Engaged employees try harder, respond to problems more creatively, and interact with co-workers more positively. If your employee are engaged with your goals, they are more likely to try to achieve those goals as if they were their own. This can make the difference between a company that thrives, with employees giving their best effort and a business that fails.
How do You Improve Employee Engagement?
To improve employee engagement, you first need to understand the challenges of keeping employees engaged. Too many business owners think that if employees are paid properly, motivation should come too. However, competitive pay does not equal motivation. Here are some challenges in keeping your workforce engaged:
- A large company. The bigger your organization is, the harder it may be to keep people within it motivated. Small businesses often have intimacy between members that increases engagement organically. Larger businesses are less able to create this intimacy, especially with new employees.
- Consistent pay. Paying at a rate comparable to your competitors is a good standard practice, and you probably can’t afford to devote more salary to employee payment than they already do. However, if your workers feel that they are not being paid enough for their hard work, they may not feel the need to do anything above and beyond. You may need to work harder to engage people who think that they should be paid more.
- Boring jobs. Let’s face it, lots of computer technology jobs aren’t very interesting. Less than exciting businesses struggle to keep their employees engaged as they perform the same monotonous tasks day after day. For such businesses, work life needs to make up for the work if people are going to be engaged. It is even more challenging to keep every employee engaged every day when they work from home.
Here are 11 practical ways to increase employee engagement:
1. Talk to Your Employees
How do you know if your workforce is engaged? Ask. Find out what your people wish your company did differently. Ask them for ideas for programs or initiatives that they would like to see. It’s a good idea to be specific. Ask for 5 things they’d like to change and ideas for making changes.
Offer a survey that asks detailed questions but is as open-ended as possible. Keep collecting feedback at home during Covid-19 by using chat tools to create virtual coffee breaks and sessions.
2. Make your Goals Present
Team members are more likely to be engaged if they understand the company mission and their part in achieving company goals. Make sure that your mission and goals are succinct, clear, and frequently repeated. Discuss goals at meetings, restate them in emails, and ask employees how they’re helping your company meet goals at employee reviews.
3. Demand Engagement
Employees are more engaged now than ever before. 34% of employees are engaged, as opposed to only 13% which are actively disengaged, which are the best numbers yet. However, some employees are more likely to engage organically than others.
For employees who may be a bit shyer, you may need to repeat your requests for engagement and offer gentle repercussions to employees who don’t engage. Keep a list of employees whose engagement concerns you and actively work to get them more involved.
4. Take a Deep Dive Into Company Culture
It only takes a few sour grapes to create a negative culture. On the other hand, a couple of well-motivated and well-positioned managers or even regular employees can totally transform your culture. Get to know the exchanges going on in your company and the relationships that are formed to get a sense of what your company culture is really like. Then, take steps to weed out the sour grapes.
5. Create a Culture of Engaging Activities
It isn’t enough to encourage your employees to engage with your business in general. You need to invent activities that encourage and shape the kind of engagement that you want to see. Don’t expect to see significant change if you only organize events or activities a couple of times a year. You need to engage your workforce every month or so for meaningful effects.
6. Challenge Your Team Beyond Work
Give your team the opportunity to develop relationships and tackle challenging problems in a completely new environment. Overcoming problems in a fun way can give your team the skills that they need to tackle serious issues at work.
Take your team mountain climbing, enjoy a scuba diving class together, enroll in a cooking class, or train for a marathon. You may be amazed by the camaraderie that can be developed in such a situation and the ways in which your teams learn to work together better.
7. Do Something for Your Community
Doing something for your community feels good. Doing something together for your community can make your workforce feel more connected to one another and to the environment in which they live and work.
Accomplishing a practical goal together, like picking up trash or scrubbing graffiti, can be surprisingly fun and satisfying. This can be especially effective if most of your employee relations are abstracts and dry, which is all too common for software businesses. Choosing a project that is aligned with your brand’s cause can do incredible things for company morale by joining your workforce together in a shared mission.
8. Hold Up the Clean Glass
There is a saying that you don’t need to point out when a glass is dirty, just set a clean glass next to it. You don’t need to point out the employees who are not performing as well or showing as much engagement.
Just reward and acknowledge the employees who are performing the best and the most engaged. 89% of Human Resources leaders believe that their employee recognition program improves the employee experience.
9. Make a Contest
A little bit of friendly competition is a great way to increase engagement. Whether you want to offer a reward to the department or individual that achieves a business goal first or you want to create an arbitrary contest just for fun, getting your teams competing with each other in a friendly way is an excellent way to develop engagement.
10. Increase Communication and Collaboration
Businesses whose departments freely exchange ideas and information are better able to creatively respond to problems and make improvements. Furthermore, employees who belong to businesses that encourage communication regardless of rank or status feel that they are valuable to the company regardless of their role, which makes them much more willing to engage.
Employees who think their supervisors listen to them and value their opinion are 4.6 times more likely to engage. Even if your workforce is working from home, you can increase this kind of communication as well as giving your employees an opportunity for socialization during a time when it can be hard to find opportunities for conversation.
11. Devote Resources to Employee Engagement
Employee engagement is unlikely to happen on its own. Devoting money, time, resources, and even dedicated personnel to employee engagement is sure to improve it. Employee Engagement programs are a great way to devote resources to employee engagement.
A program even exists to help smaller companies boost engagement. Don’t have many resources to devote to Employee Engagement? Consider this free Employee Engagement program released by Butterfly to help businesses who are suddenly operating from home deal with the challenges of engaging employees during Covid-19.
Engage your Team
The challenges of team engagement can be overcome with the right techniques, even without changing job descriptions or increasing pay. Be creative, take time to understand the people who work for you, and have fun getting your workers engaged.