3 Ways to Increase Employee Engagement Today

Employee engagement appears to be on the decline the past few years. According to a 2013 Gallup Poll, 63% of employees are “not engaged” by their current work. Ouch. This statistic makes me cringe with the thought of lost productivity and innovation to the US economy, estimated to be at $450 billion a year. While HR tries to understand the issues behind the decline and find ways to bridge the gap, employees are offering their own perspective.

Here’s the lineup of pain points:

• Lack of autonomy on the job

• Inconsistent communication

• No variety in the work performed

• Lack of recognition and rewards

• Inability to make meaningful connections with others

While these obstacles seem challenging, here a few ideas to give your employee engagement a jump-start in the right direction.

Tweet: Here are a few ideas to give your employee engagement a jump-start. @HRCloud

1. Use Collaboration Tools The use of technology helps to streamline the business processes that strain efficiency across the organization. From onboarding to tracking employee data to time-keeping and goal-capturing, technology applications are perfect for helping employees to engage on their own terms while eliminating the need for extra meetings or completing additional documents. For example, with onboarding technology companies can communicate their mission and values to new employees. Such technologies also increase employee’s sense of autonomy by assigning checklists of tasks for employees to complete even before their first day on the job.

2. Add Variety Employees are hired to perform specific job duties but providing opportunities to “branch out” beyond the job description helps create personal growth and the feeling of involvement in the bigger picture. The best way to differentiate your organization from others is to provide a variety of training and career experiences for employees. Imagine it this way: your customer service department takes phone calls every day, all day. Interacting with customers and providing the best service possible is the goal. But, doing this type of work, day in and day out… well, it can get tedious and lessen the creativity used to solve those customer issues. Keep your employees engaged in the work by providing cross-functional training opportunities. For example, if you’ve got one team responsible for tackling incoming orders and another team handling complaints, switch it up. Move employees around and give them a chance to learn something new by taking on new projects and the ability to collaborate with others.

3. Make Connections Who says that to be engaged, we have to be all business? Your existing work environment may offer typical networking opportunities, but what about connections that create more of a personal interest in what others do outside of work? Do we know what our team members do for fun? Do we know what sort of hobbies they have or charitable foundations they have a passion for? Using technology to connect employees can go a long a way in creating a unified team environment. It helps us to feel connected to those we work with. One company did just that, using social collaboration tools already in place, Infosys, India's second-largest information technology (IT) services company, used the FIFA 2014 World Cup to engage employees.The organization knew that employees were huge football fans, so they used that knowledge to connect on a different level. Infosys “hosted games, interaction opportunities and information about the World Cup on a centralized platform for its employees.” What a fun opportunity to use current events like the World Cup or a football fantasy league to draw on a common interest factor. This activity brought employees together and focused on the personal attributes and organizational culture. It produced a team-oriented environment, encouraged regular interaction, and conversation and created excitement by unifying the organization around one event. As an HR professional, you usually have a sense of what employees are interested in, from community events or volunteer opportunities. Begin thinking now about potential activities on the horizon that might be incorporated into your engagement strategy. Providing employees with the ability to make connections across an organization is key to creating loyalty, engagement, and innovation. As you review options for increasing employee engagement, keep in mind that technology can be integrated fairly easily. So take a look at what you’re doing now and what you need to take your engagement strategy to the next level. 

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