While employee engagement is a hot topic in business today, most organizations still put their employees on the back burner.
If you want your business to thrive, you need to make it a fun place to work. Whether your employees work from home or in a brick-and-mortar office, it can be difficult to keep everyone engaged, especially in the current climate.
Employee engagement is a concept that describes the level of enthusiasm and commitment that an employee has toward their work and workplace. It doesn’t only involve job satisfaction and employee retention but also the degree to which employees are motivated to contribute towards their employer’s success.
With that said, it helps cultivate productivity, creativity, and collaboration in the workplace, which can lead to better performance, higher motivation, and ultimately a stronger bottom line.
15 employee engagement best practices
While employee engagement looks different for everyone, a good place to start is this list of must-have employee engagement best practices for any business.
1. Set achievable goals with clear expectations
Employees can easily become overwhelmed or unmotivated when faced with ambiguous or unachievable goals. Laying out clear expectations of what needs to be accomplished and when will help keep your employees on track and motivated.
2. Foster meaningful work in employees
Sometimes, employees can feel like their work is filled with mundane tasks that lack purpose, leading to boredom, frustration, and even burnout. Encourage employees to take ownership of projects and explain how their work fits into the big picture.
3. Provide growth and development opportunities
Along with meaningful work, employees want to feel like they can grow within the organization. Offer training opportunities, mentorship programs, and other career development initiatives that help employees reach new heights in the workplace.
4. Promote cross-departmental collaboration
Diverse perspectives can not only help spur creativity and innovation but also create a sense of camaraderie among employees. Create opportunities for employees to work together across departments, whether it’s through team meetings or brainstorming sessions, to learn new skills and build relationships with each other.
5. Establish strong relationships with employees
Walking around the office and greeting employees is a great start, but it doesn’t go far enough. To really foster engagement, leaders need to get to know employees on a deeper level. Take the time to understand their individual needs, goals, interests, and motivations.
6. Recognize and reward achievements
Whether it’s a simple thank-you, some gift cards, or a quarterly bonus, everyone loves to be recognized for a job well done. It not only boosts employee engagement and morale but also motivates them to keep up the hard work. Acknowledge their successes publicly and don’t forget to celebrate their birthdays or work anniversaries.
7. Give employees autonomy in their roles
Telling employees what to do every step of the way can be counterproductive. Instead, give them some autonomy in their roles and let them come up with creative solutions on their own to create a more engaging work experience.
8. Develop a company-wide feedback system
Letting employees know when they’re doing a great job is important, but providing constructive criticism is equally important. While traditional annual performance reviews can be effective, they don’t capture real-time inputs that may be critical for business performance. Create a system like employee engagement surveys where employees and management can give and receive feedback from each other without the fear of repercussions.
9. Leverage gamification to make work fun
Using game-like elements, such as points, badges, and boosts, can be a powerful tool for employee engagement. Whether it’s a friendly inter-department competition or a reward system for top performers, gamifying everyday tasks can make mundane work more enjoyable, motivate employees to do their best work, and encourage collaboration among team members.
10. Train managers to be effective leaders
Most managers are promoted because of their technical skills, not necessarily their leadership skills. Invest in training programs that will help managers become better leaders who can effectively communicate, motivate, and inspire their teams.
11. Support employees’ mental health and wellbeing
Gone are the days when mental health was seen as a taboo topic in the workplace. A supportive environment is key to keeping your employees engaged and productive. Encourage open dialogue about mental health, offer access to resources such as counseling or therapy, and take measures to reduce stress levels.
12. Organize team-building activities
Take time to organize activities that bring employees together to help them form strong relationships with each other. This can be anything from a company outing or retreat to simple activities like team lunches and weekly happy hour.
13. Invest in technology to make processes easier
It's so much easier to stay engaged when you don’t have to fight with technology to get the job done. With new tools like automation and artificial intelligence, time-consuming tasks can be completed quickly and processes can be streamlined for greater efficiency. Implementing this will free up time and energy for employees to focus on their work rather than mundane tasks.
14. Keep communication channels open and active
No one likes to feel left out of the loop. Regularly communicate with your employees so they know what’s going on in the business and how their work contributes to it. Likewise, make sure your employees feel comfortable bringing up any concerns they may have.
15. Provide access to resources that employees need
Nothing is worse than being stuck without the resources and tools you need to do your job. Even the most motivated employee will struggle to stay engaged when they don’t have access to what they need at the right time. Make sure your employees have everything they need, from software and hardware to training materials and office supplies.
Making employee engagement a priority within your organization cultivates a more productive and engaged workforce. A great employee engagement strategy focuses on creating an environment where employees are challenged, supported, and acknowledged for their contributions.
But engagement is just one variable in the employee success equation. Implementing even the best employee engagement ideas doesn't guarantee success and satisfaction unless you put up opportunities for enablement and moments for celebration. Only then will employees feel truly connected to the organization with a renewed enthusiasm toward their work.