Research shows that US organizations lose more than $450 billion annually due to disengaged employees. If you want to remain competitive, implementing a good employee engagement program is a must—and 49 ways to do precisely that follow:
Show employees that their position is essential to the broader company mission and that their contributions are crucial to its attainment.
Employees want to be sure that there is meaning in what they do, just as all people do. Beyond that, a purpose-driven workplace allows people to work on projects that are meaningful to them. And when the path to purposeful work is unclear, be sure to help them find it.
Share your company mission and how its pursuit helps improve the world.
Where the employee has a purpose, the organization has a mission. This is summed up in the mission statement. However, sharing your mission with the employees should go deeper than pasting the statement on every brochure and email signature. Make it part of your company culture..
Create a healthy culture that enhances the experience of existing employees and attracts the right candidates.
Some organizations are already in a culture quagmire that makes it impossible to implement employee engagement initiatives. Overhauling your company culture can start with a single team. Once you show that the new way of thinking leads to better results, it’s easy to spread it across the company.
Share your company values to show and remind employees what you stand for and why..
Employees are more engaged with employers who share their values. Additionally, cultivating common values builds camaraderie among employees. You can also share values in practice by showcasing employees that embody those values in various scenarios—and this can apply at work and at home.
Develop and share the organization’s goals with employees to act as a roadmap, motivation, and yardstick.
Working towards common goals improves employee morale and boosts their perceptions of the company. Keep employees focused on the goals by consistently communicating the company’s priorities. Go one step further and include employees during goal setting.
Reward employees to foster and reinforce desirable attitudes, behaviors, and outcomes in the company.
Employees are happier when their efforts are acknowledged and appreciated. Create a formal rewards program that reflects your company’s values – brainstorm a bit about what it should incorporate. You can also engage employees by involving them in the identification of candidates for special rewards.
Offer incentives for employee participation in various company initiatives and activities.
Offering incentives can energize employees to complete a task they would otherwise not be willing to perform. Be careful not to overly depend on incentives as the only way to secure engagement, though, as this expectation could backfire.
- Professional development
Provide opportunities for professional growth by developing an employee development program.
Employees are more committed to companies that support their career advancement goals. Offer professional development opportunities through formal training, providing access to learning material and mentoring.
Encourage and provide actionable feedback throughout the organization, whether it’s top-down, bottom-up, or lateral.
Feedback improves employee engagement by drawing attention to particular areas, whether it’s positive or negative. Encouraging employees to give feedback makes them more attentive to their own behavior and the behavior of others, including colleagues and managers.
Optimize your hiring systems to reflect a work environment that prioritizes employee experience.
Employees are highly engaged as they transition into a new work environment. Moreover, their expectations, perspectives, and attitudes toward the organization can be shaped during the hiring process. Improve the onboarding process, improve HR, and train existing employees on how to best acclimate new colleagues.
Find opportunities to recognize employees to make them feel seen and as part of the team.
Employee recognition is one of the employee engagement ideas that promote a sense of belonging in the workplace. Things to recognize employees for can include exceptional performance, personal development, a career milestone, or an innovation.
Create a leadership culture that understands and supports employee engagement.
Employees will gauge their connection to the organization through their relationships with their immediate superiors. Managers have the strongest potential influence over the daily experiences of the employees. Ensure your managers are having meaningful conversations with their team members.
Set up the work environment to support employee interaction, health, and performance.
Remember, as people gravitate towards hybrid work environments, the company will remain responsible for providing an inviting office whether the employee is working at home, on the go, or they are of the deskless variety.
Understand what drives employees so you can apply it to inspire them and enhance performance outcomes.
Motivated employees are more committed to the work, are more satisfied with the job, and are more willing to learn and adopt new ways of doing things. They’re also more efficient in using company resources.
- Work-life balance
Educate employees on the importance of prioritizing their work and personal lives, ensuring you’re not committing the offense of not prioritizing that balance yourself.
Encouraging people to disengage from work at the right time can boost employee engagement. Suppose people feel they need to work after hours or cut their vacation short to keep up, get your approval, or earn a reward. In that case, they might be engaged because of the pressure, but it’s not sustainable, and turnover will follow the inevitable burnout.
- Quality time
Spend quality time with your employees to build connections and trust.
There are many love languages, and people prefer to receive love differently. This is very much like that: You can show employees that you value them through undivided attention or when working together on a project to demonstrate appreciation.
- Fun and laughter
Have fun together and encourage employees to socialize whenever appropriate.
Fun and laughter can reduce work-related stress and even improve health. Besides, having a sense of humor humanizes both the employer and employee, placing them at an equal level. Make sure the humor is appropriate and matches the circumstances.
- Collect data
Use various methods to collect essential employee data to understand them better and find new ideas for engagement.
Advanced employee experience technology gathers vast amounts of employee data and automatically analyzes it for you. You can also incorporate other methods, such as surveys and suggestion boxes, which can be done through the platform.
- Team collaboration
Encourage people to collaborate not just within their departments and teams but across whatever silos for better results and engagement.
Without knowing the needs of each other, siloed teams have a hard time supporting each other. Every team might be committed to the company’s mission and bottom line, but they still miss out on countless opportunities across their divisions. Break these barriers and bring groups together to improve employee engagement.
Develop respect among employees for themselves and their colleagues and leadership, ensuring it goes both ways.
Employees that feel respected are more confident about themselves and what they bring to the table. They think outside the box and freely share those thoughts –and you get more innovative ideas this way. And respect is crucial in organizations that promote familiarity between employees and their managers.
Keep employees on their toes by giving them new opportunities for growth that take them outside of their comfort zone.
Completing a challenge demands full attention and therefore boosts employee engagement. Constantly give teams or individuals new challenges that push away limiting beliefs, allow mistakes, and celebrate the lessons learned from failure. Rewarding new skill attainment is great too.
Ask what you don’t know and encourage honesty, whether it’s given directly or anonymously.
Ask employees directly about what you don’t know, whether it’s about their job position or their personal lives. Regarding personal information, remember to respect boundaries and understand people – some are natural sharers who will tell you much about where they come from. Still, others may be more reserved and prefer to keep their private lives private, especially in the beginning.
Promote a sense of community in the workplace so everyone feels comfortable and safe around others.
When employees have a sense of community, they are more likely to flourish at work, be more engaged, and remain with the company longer. Further, reduced stress at work allows employees to thrive outside as well, and this can reflect positively on your business.
Give employees rewards, responsibilities, and freedom but make it clear that they are also accountable for their actions.
Holding people accountable makes them more careful about their work. They are more likely to be efficient, make fewer errors, and perform better. However, make sure that the leaders are also shown to be held accountable.
Prioritize employee health, investing in both their mental and physical well-being.
Poor health can lead to disengagement in various ways: Lack of physical strength to do the job, cognitive decline, thinking of the problems instead of working, etc. Investing in employee health up front helps the organization avoid these challenges down the line.
- Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
Use your corporate social responsibility program as an opportunity to sensitize toward and encourage employee participation in social good.
Involving employees in CSR initiatives allows them to express interest in philanthropy, community service, environmental sustainability, and other things traditionally set aside for after-hours. Doing them at work enhances their connectedness with the company.
- Internal marketing
Create a strong employer brand through an effective internal marketing strategy to keep employees proud of their employer.
Internal marketing increases employee engagement with the company’s mission and fosters brand advocacy. It’s a deliberate effort, not simply a result of communicating your company objectives and strategies. Communicators don’t typically have the skills to convince employees, so it should be left to Marketing and PR.
Support diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives and activities within the organization.
People want to join and stay with organizations that are fair not just to themselves but to others. DEI initiatives nurture a sense of belonging in the employees. In fact, this feeling can be a strong predictor of the success of your DEI efforts.
Implement your digital transformation strategy to improve productivity and interaction among employees.
Digital transformation is crucial for employee engagement both during the process where you involve them in the need assessment and after when the new systems improve the work environment.
- Free time
Offer employees free time during their workday when they can pursue personal projects.
Some organizations say, “You’re free to work on your personal projects on your own time.” Google tells its employees, “Why don’t you take 20% of the time that I pay you for to work on your personal projects?” Check out the 20% Time program.
Foster a culture of noticing and celebrating when good things happen, whether small or not directly tied to work.
Celebrations allow employees to bond with each other and develop deeper connections with the workplace.
Provide your help whenever employees need it to perform their tasks or handle personal matters.
Employees are more comfortable working in an environment where they can get help from any direction. Employers should foster the culture by leading by example.
Don’t wait to be asked to provide the information, tools, and systems that employees need to perform.
Enabling employees means providing whatever they need for their job before they need it, from the right equipment to information and a conducive work environment.
Whether it’s a message, a task, or equipment, make it relevant to the individual.
The cornerstone to sustainable employee engagement is appealing to people on a personal level.
Trust your employees and be transparent so they trust you too!
Employees should feel that you trust them to live by the organization’s values. And to earn their trust, you must be transparent. Things you may be tempted to keep from your employees include financial challenges, just as employees most frequently lie about having doctor’s appointments.
- Know strengths
Assess your employees’ strengths and weaknesses, which can help you optimize their performance and offer guidance when needed.
Beyond what’s highlighted in the job description, make an effort to understand employee strengths and weaknesses better. You may discover things they don’t even know about themselves.
Make sure your employees are not afraid to fail by owning your own mistakes and showing what you’ve learned from them.
This one snuck up on you, didn’t it? But you have to embrace failure not just personally but publicly as well. Failure is another thing leaders are tempted to lie about, but it could bring employees closer.
- Identify advocates
Identify employees who talk you up to their colleagues or customers to know what you’re doing right and encourage additional employee advocacy. It’s a cycle.
Employee advocacy means the employee is already engaged with the organization. You can use this as a stepping stone to inspire company-wide engagement.
Know when to let people go for the general good of the organization and prune tactfully.
Good employers are keen on attracting, retaining, and engaging talent, but they are also ready to let people go if they are not the right fit.
- External help
Be open to bringing in external help to improve employee engagement.
External help includes motivational speakers, coaches, and other experts that you may not readily have in-house.
- Social activism
Demonstrate that you care about what’s happening outside the organization by standing up for social causes.
The employees themselves care about these causes, or they may have relatives and friends who are directly affected by the issue.
- Eat together
Improve relationships across the organization by encouraging employees and managers to have communal meals.
Sharing a meal is a well-known bonding activity. Join employees at lunch and encourage them to eat together on occasion.
Make accommodations for diverse employee needs, from simple requests such as bringing a pet to the office to more complex supports for people living with a disability.
Welcome employees to express themselves fully at work before you can decide what’s permitted and what’s not.
Encourage ambition and initiative by moving employees up in salary, responsibilities, rank, or all threee combined.
When there are open positions, look within before hiring from outside. It shows employees are valued – and valuable!
Encourage regular communication between employees and leaders, especially those who rarely come across each other.
Create effective communication channels that allow people to remain close, despite the physical distance between most employees.
Develop employee engagement strategies and commit to their full implementation.
For instance, if you decide to involve employees in CSR, don’t just do it once. Don’t just hold an office party the one time you’re stoked. Making it a regular thing will improve employee engagement.
Test different methods and theories, then compare the outcomes to discover new superior approaches to employee engagement.
Testing will help you find unique ways to improve employee engagement most suited to your work environment.
To improve employee engagement, measure the effectiveness of your efforts by asking and through data analytics.
You can’t improve what you don’t know.
Use the insights you gather from measurement and testing to improve your employee engagement program.
Make measurement worthwhile by applying what you learn to make your employees more aligned, motivated, and engaged.
Engage via an employee experience platform
These employee engagement ideas are best implemented on a robust employee experience platform. Take advantage of the latest technologies to reinforce your company culture and engage employees through AI-driven internal communications.
With a smart employee experience platform, you can protect your efforts to increase workplace collaboration, offer professional development, gather employee feedback, and transform your workplace in all kinds of ways.
Simpplr is the leading AI-powered employee experience platform that promises to deliver these outcomes. Connect for a demo today.