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The Guide to Maintaining Optimal Employee Engagement

Sep 15, 2022
The Guide to Maintaining Optimal Employee Engagement
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Over the years, employee engagement trends have come and gone. The generational shifts that occur every ten years or so ensure that each new wave of workers in the global labor force develops different needs and expectations from those before them. 

Employee engagement is often confused with job satisfaction. Most definitely, it's not the same. It's about employees finding contentment in the work they do. Employee engagement pertains more to the emotional state and level of happiness that an employee experiences in the workplace. Doug Conant rightly pointed out, "To win in the marketplace you must first win in the workplace.”  Organizations must pay attention to employee engagement to have successful business outcomes. 

A highly engaged workforce can uplift company profits by 21%, indicative of a productive, enthusiastic team of individuals whose needs are being respectfully heard, seen, and met. 

In 2023, employee engagement is more critical than ever. The awareness around it has increased to such a point that employees are more likely to leave a job if it does not meet their personal mental and emotional needs.

Successful managers and employers must regularly adapt their employee engagement strategies to keep up with the constantly evolving needs of working adults. 

With Millennials (age range 24—40) currently making up the vast majority of the global workforce, the qualities and traits defined by their generation are what managers need to focus on accommodating. In doing so, they’ll see a high level of engagement and productivity. 

Employee managers may even want to start preparing strategies that accommodate Gen Z (the generation which comes after Millennials). This generation will soon lay claim to a large portion of the global workforce too. While strategies are abundant, it's essential to ensure you achieve them. One of the most helpful processes that have been the backbone of success for tech giants like Google, Intel, Twitter, etc., is the OKR process.  Identifying a good OKR software to implement your strategy aligned with employee engagement and development will help you achieve your employee engagement strategy. 

The following guide highlights employee engagement strategies moving from 2023 into 2024 and beyond. Mindful of shifting global economies, hybrid work culture, and employee priorities, these strategies are designed to meet the employee's personal and professional needs. 

Upskill Your Employees 

Upskilling is one of the most effective ways to ignite employee engagement. Today's employees seek opportunities for growth and skill development more than anything. And for good reason—we are facing some of our decade's most significant and disruptive years. 

To Millennials and Gen Z workers, the space to grow, evolve and learn is a top priority. In addition to upskilling being a preference of modern employees, it is also something that can significantly boost employee loyalty, increasing your business’s bottom line. 

Upskilling can be a solution to work scarcity for employees and employers alike. Providing your employees the option to continuously grow within the company and expand their skill set simultaneously is a win-win for everyone involved. 

If an employee is provided with the tools and resources to hone new skill sets and continuously improve their value as a team member, the experience is wholly positive. They’ll feel like their needs as an individual are being recognized. They are also assured that the company cares about their future.  

Recognize and Reward High Performers 

If you want your employees to consistently perform well, you need to incentivize them. Some people can incentivize themselves via sheer willpower or discipline. But those personality types are few and far between. Most people need a little push—or the prospect of reward to get them going. 

Setting up a rewards and recognition program is an employee engagement strategy that has been utilized for decades. Yet, it will probably never stop being effective. There’s no shame in admitting that a little reward incentive can stretch a long way. 

After all, it makes sense—why should employees push themselves to their performance limit if nobody will notice or express gratitude for it? People need positive affirmation and appreciation for their efforts. Two attributes that are evident in the culture of Gen Z in particular. 

You can facilitate this by setting up a Peer-by-Peer Recognition program or an Employee Service Awards program. Or by putting your managerial hires through an Employee Recognition training program. 

HR plays a vital role in establishing the culture of the organization by designing a performance management system that values outcome, teamwork, and collaboration. OKRs are a great tool to implement a sound process in any organization. Some helpful OKR example templates can be used as a reference to design the HR departmental OKRs.

Promote Inclusion and Diversity 

In the past, workplace diversity, inclusion and equality were far from being a priority. But for Millennials and Gen Z employees, these things are often integral to their sense of contentment and happiness within the workplace. 

Your employees want to know that the company they work for is conscientious about including people of all races, genders, religions and sexualities. And that minority groups are not only present but well-protected regarding workplace discrimination. 

Gender inequality is also a significant cause for concern within places of work. Both women and men are becoming more aware of the prejudices and double standards women are often subject to within the workplace. 

To ensure an optimal level of employee engagement with your team of workers, you will need to show a genuine desire to create a diverse and equal working environment. 

Facilitate Mental and Emotional Health Resources 

As many as 60% of companies offer some form of wellness program for their employees. But only 14% have identified and amplified the culture of health in all its various forms. 

Poor mental health is becoming a societal norm, costing the US up to 70 million working days yearly. Anxiety, depression, and burnout are amongst the most common, which means that a large percentage of your employees are bound to experience these issues in varying degrees. 

Employees are now seeking more than just a run-of-the-mill physical wellness program. They want to see that your company understands balancing a busy schedule's mental and emotional pressures. And that you intend to support them in that area too. 

You can facilitate and support your employee's mental and emotional needs by ensuring they have access to an approachable and trustworthy Human Resources manager. Additionally, you can offer mental health days and accommodate employees who struggle with mental illnesses. 

Final Thoughts 

It’s easy to see why a business focusing on employee engagement is on the road to success. Employee engagement surveys help conclude if employee engagement strategies are effective. The workforce is a precious asset; if employees feel valued, they’ll add value. David Zinger points out, “Engagement is all about the work and the benefits for both the individual and the organization.”An engaged employee equals success.  

About the Author:

Sasi Dharan, Marketing Manager,, 

In his current role, he leads the Digital Marketing Team. He has a decade of experience in Project management, Operation Excellence Consulting, and Digital Marketing. 

He is passionate about creating new approaches to brand awareness, and demand generation. He is passionate about learning new technologies, and strategies in marketing and deploying them in his organization. He is also an avid traveler and a biker who has traveled almost 7000miles in a year.

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