7 Effective Ways to Boost Employee Engagement
There’s hardly anyone left in the world who hasn’t heard about employee engagement. It’s the concept that describes employees’ relationship with the company they work at, especially how emotionally connected they feel to it. A good leader knows how essential employee engagement is and does everything to boost it. If you think you could help with that, here are a few effective ways.
Why Employee Engagement Matters
Employee engagement is a buzzword in HR, but it’s for a good reason. It is one of the key factors in an organization’s performance. Companies that have focused on boosting employee engagement report impressive improvements in several areas, including:
- Higher performance. When workers feel like they belong and are emotionally connected to their company, they are more productive. It is estimated that engaged teams’ productivity is over 20% higher!
- Lower turnover. Engagement also fosters employees’ emotional attachment to the job they do and the organization they work at. As a result, they are less likely to leave, which translates into better retention rates for the company.
- Better work climate. Companies that have introduced engagement-focused initiatives observe positive changes in the workplace environment and closer relationships (both in the management-employee and employee-employee dimensions).
- Improved mental health. An engaged workforce is also happier and less vulnerable to professional burnout, contributing to productivity growth.
So measuring employee engagement and introducing engagement-boosting practices is well worth the effort. The overwhelming majority of employers who have already done so agree.
#1 Improve Onboarding
One of the common barriers to employee engagement is poor onboarding. Consider the following scenario. An employee has always dreamt of working at your company and did everything to land a job. They searched for “hire someone to write my resume,” polished their job application, aced the interview, and finally became a proud member of your team. They’re excited and full of initiative.
But during their first weeks at your company, no one’s helping them adjust. They’re unsure what to do, who to approach with questions, and how to voice their ideas. This is guaranteed to kill their enthusiasm. The first month is critical for new employees; it can permanently make or break their relationship with the company. That’s why effective and thorough onboarding matters so much.
#2 Let Your Employees Know That Their Opinions Matter
Everyone wants to feel heard, whether in their personal life or workplace. When employees know that their leaders welcome and listen to their feedback, they’re encouraged to offer their ideas and suggest improvements to work processes. A manager who makes it easy for them to do so and receives all feedback (including criticism) well is much more likely to build an engaged and proactive team.
#3 Make Sure Everyone’s in the Right Role
Employee engagement may be a complex concept, but it boils down to whether or not an employee loves their job. Your responsibility as a leader is to ensure that every person on your team is doing exactly what they’re meant to do. If someone appears disengaged or even approaches you to admit wanting to try themselves in a new role, you have to react.
An important aspect of ensuring that everyone at your company is happy and working on the tasks they are best at is encouraging passion projects. Don’t kill your employees’ ideas; allow them the space to bring them to life. Once you do, innovation and creativity on your team will grow tenfold.
#4 Show Appreciation and Reward Performance
Everyone wants to have their accomplishments recognized and rewarded. Giving employees bonuses for high performance is great, but it’s not enough. Don’t withhold praise when someone on your team does especially well; express your appreciation loudly and publicly. It will encourage the high performer to keep up the good work and motivate others to do the same.
#5 Provide Endless Training Opportunities
No matter how fantastic your employees are at what they do, there’s always room for growth. Regular employee training is crucial for maintaining your performance and employee engagement steadily high. And please don’t forget about their soft skills. Communication, inclusion, and conflict resolution training programs are the bare minimum.
Also, give your team a chance to take on new tasks and try themselves in different roles if they feel like it. Ideally, every company should have a career advice expert available to employees. This way, once someone feels like they’ve reached the ceiling in what they’re doing (or simply grew bored with it), they have a chance to transition into a new line of work.
#6 Build and Encourage Relationships
Team-building activities can’t replace a warm and supportive organizational culture, but they matter. Regular team gatherings, weekly meetings, and well-established multi-channel communication among all employees help build closer connections between colleagues and their management. As a result, employees’ emotional attachment to their company and engagement grow.
#7 Embrace Flexibility
Finally, don’t be an authoritarian leader who expects everyone to arrive at work at 9 a.m. sharp and treats work from home as a disaster regardless of the circumstances. That’s no longer the norm, and rightly so. Employee surveys show that a democratic organizational culture and flexibility are among the factors that affect engagement.
When workers know that their manager trusts them to do their jobs well without being physically present in the office and grants them vacations when they feel like they need to recharge, they are happier. And happier means more engaged and better performing. You’ve hired your team because they’re the best, right? Trust them, then.
To Wrap It Up
Overall, increasing employee engagement is all about communicating appreciation and trust. The worst thing a manager can do to their team’s motivation and work satisfaction is micromanaging. Instead, listen to your employees, welcome feedback, encourage close relationships, and don’t be afraid to allow your team as much flexibility as they need. You won’t regret it!