting brand recognition.
Every month, ask an employee to host a training or seminar about something while having lunch with the rest of the team. This activity both harbors learning opportunities and acknowledges employees' mastery of certain matters.
This idea may become more appealing than inviting outside speakers.
Many have observed that employees get engaged when they are assigned real responsibilities worth achieving. This does not mean giving them more tasks; it means giving them significant tasks to take ownership of. Also, let employees ask you to give them something that can help them grow and learn new things.
Show your appreciation to your employees by giving them nice gifts, such as cool office supplies, sweets, or personal items. Doing this helps them feel connected with their teams and to the company.
Most young employees are still yet to decide what to do with their careers. Sometimes, they would find their passion in a different department or project. If this is the case, make a roadmap to get them to reach it. It will help you retain more employees.
Personally congratulate employees who have achieved something; it will mean a lot to them and they will likely do it to you, too. For remote teams, using employee recognition software can dramatically enhance employee engagement and make praises an easy task even virtually. This is just one of the top remote employee engagement activities that do not break the bank.
New York Times top-selling author Kevin Sheridan strongly believes that promoting health and wellness is the key to engaging employees. He further notes that many studies proved that health and wellness initiatives boost workplace productivity and engagement, as well as lessen turnover.
Author Blake McCammon says that emphasizing work-life balance allows employees to stay healthy, keep engaged in their work, and live life to its fullest. Talk to each employee and find out what you can do best to improve their professional and personal lives.
Make competitions healthy by rewarding outstanding work performance. Rewards can be in the form of a game ticket, free dinner, or free one day off. Explore other ideas until you find out what really gets them going. Also, you can ask management-level employees for other ideas to improve employee engagement.
Tell your employees necessary information, like the company direction or challenges. HRU Technical Resources President and HR Pro Tim Sackett says that employees want to be always updated and be trusted by their colleagues and supervisors.
Shake some things up in the office by having a motivational speaker over. Motivational speakers usually prepare creativity or team-building activities, which are aimed at improving employee relationships and providing employees with opportunities to learn and grow.
Team lunches are a good way to talk about anything while eating together, having a break together, and even bonding while working remotely. You can also use icebreaker questions to make your employees feel at ease, For huge teams, dividing groups into smaller ones may be better.
Employee engagement expert Irene Becker expresses that as employers, you must show that you care, that you are fighting for something your employees can be proud of, that you are offering them something meaningful, and that you encourage their growth. These will drive and sustain employee engagement initiatives within the office.
The thought of Monday makes it hard for many employees to enjoy Sunday. Fix this by having Monday activities that would make them look forward to Monday. Have trivia contests, for instance.
Live by your company values by making an employee recognition program based on them. In the future, employees will find it easy to determine what to recognize in each other. Get help from available platforms where you can customize a recognition program.
Recognition builds culture as it benefits from positive reinforcement to drive more of the attitude you pick to recognize. When it is used to champion company values, these values become firm in the office culture.
Knowing what your employees are interested in will help you easily connect with them. It will also make them feel that you care about their passion.
Regularly ask your employees about their interests, then think of ways to incorporate their passion into the office.
What makes a company a worthwhile place to work for is having unique perks that nurture the physical and mental health of employees. Many companies are now implementing unlimited vacation days, flexible working arrangements, free lunch, and an in-office gym, among others.
Give free office merchandise, like hoodies, yoga mats, or mugs to your employees to celebrate anniversaries, achievements, and other events. Make these merchandise limited so that they could become more desirable and motivate employees more to achieve goals.
Continue training your employees even after the onboarding process. Some of them will initiate in finding training, while others will need to be directly trained by their supervisors.
Have a weekly training session to talk about tactics that can improve each employee's role. You can even have training sessions for improving employees' leadership skills. Make them fun, too.
Have each department manager organize weekly meetings to check on the needs of their direct reports, new insights, and how they are doing with their roles and departments. In turn, managers and their direct reports will use these meetings to enhance their departments.
The People Skills Coach Kate Nasser voices out that focusing on your team's integrity, initiative, individual talents, and invaluable diversity improves employee engagement. Emphasize each employee's competence and how their contribution is significant to the team and company.
Engage new employees as early as you can by making them cared for and bonding with them frequently. Aside from introducing them to their bosses, introduce them to the other staff, too.
Not assessing the effectiveness of a company's employee engagement programs is a total waste of them. On that note, measure not just data but also look at your company's main engagement drivers.
Research-centered survey materials are a reliable tool for many companies. These tools accurately measure the effectiveness of employee engagement programs. Some of them have eNPS, pulse, and personalized pre-built templates. Others have also heat maps, main drivers, and KPI linkage analytics that translates feedback into insights.
Cubicles are out, spacious desks are in. Companies are now experimenting with fun office decor and cool office supplies that harbor ease and collaboration at the same time.
Understand your company culture and if you employ by it, you will keep on getting employees who want to work with each other. Good company culture starts with good relationships among employees.
Here's a suggestion: take important notes about your company's visions. Point out the crucial factors about them. Then, determine if a job applicant suits your company culture well. All applicants will seem to be nice and pleasing during interviews; hence it would be better to have a deeper grasp of their characters and motivations. Allow them to provide you with more depth and determine which of their attributes are pivotal to the company culture.
Advocate volunteering by committing to community and social responsibility programs. Give your employees time to get out of the office and take part in community service.
Hold office hours to welcome questions, feedback, suggestions, and any concerns employees may have. Let them become comfortable with the idea of approaching you in your office and speaking their minds.
Do not be that boss who consistently micromanages employees. Micromanaging leads to disengaged employees. Just trust them that they can perform well even without your eyes on them.
There are also insights suggesting that trust pushes employees to do things beyond their designation. They make employees empowered, work harmoniously with each other, and take more responsibilities.
Send some motivational quotes or inspirational one-liners to your employees on Mondays. For most of them, Mondays are one of those days when they can hardly get up in the morning, and it is the least you can do to get them going.
Know your employees' career goals and ensure they are on the right path to achieve them. Talk to them and carefully plan the necessary courses of action to take to obtain new skills, earn a salary raise, or get promoted.
Assign each employee food to bring and share with others every other day. Having food days will be a regular bonding time for the employees. Some of them may even like the idea of impressing others with their cooking or baking skills.
On Fridays, since all employees are excited about the weekend, let them play their kind of music. Let them take over the PA system and listen to their favorite songs or dance.
You do not have to lead every meeting; give that task to a different employee. Sharing responsibilities results in increased engagement.
In a learning club, employees pick a work-related movie or book to enjoy and discuss over with those who are also watching or reading the same thing. Let these different clubs have their regular discussions at conference rooms. Each team can also find their own location for their meetings, order snacks, and print T-shirts. Give them the freedom to do what would make their teams happy and at their best.
Create a newsletter that will be headed by a committee of employees. They should share relevant information and news with the office. News can be delivered via email, vlog, or the usual newspaper.
Soon, you will find that other employees are looking forward to reading company news coordinated by their colleagues.
Select a day when emails will not be allowed. For questions, employees can directly ask the concerned person. Personal interactions, even for brief seconds, lead to memorable employee engagement scenarios.
Show employees about company successes, whether big or small, by relaying customer testimonials. Show them how their hard work affects real people.
No matter how difficult it is to find solutions to some employee concerns, make it a point to update them about the developments you are making to address their problems. If there are no updates yet, at least tell them that you will be addressing their issues, meetings are already scheduled, you are still waiting for signatories, and so on. If you would not take action on feedback, employee engagement would be impossible to promote.
Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs may affect the way you perceive and apply employee engagement programs. Salary and benefits aside, employees want to know the significance of their work.
Rather than looking solely at employee performance, work on the repercussions of their labor into yearly reviews. Meeting deadlines is not enough; employees should know their huge impact on your company.
Glassdoor has some of the most honest employee insights that may be relevant to your employee engagement programs. Although some feedbacks there appear to be too negative, they can give you a real picture of what employees are really experiencing.
Allow employees to take other positions for a day. Persons presently holding the positions should train the employees before the switching of roles happen.
You may ask also employees to share with the team what they have learned afterward.
When employee engagement programs do not seem to work, bringing in experts may help. Some companies are inviting corporate anthropologists to examine their companies and employees and, in the end, help them achieve their missions.
A single hated task may negatively affect the overall performance of an employee. Ask them what they dread about their job and consider adjusting some responsibilities to make things lighter for everyone. What this employee hates may be fun stuff to do for the other employee.
Why are you having this employee engagement initiative in your office? Answer this first before proceeding with the program. Taking some time to ponder this does not just let you consider the essential reasons but also some hindrances along the way.
When employees feel they are being truly cared for, they feel engaged. The Disney Institute, for instance, makes it a point to find out what bothers their employees. Even if they are the smallest of things, employees will appreciate that you are paying attention to their needs.
Not all meetings need agendas or target results. Try having open brainstorming sessions where you can talk about any ideas. You can start by highlighting a business aspect that you would like to further work on.
Establish some rules during these sessions. Ask participants to keep an open mind, not to shut down other insights, respond positively, and so on.
Talk about problems together and be transparent with each other. In these instances, you will see how employees solve problems. When they feel like they are being consulted about major setbacks, they will feel engaged and be keener to solve them. This is a good example of how to improve employee engagement while being productive at the same time.
These meetings can be in any format, be it in outside jam sessions or in-house team lunches.
Having a hard time thinking of employee engagement tasks? Think about what the concept could mean to your employees first. Once you have an idea of what they mean by it, you can easily come up with new ways to target it.
Have quick bonding moments before meetings. One nice idea is to point someone to be in the hot seat, but instead of asking questions, the rest of the team will mention their favorite attitude of that person.
Some of the best ideas to help companies come from employees who are just too shy to speak their minds. Have a regular show and tell them where they can discuss their suggestions.
Gather employees from each department, group them into teams, and ask them to discuss long-term initiatives that entail responsibilities beyond their work scope. It will allow them to meet other staff from other departments and learn from each other.
Certain attitudes within the office, such as close-mindedness, also make employees disengaged. Set a "yes and..." expectation for employees to observe. Setting this creates a culture of open-mindedness among employees, especially when new ideas are presented.
Sometimes, it is also the personal lives of employees that make them seem disengaged. Some of them are physically present at work but mentally wishing they could attend their children's school activities. Talk to them about these matters and adjust their schedules if needed.
When you ask for revisions or adjustments, explain to your employees the reasons behind them. Those who often experience rejection may feel disengaged and frustrated. Help them understand you and aim for improvement.
Free, open sources courses offered by prominent universities are widely accessible on the internet. Some of your employees may want to enroll in one, but work schedule comes in their way. Show them support by offering incentives for employees who will be studying. Then, add rewards if they present something about their learnings.
Getting distracted at work is normal. Let them know that you understand them by making them laugh instead. For example, you can fill a jar with jokes, activities, and other interesting items, which they can pay attention to for a couple of minutes.
As SnackNation's very own Culture Committee says, this body is composed of different persons from each department. They represent their principal values and guarantee that their culture is heading toward the right track. They have a committee for communication, events, wellness, philanthropy, and other celebrations, all while addressing their objective of uniting all departments.
SnackNation also has this culture of introducing their new hires. They take it seriously yet uniquely.
Allow your employees to set their own objectives. In this way, they are more likely to get inspired because they set them for themselves unlike those set by their supervisors. At the same time, you should work with them to check or improve their list, assuring they are aligned with the company's goals.
Allow your employees to attend outside conferences or seminars to upskill themselves. Investing in your employees' career development benefits not just them but also the company. Even as they learn new things such as steps to start a LLC, they learn new skills, and these skills will help your company progress.
Write a letter to thank your employees for their hard work. With technology continuously evolving, recognizing them in this old-fashioned way will surely be a standout to them.
If possible, ask the CEO or president to write the thank-you notes.
Make a mascot that best represents the team. A mascot can remind the team of its culture, goals, and what makes them one. At the same time, it is a great source of entertainment.
Let teams go outside for a walk. Walking will allow them to take a quick break from work and bond with their peers.
Hold a Q&A where employees can ask any questions to the CEO or president. Employees should be allowed to submit questions anonymously prior to the event. Otherwise, they can ask their questions live.
Q&As allow business leaders to show transparency to their employees.
Some modern workplaces now do not implement permanent workstations for their employees. In these offices, employees are allowed to move around whenever they want and stay wherever they feel comfortable. Employees then get to stay in different parts of the office and get to know other colleagues. This idea can get employees excited for a change.
Have a complaint box where employees can complain anonymously. Their complaints may be a good opportunity to improve certain things in the company.
Employer-sponsored accounts for employees are rampant nowadays due to their versatility, customizable features, affordability, and time-saving advantages. This shows employees that they are being supported and cared for, encouraging them, even more, to reach their potential at work.
There are HR software solutions that can also aid in categorizing perk stipends, enabling you to choose perks that perfectly align with the company values, goals, and culture. Perks are some of the best employee engagement activities in companies today.
Celebrate your employees' birthdays, work anniversaries, and any other life's special moments. Making it totally random to surprise them with a celebration is way better.
Thinking of having a team building somewhere? Let employees plan it for the team. Ask them for more ideas, as well as their time to organize regular company events. You employees may know best about the best employee engagement ideas that work.
Give your employees the opportunity to get invested in their workplace by assembling a workplace design body. Giving them this kind of ownership will make them feel that working feels like home.
Employees find it easy to voice out their opinion when they can do it anonymously. Have them answer an employee engagement survey once in a while so that you get can their honest feedback about the company.
While it is true that employees are the heart and soul of a company, it is only true when most of them are completely engaged in their work. Otherwise, they will be only contributing less value or working toward a different path not aligned with the company's (Gleeson, 2017). Fundamentally, having engaged employees makes a company easier to manage, something every business management graduate should aspire to, and gives the higher management the green light to focus on other crucial business matters.