The Top 7 Employee Engagement Strategies To Help Boost Your Workforce
An astounding 68% of employees are not engaged while 17% are actively disengaged. Since low levels of engagement can impact morale, performance, and retention, you may be looking to implement employee engagement strategies that can drive a productive and positive work environment. What opportunities exist to better engage your employees? Let’s find out.
In this article, we’ll discuss what employee engagement is, signs it may be suffering at your company, the risks to your company of declining levels, and the most common engagement strategies to combat disengagement. After reading this, you’ll know the best steps to take to help boost your workforce.
What is employee engagement?
Before we dive into the best employee engagement strategies for your workplace, it’s important to understand exactly what employee engagement is. Employee engagement is the level of enthusiasm and dedication a worker feels towards their job.
Engaged workers are more likely to be productive and higher performing, and also often display a greater commitment to a company’s values and goals. Characteristics of an engaged employee include:
- They have a positive attitude
- They go above and beyond
- They are motivated to further the success of the organization
- They contribute to the team
- They are trustworthy and reliable
- They adapt well to change
- They want to do well and demonstrate an interest in learning and development
What are signs of low employee engagement?
Since the number of engaged employees can directly impact your company’s success, it’s a good idea to use employee engagement strategies when you find that engagement levels are suffering at your company.
When employees become less engaged at work, there are generally some tell-tale signs. These include:
- Withdrawal: Employees may start to show a lack of enthusiasm and stop participating in things like meetings, social gatherings, or activities that contribute to the team like volunteering to train new employees.
- Oppositional attitude: They may start to be argumentative or defiant when you make suggestions or requests, or cut down other employees’ efforts.
- Worsening job performance: Workers may start to miss deadlines or make mistakes. In fact, disengaged workers make 60% more errors and defects in their work performance. When asked about their declining performance, they may not be receptive to the feedback and show no interest in improving.
- Negative approach to problems: Instead of looking for solutions to improve a situation, the employee may focus solely on the problem itself and spend their energy venting to colleagues.
- Apathy: Disengaged employees may start to appear as if they don’t care about the company or have any desire to see the business succeed.
- Tardiness or absenteeism: They may start to show up late for work or call out more frequently, which may force other employees to pick up the slack. This can add to stress levels and lower morale if workers feel their colleagues aren’t committed to quality work or they need to carry more of the workload.
What are the top employee engagement strategies?
Whether you’re already seeing signs of a disengaged workforce or just want to get ahead of any potential problems in your workplace, there are several employee engagement strategies you can try to boost your workforce.
Actively solicit, listen to, and respond to employee feedback so they feel heard and understood – even if they are giving constructive criticism. Surveys of specific individuals, groups, or functions, which are often a feature in employee engagement software, can help you identify ways to improve your work environment. Be sure to make them anonymous so workers feel comfortable sharing their honest opinions. And thank individuals for their input.
Recognize Employee Accomplishments
Recognition can increase workplace performance by 80% so give people credit where credit is due. Make time during meetings for individual employees to discuss their accomplishments or give company-wide shouts to show that they are valued and necessary members of the organization. Encourage peer-to-peer recognition as well and offer easy ways for employees to give praise like giving each worker a stack of sticky notes to leave on their co-workers’ desks.
Foster Social Connections
Strong social connections make people happier, less stressed, and more engaged. While you may have remote workers, for those that work on site, have an area in the workplace where employees can socialize without distracting others. Team-building activities are another good way to bring people together; however, don’t just schedule “forced fun.” Ask employees what they like to do to find out what they’d more likely attend, or encourage your team to put their own activities in place to drive buy-in.
Show Interest In Them Personally
Check in regularly with employees – and not just about work. While email and text are easy platforms to use, phone or video calls allow for a more free-flowing conversation and opportunities for connection. Ask about their kids or hobbies they’re interested in to genuinely get to know them on a more personal level. And find a way to celebrate life events like birthdays, weddings, or the birth of a child.
Make sure to schedule time to provide more real-time feedback. And if you notice an issue with an employee’s engagement, ask so you can suggest strategies to mitigate the issue. For example, find out if they’re feeling overwhelmed by their workload or if they don’t feel the projects they’re working on make the best use of their skills so you can make adjustments.
Provide Opportunities For Development
Disengagement may happen when employees feel they don’t have opportunities for growth. Be sure to offer professional development programs so they don’t feel like they’ve hit a dead end. In addition to training, consider mentorships and coaching as well to help foster their professional growth.
Give Employees A Sense Of Purpose
When employees feel their individual sense of purpose is aligned with the company’s, there is greater employee engagement. To support their life purpose, show you meaningfully consider your organization’s role in society by reflecting with employees about your impact on the world. You may even want to provide opportunities to advance a cause or issue through corporate philanthropy.
How to Best Leverage Employee Engagement Strategies at Your Company
Even if you don’t currently see signs of low engagement in your workplace, it’s a good idea to get ahead of any potential problems by investing in employee engagement strategies. As you look to implement solutions, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, you’ll want to have realistic expectations. Don’t expect to change engagement levels overnight but strive to make improvements over time.
Second, make sure you involve the right people. Get representatives from HR, management, senior leadership, and employees on board; it’s a good idea to form an engagement committee to set goals and monitor progress – and adapt your strategy as needed.
Lastly, you may want to consider supplementing your efforts with employee engagement software. Read our next article on software solutions that can help drive multi-directional engagement both between employees and with them to build a better organization.