Employee engagement can be difficult to measure but it is the secret sauce that keeps companies, and start-ups in particular, humming. Your colleagues and teammates are the make-or-break of your success as a business and you should do everything you can to improve engagement.
With employees now often geographically dispersed across the world, remote, office and hybrid work environments, it’s more important than ever to think carefully about how to give them the best experience to increase engagement.
Here are nine strategies to have a tangible impact on your employee engagement.
1) Training and coaching
The best employees want to improve themselves and further their career. Offering tailored, appropriate and inspirational training and coaching options is one way to give them – and the business – a benefit. This could be formal training, accredited courses, short courses, external providers or internal mentoring. Not only will this improve skills overall, but morale will also rise as your staff will feel valued. Invest in your team’s capabilities.
2) Social opportunities
One of the reasons people love their workplace is the people they get to work alongside. Give your team the opportunity to grow their relationships with colleagues. This can include virtual social groups – such as informal channels on Microsoft Teams or Facebook @ Work – or in-person meet-ups. Allowing them to learn non-professional attributes of one another and giving them the space to explore these aspects of their colleagues’ identities is a great way to improve engagement and team cohesion.
3) Recognition and awards
Recognising employee achievements is crucial at every business – big or small. While external awards events are one way to celebrate and rise above the competition, managers should also consider praising staff in meetings and holding internal recognition events.
Don’t forget to recognise non-career related accomplishments too. New babies, weddings, academic achievements and other extracurricular benchmarks can also be celebrated.
4) Lunch and Learns / Virtual brown bag lunches
In a remote-work world, one social event too often left behind is the lunchroom chat. Typically, in a corporate environment, you might get to learn about what someone in another department is working on because you bump into them in the lunchroom or the elevator. Now, managers must carefully craft these meetings. Hosting “virtual brown bag lunches” with different internal or external guest speakers, where staff can voluntarily drop in to learn and ask questions can be a great way to improve engagement and the sharing of knowledge across a company.
5) Bonuses and perks
Not every company can afford to offer cash bonuses to staff each quarter or year. But there are other perks and bonuses that managers can consider. Increasingly, people value extra time off to pursue hobbies, volunteering days, discounts on company products and other perks. Your human resources team may be able to craft a list of potential perks for your workplace.
6) Innovation days
Encourage your team to work together to be creative by starting annual “innovation days” or a similar initiative that will best suit your workplace. This can be in-person or virtual and encourages cross-departmental brainstorming about a company problem or idea to see what employees and dream up. Giving people autonomy and showing their input is valued will really boost overall engagement.
7) Improve technological tools
Giving employees the best tech tools the company can afford is an important way to ensure engagement remains at a high. Workers who are not provided with appropriate laptops, headphones, webcams and messaging software will be unable to engage as much as they would like. Remove pain points for your team.
8) Employee newsletters and messaging
All too often, businesses fall short on internal communications. If you do not have one already, consider creating a monthly or quarterly employee newsletter or a message board. Highlight different staff members and their achievements and share important dates for upcoming meetings and social events. Ensure there is a dedicated space on your intranet for staff members to fully engage with their colleagues and the business as a whole.
Lastly, ensure you are listening to your staff members. This can be one-on-one conversations, team meetings, employee engagement surveys or questionnaires. You must be consistently listening to any concerns and frustrations raised by your team and reflecting on how to solve these problems. You should also listen carefully to what has worked and makes your employees happier and more engaged with their work.