10 Exceptional Ways to Boost Employee Engagement
Employee engagement and retention are among the top of all HR priority lists these days. This is so because employees in today’s job market quickly feel uninspired by their work, get bored after 2 years and start job hunting for something new. It’s not news that quick turnover drains companies, both financially and creatively.
Therefore, organisations need to find a way to ensure that their staff is on the right track, especially as businesses grow. But it is essential to keep in mind that it cannot be done through one-off projects. It has to be a continuous process which must be optimised regularly.
The idea is to have a much broader canvas and not restrict employee engagement to just fun and games, although that is an important part of work culture too.
As important as it is to work towards improving your organisation’s levels of employee engagement, there’s no getting around the fact that it can be rather difficult. But it doesn’t have to be that way. After all, everyone wants to lead their team to success, and sometimes a few fresh ideas are all it takes to help rejuvenate your employees and increase their productivity.
A good employee engagement programme fosters productivity and is meant to boost profits. It helps bring your team together, facilitates empowerment, engagement and improved performance. Here are our top 10 ideas to boost employee engagement in your organisation.
1. Positive reinforcement:
Team leaders and managers of most companies have the tendency to focus on finding out mistakes and setting them right. Often, a system of punishment is also put in place to teach employees a lesson, and the focus is not always on finding out what’s right and rewarding it.
Spotting shortcomings, providing feedback and making appropriate adjustments are all necessary and important, but managers must also proactively search for and recognise employees who demonstrate their organisation’s desired behaviours.
We believe positive reinforcement is one of the easiest and quickest ways to improve employee happiness and effectiveness. Employee engagement must be fostered through consistent recognition and genuine care. Catching employees doing it right increases the likelihood that they will repeat the desired behaviours, and leaders’ acknowledgement of such behaviors serves as positive reinforcement by nurturing employees’ self-confidence. This should inspire people to continue giving their best output and enable them to make a dramatic and lasting impact
2. Be part of the fun@work:
Employee engagement is not only for subordinates. While the manager is leading the team, it is important to stop and say, “Hey, we are part of the same organisation, and we can have fun together while making things work for our company.” This sets an informal tone and helps the employee relate better to the company. It also improves communication, and overall engagement at work and outside of work improves.
After all, we spend maximum time of our waking day at work, so the association one has to the workplace has to be positive and fun. This will, in turn, boost the ownership and responsibility of the employee as well, to perform.
3. Take action on feedback:
Collecting employee feedback has come a long way. Two interesting things we’ve observed in our interaction with companies is that while organisations spend a lot of time at collecting feedback, they don’t always feel confident sharing results, and managers are often unsure on how to act on what they’ve learned.
When action isn’t taken on feedback, employees lose interest in contributing and we believe that no checklist mentality or generalised best practices from academic studies are going to drive real action from the ground level. When you take action on the feedback provided by employee, meaningful and positive changes follow. This can in turn directly impact the success of your organisation. Whether you’re trying to increase engagement or improve retention, feedback action can empower your managers to build momentum for the business and also improve the work culture.
4. Make sure they are not over-working:
Many companies, especially in sectors like finance and IT, have traditionally shown that staying late at work, working on weekends, means that the employee is very hard working. It is important to break this pattern and mindset. It is up to the employee to decide how much time they need to complete a task, and the responsibility of managers to just judge the output and the time taken to deliver this.
This means that managers should be conscious not to encourage weekend working unless it is absolutely necessary. And if the employee puts in more time at work outside of the required number of hours, they should be incentivised to do so. This leads to two things: a> the managers learn to get the work done within the stipulated work hours, and employees will also be more conscientious of timelines. b> Employees will feel more valued.
5. Ask employees how they want to be rewarded:
Recognition and rewards for employees and their hard work and efforts should be done in a way that means something to them. Giving employees a T-shirt or a sweatshirt with the company logo is awesome if an employee wants that. However, if the employee says they want to have a day off for example, mid-week instead of a Saturday, and this is a negotiable thing for your company, you can consider offering it to them as an incentive for good performance. The key is to ask. What motivates employees?
There are plenty of opportunities to ask employees what matters to them. You can ask during the interview. Or maybe create an activity during orientation where employees make a personal user guide that includes how they prefer to be recognised. Another option is to straight up ask them during a one-on-one meeting. Whatever method you choose, don’t make assumptions that every employee values the same things. This is a good way to see that individual aspirations are fulfilled.
6. Revisit job roles and responsibilities once in a while:
To have a truly effective performance management process that supports employee performance, development and success, you need to get everyone involved. Having engaged and informed senior management and employees will result in higher participation rates and better quality performance management.
In the present digital age, what is expected of employees is constantly changing. People need to be equipped to adapt to new roles, situations and learn new skills to be relevant. It is therefore good to revisit jobs roles and responsibilities every now and again to make sure that employees and managers are on the same page.
7. Delegate work appropriately:
Managers’ primary role is to make sure that others are doing what they have been assigned, to accomplish the mission and goals of the company. Often, managers think that they are delegating when they assign tasks to employees. This actually is just assigning them their job. Real delegation is assigning responsibility for outcomes along with the authority to do what is needed to produce the desired results.
A major factor is the failure of organisations to assure that the supervisors and managers know how to delegate effectively. It would do well to train managers in the delegation of work, or at least giving them a cheat sheet or signposts to ensure that the company’s goals are being met.
Effective managers know what responsibilities to delegate to allow themselves time to plan, to collaborate with others in the organisation, and to monitor the performance of their employees, making sure to give them adequate feedback and development opportunities.
8. Training and development:
This is one of the most sought after aspects in company employee engagement practices and for a good reason. Learning is a very significant driver of career development. Therefore, learning, development and advancement opportunities that are provided to employees on a systematic basis are one of the obvious ways to keep them engaged.
Career development isn’t that one-off training class or periodical promotions but, rather, the daily journey of learning, job skills and networking that puts employees on the course they most want to travel in their career along with their manager’s help getting there. Employees need to know that their manager is interested in their development and is willing to take time to encourage their progress. For example, it is extremely important to outline the key learning for employees from the projects they are assigned.
9. Team building activities:
This is one of the older, more traditional concepts of employee engagement and is still a very effective way. The concept behind team-building is fantastic. The idea is to get employees outside their normal activities, get them to mingle with coworkers they don’t normally interact with and have fun while fostering teamwork and giving them a nice boost.
As long as it doesn’t feel forced and unorganised, it’s a very good idea. The key is to be thoughtful about who is on the team and what you’re trying to accomplish.
You need to put some time and care into team-building exercises. All ideas will not work for every company. What are your team’s likes and dislikes? Are they active, or would they better appreciate a mental exercise? Do you want your team to improve on alignment, problem-solving, or get closer? Pair that information with the goals you want to accomplish through the exercise. It has to be customised, to ensure that employees enjoy it, and also appreciate the effort. Importantly, they can always outline learning from it.
10. Allow employees to follow their passion:
Taking on from team building, creative outlets need not only be a team exercise. Sometimes, it is important to allow your employees to express themselves during work hours as well. Once a week, perhaps, if someone from your team wants to learn the guitar you could allow them. It need not be rigid, and it need not be something employees take advantage of. As long as this is done in a transparent free fashion, it will yield positive results. It can also help the employees feel like the company is interested in their holistic development and this will help them put in more effort into realising company goals.
While these are only 10 ways to boost employee engagement, you can come up with 100s more, of course keeping the culture and organisational goals in mind. To sum it up broadly, good employee engagement strategies have been proven to reduce staff turnover, improve productivity and efficiency, retain customers at a higher rate, and make more profits. Most importantly, it strives for a happier employee both at work and at home.
At Yellow Spark, we formulate interesting and innovate ways to help get the best out of your employees. To know more write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Author Profile: Deepam Yogi is an adventurer at heart, socially conscious in her gut and professionally a strategic consultant. She co-founded Yellow Spark to support organisations to build workplaces that people love being a part of. Deepam describes herself as a shy yet opinionated writer, and firmly believes that most answers to complex issues lie in simple communication.