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Employee Engagement Strategies: The Ultimate Guide to a Better Workplace

Employee Engagement Strategies: The Ultimate Guide to a Better Workplace
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What makes a workplace a place of work? Is it the location, the office building, the equipment, or the amenities? No, it’s the people that determine both the quality of the workplace and the future of the organization.

In a 2017 study by Gallup, it was found that only 15% of the world’s one billion workers are engaged at work. It’s a downward spiral that originates with our lack of understanding of human capital management, or more specifically, employee engagement.

The more engaged employees, the better it is for the organization. With effective employee engagement ideas, employees are motivated to give their best, resulting in higher profitability, better customer retention, better talent acquisition and retention, lower employee turnover, and a safer work environment.

But remember: An effective employee engagement strategy is not a one-day affair. Only an ongoing process will obtain incredible results.

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What is Employee Engagement?

Employee engagement sounds simple but goes deep. A good employee engagement strategy improves the likelihood that the relationship between the employee and the organization will be positive in nature. Engaged employees:

  • Are self-motivated

  • Have a clear understanding of their roles

  • Recognize the significance of their contribution

  • Focus on future training and development

  • Feel that they belong to a community—that is, the organization


The Benefits of an Engaged Workforce

Effective employee engagement results in more motivation and better job satisfaction, and thus, a lower cost-to-value ratio for your human personnel expenditure. It goes like this: While every employee adds to the bottom line, engaged employees add that much more.

This idea, also known as the service-profit chain, was introduced by Harvard researchers in the 1990s that traces business profitability and customer loyalty right back to engaged, motivated employees.

Top corporate leaders know that engaged employees can help raise productivity, increase profits, enhance customer experience, foster brand loyalty, and facilitate growth.


The Best Employee Engagement Strategies

Below, you’ll find an outline of the steps you can take in order to ensure that the employees achieve a positive emotional connection with the organization and the work they’re assigned to do. In essence, there are three main parts:

  • Physical: The level of complexity of work corresponds to the employees’ skill set.

  • Emotional: Employees understand the job’s significance and put their heart into it.

  • Mental: Employees become engrossed with their work. 


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1. Hire With Engagement in Mind

The decisions you make during the hiring process can lead to different results in the engagement of an individual employee as well as workforce engagement across the organization. 

Every new hire you make has the possibility to impact how employees interact with each other, either strengthening the values of your organization or detracting from the work culture.

A successful hire occurs when a new employee aligns with the organization in many different aspects, including job details as well as the company’s overall culture. 

  • Salary: Your new employee’s salary expectations should match what the company can unfailingly offer.

  • Values: Your new hire should respect how the organization operates to attain its goals.

  • Competency: The new hire should have the skills to meet the responsibilities of the position.

  • Culture: The new hires should possess personal and emotional skills to be on the same page with their new colleagues and management.

This doesn’t just impact current employees; new hires should be adequately prepared for their new positions, too. According to a Jobvite survey, 43% of new hires leave their jobs in the first 90 days as they felt that the role described during the process of hiring wasn’t what they experienced when they began to work.

Your newest employees will evaluate their experience more carefully during the initial few weeks with your business. If you are able to provide what you promised during the hiring process, it will deepen that initial good impression and make way for employee engagement.

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2. Streamline Onboarding

Developing a comprehensive onboarding program can be a powerful way to improve employee engagement and support the success of new hires. A good onboarding program should:

  • Introduce new hires to the company's mission, values, and culture: Help new hires understand the company's purpose and how they fit into the organization.

  • Orient new hires to the organization: Provide an overview of the company's structure, processes, and systems.

  • Connect new hires with resources and support: Ensure that new hires have access to the resources and support they need to be successful, such as training materials, a mentor, or a go-to person for questions.

  • Provide opportunities for socialization: Help new hires get to know their coworkers and build relationships within the organization.

  • Set clear expectations: Communicate expectations around performance, attendance, and other aspects of the job.

  • Assess progress and provide feedback: Regularly check in with new hires to assess their progress and provide feedback to help them succeed.

Your new hires are only learning to navigate the complexity and will need assistance in specific areas. Thus, your first step should be to understand their viewpoint and work towards offering an onboarding experience that will keep them engaged.

According to data from ServiceNow, organizations that offer inadequate onboarding programs have twice the chance of facing employee turnover. The first impression is crucial and will have a significant impact on new employees’ expectations.


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3. Clarify the Company's Mission

By making the mission a central part of the corporate culture, employees are more likely to feel aligned with the company's goals and motivated to contribute to its success. When employees know the overarching goals and values of the organization, they can see how their individual roles contribute to larger objectives. 

To effectively communicate the company mission, management should integrate it into all aspects of the workplace, from onboarding sessions and training programs to regular team meetings and company communications

Leaders should consistently emphasize and relate back to the mission in daily interactions and decision-making processes, helping employees connect their tasks to the company's broader goals. 

Additionally, creating opportunities for employees to engage directly with mission-related projects or community initiatives can reinforce their commitment and understanding of the company's purpose.


4. Set SMART Goals and an Action Plan

Without any goals, an organization doesn’t have a direction to follow. What does it want to achieve? What does it need to improve? What is the role of the strategy? All these questions need to be answered first.

Moreover, the goals that you set need to be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely—that is, S.M.A.R.T. With tangible outcomes in mind, managers will be able to properly execute the strategy and figure out whether it is following the expected results or not

Once the particular goals are in place, prepare an action plan on how to attain them. At this stage, the allocation of resources and definition of key performance indicators (KPIs) are taken care of to facilitate the measurement of progress.

The effectiveness of the action plan is the responsibility of the direct supervisors. Employee engagement rates soar when they distribute the results and propose future endeavors.

One of the ways to ensure this is to let your employees know how significant their contribution is. There are different ways on how to do staff recognition. Tell them how it is helping in achieving the organization’s business objectives. Simply speaking, organizations need to start making their employees feel that they matter.


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5. Be People-Centric

Employees are not robots; they are human. Organizations that tend to see employees as a commodity, but your employees are not another factor of production. They are prospective champions of your organization’s values and principles.

Companies can become more people-centric by prioritizing employee well-being and development at the core of their business strategies. Actively listen to employee needs and feedback, providing comprehensive support systems like mental health resources, career development opportunities, and flexible working conditions.


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6. Create an Office Environment Conducive to Work

Giving employees a space that enhances productivity and satisfaction involves ensuring that all employees have the necessary tools, information, and training to perform their jobs effectively. 

First, the physical workspace should be designed to promote focus and efficiency. This means organizing workstations to minimize noise and distractions, providing ergonomic furniture, and ensuring that the office is well-lit and temperature-controlled. Adequate technology and resources, such as high-speed internet, modern computers, and effective communication tools, should be readily available to all team members.

Second, maintain an open line of communication where employees can easily access the information they need and feel comfortable requesting additional support. This can be facilitated through a well-structured intranet, regular team meetings, and clear documentation of workflows and policies.


7. Offer Remote and Flexible Work

Offering flexible work hours can be a powerful way to improve employee engagement and foster a positive work culture. Here are a few benefits of offering flexible hours:


There are a few different ways you can offer flexible work hours, such as allowing employees to choose their own work schedule within certain parameters, offering flexible start and end times, or allowing employees to work remotely.

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8. Promote a Strong Company Culture

By prioritizing a positive and inclusive company culture, organizations can create a workplace where employees feel valued and inspired to contribute their best work.

A strong company culture is built on clear values that are actively practiced and integrated into every aspect of the organization, from hiring practices to day-to-day operations and decision-making processes.

Management should lead by example, embodying the company's values in their actions and communications. Regularly celebrating achievements that align with these values, such as teamwork, innovation, or customer service, can reinforce their importance. 

Additionally, creating opportunities for employees to connect with one another, such as team-building activities, social events, and collaborative projects, strengthens interpersonal relationships and fosters a supportive community.

Lastly, encouraging open communication and feedback through town hall meetings, suggestion boxes, and regular check-ins can help maintain transparency and ensure that the culture evolves in a way that continues to meet the needs of its employees.

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9. Establish a Sense of Community

An organization is essentially a community; each member fulfills a specific task and serves the community as a whole. To encourage this community spirit among your employees, any engagement activity can help, from organizing a big annual event to simply taking a team out to lunch. 

Notwithstanding the hierarchy of the organization, it’s better to maintain a certain level of equality and unbiasedness where everyone feels they are important to the community.

This philosophy is typical in the new-age technology startups where they adopt a more casual, no-walls organizational policy. Though sustaining this new business approach might be tricky, it can lead to highly engaged staff.


10. Recognize Employee Contributions

Two out of three employees feel they do not get enough recognition for their work, according to Office Team data reported by Forbes. As a result, most employees will not deliver their maximum potential and may engage in unwanted behavior. And highly-trained and qualified talent will always be looking for better job offers.

For this reason, it’s wise to create a recognition-rich environment where good work is rewarded with perks and incentives. At the very least, a few good words and a certificate of appreciation can go a long way in letting others feel valued for their work. 

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11. Invest in Career Development

For many, just coming to the office, doing the work assigned, and taking the paycheck back home isn’t enough. They need to know there are sufficient growth prospects for the role they are fulfilling. If your employees feel that you don’t care about their professional development, they may begin to look for work elsewhere.

Whether it’s by running a proprietary training program or sponsoring higher education for your employees, you are not only investing in the future of your company but also creating a sense of loyalty among your employees.

Remember, every employee loves a company that supports them in their professional career and adds value to their personal lives. Want to retain top-notch talent in your organization? Ensure their professional growth and you will reap the benefits.

Providing opportunities for employee development can be a powerful way to improve employee engagement and drive better outcomes for your business. Here are a few strategies you might consider:

  • Offer training and development programs: Workshops, seminars, or online courses help employees learn new skills or advance their careers.

  • Encourage continuous learning: Learning opportunities outside of formal training programs can include attending conferences, participating in webinars, or taking online courses.

  • Set up mentorship programs: Match employees with experienced mentors who can provide guidance and support as they learn and grow.

  • Provide opportunities for career advancement: Offer opportunities for employees to take on new challenges and responsibilities, such as leading a team or taking on a new role within the organization.

  • Promote self-directed learning: Encourage employees to take ownership of their own development by providing them with resources and support to pursue their own learning goals.


12. Hire Quality People Managers

Your secret weapon to spur employee engagement is the managers—they are the middlemen between boardroom members and the employees. In most cases, the employees interact with the top-level executives rarely, if ever, but have daily interactions with their immediate bosses. Whether they are feeling secure, angry, or ignored depends on how you manage employees.

Gallup’s chairman, Jim Clifton, once said: “Employees—especially the stars—join a company and then quit their manager. It may not be the manager's fault so much as these managers have not been prepared to coach the new workforce.”

While organizations can choose to educate their managers on how to better engage their employees, it’s always better to hire a capable manager first. Check their professional background and try to see if they are suited for the tricky job waiting for them.

Group 82

13. Introduce Team-Building Activities 

Team-building activities can be a great way to improve employee engagement and foster a positive work culture. Here are a few ideas for team-building activities that you might consider:

Trust-building exercises: Some of the examples include "Human Knot" or the "Trust Fall."
Communication challenges: Activities that require team members to communicate effectively can help improve collaboration. 
Problem-solving activities: Examples might include "Escape the Room" or "Mars Mission."
Outdoor activities: Getting team members out of the office can help them bond and have fun together. It can include a team hiking or camping trip, or a group outing to a ropes course or other adventure activity.
Creative activities: This can be in the form of painting or art competitions, singing and dancing events, etc. 

It's important to choose activities that are appropriate for your team and that align with your goals for employee engagement. 


14. Provide Incentives for Work Achievement

Incentives can be a powerful tool for motivating and engaging employees. Here are a few ideas for incentives that you might consider

  • Monetary rewards: bonuses, pay raises, and other financial incentives

  • Time off: offering additional vacation days or flexible work arrangements

  • Recognition: publicly recognize and praise employees for their hard work or send a hand-written note

  • Professional development opportunities: training programs, mentorship opportunities, or professional certification courses.

  • Special perks: reserved parking spot or a choice of office location

Another option: a recognition and employee rewards solution, like Workmates. Our solution is customizable and offers a unique set of advantages, as an ideal recognition solution. Workmates increase employee engagement and boost productivity in the workplace. 

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15. Encourage Collaboration

Encouraging collaboration can be a powerful way to improve employee engagement and drive better outcomes for your business. Here are a few strategies you might consider:

  • Encourage employees from different departments or teams to work together on projects or tasks. This can help break down silos and foster a sense of teamwork.

  • Encourage employees to share ideas and feedback with one another, and create a culture where it's safe to speak up and share perspectives.

  • Host team-building activities or outings that encourage employees to get to know one another and work together in a more relaxed setting.

  • Encourage a culture of collaboration and teamwork by recognizing and rewarding team contributions and successes.

  • Utilize tools like project management software, virtual meeting platforms, and online collaboration spaces to make it easier for employees to work together and share ideas.

Group 259

16. Facilitate Two-Way Communication

Top business leaders generally believe in the open door policy and do not use “top-secret” information to their advantage. If organizations act secretive and only divulge information on a “need-to-know” basis, it will likely cause lower engagement rates among their employees. 

Transparency begets trust when employees understand how corporate decisions affect the workplace.

But simply disseminating information isn’t enough. Communication should go two ways—the employees should be encouraged to share their concerns so they don’t feel ignored or unvalued. Here are a few strategies that can help your organization: 

  • Create a culture where it's safe for employees to share their ideas, concerns, and feedback. This might involve setting aside dedicated time for open discussions or establishing a suggestion box where employees can anonymously share ideas.

  • Encourage employees to communicate openly and honestly with one another and with management. This might involve creating dedicated channels for communication, such as a team chat platform or a suggestion forum.

  • Be open and transparent with employees about company goals, plans, and challenges.

  • Regularly solicit feedback from employees and actively listen to their ideas and concerns. This might involve hosting team meetings or one-on-one conversations with employees.

  • As a leader, model open and honest communication by being approachable and transparent in your own communication style.


17. Utilize HR Software

Implementing HR software can be a powerful way to improve employee engagement and streamline HR processes. Here are a few ways that HR software can support employee engagement:

  • HR software can help automate and streamline HR processes, such as payroll, benefits management, and time and attendance tracking. This can help reduce the administrative burden for HR staff and free up more time for engagement and development efforts.

  • Many HR software platforms offer features such as team chat, task management, and document sharing, which can help facilitate communication and collaboration among employees.

  • HR software can provide employees with access to self-service tools, such as a portal for viewing and updating personal information or requesting time off. This can help empower employees and improve their overall experience with HR.

  • Some HR software platforms offer tools for setting and tracking performance goals, which can help employees stay focused and motivated.

  • Many HR software platforms offer features such as learning management systems, which can help employees access training materials and track their progress.


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18. Conduct Employee Surveys

Circulate questionnaires and surveys that permit your employees to express their opinions and concerns. The more you ask for their opinions, the more they feel esteemed, entitled, respected, and like they belong to the organization.

Conduct the survey in such a way that it will yield the most thoughtful, timely responses. The catch here is to keep the surveys short and conduct frequent employee-pulse surveys. This lets employees think properly and reply at a higher rate.

Additionally, it’s a great idea to build a habit of transparency and share the results. Sharing all the data collected from surveys will demonstrate transparency and help you to engage employees. 

Group 180

19. Engage Departing Employees

Offer appropriate transparency when offboarding an employee. Each will have their own reasons why they depart. The appropriate details provided by the team members when they depart can aid the rest of the employees in processing the change without making cynical guesswork. 

Apart from that, recognize your employees’ reasons why they are leaving voluntarily. When you understand and categorize the reasons employees leave, it will help your organization to improve.

If any engaged employees are leaving voluntarily, stay connected with them. You can consider curating alumni networks to be in contact with past employees. It will give you access to expanded networking and employment opportunities. Plus, it might make some employees come back to your organization with new skills and experiences when new positions open up.

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About the Author

This article is written by our marketing team at HR Cloud. HR Cloud is dedicated to providing powerful solutions for your HR teams and creating an exceptional employee experience. Our aim is to help your company improve employee engagement, onboarding, and to save you valuable time!

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