Best Employee Engagement Ideas to Keep Your Team Happy
Companies usually put a lot of effort into screening candidates and hiring talents. But after a successful hire, some companies tend to lower their guard and not pay too much attention to employees once they’ve signed a contract. This, in turn, leads to an increased turnover rate and burnout, not to mention low productivity and stress at the workplace.
Employee engagement ideas, on the other hand, can be a game changer and turn people not only into loyal employees but into brand advocates who genuinely care about their company. But how do you engage them right? This article is about to explain engagement in detail. So whether you want to establish brand-new team engagement ideas or review an existing one, hop on and let’s get started.
What is employee engagement, after all?
In order to work on something, you first need to understand what exactly is something that you are about to work on. So, what’s employee engagement?
The question seems really easy, right? I mean, we all know what it is… Kind of.
In fact, it might be hard to put it in words straight away if we consider the definition of employee engagement. Thus, we suggest turning to a quote by Annette Franz, the founder, and CEO of CX Journey Inc. She said that employee engagement is “the emotional connection or commitment that an employee has to the organization that then causes the employee to want to put forth the additional effort to ensure the organization and the brand succeed.” If we refer to Gallup, employee engagement is defined as “the involvement and enthusiasm of employees in their work and workplace”.
In simple words, employee engagement is the emotional investment of employees into an organization and their willingness to put extra effort into its benefit. But what makes people so invested and motivated? Spoiler: it’s not about salary.
The core drivers of employee engagement
People want to know that their work is meaningful and that they bring value. Hence, the main drivers of employee engagement are:
- A sense of purpose: an employee should know that they do something for a reason and that their work has a clear purpose;
- Self-development: it is important for people to constantly grow as professionals;
- Care and feedback from management: a manager should show genuine interest and concern in employees in both professional and personal ways;
- Transparent and constant communication: when an employee knows they can always talk to someone, it immensely boosts a sense of confidence, loyalty, and motivation;
- Recognition of achievements: it is essential to recognize the achievements of employees and celebrate and reward them.
As you can see, employee engagement ideas are heavily based not only on one’s work but on how this work is perceived by the management, the value that it brings to the company, and opportunities for growth. Hence, managers need to use these drivers to nurture engagement and identify risk areas at an early stage.
Types of employee engagement
When talking about the best employee engagement ideas, it’s not enough to just apply several practices and hope for the best. The trick lies in the fact that there are different employee engagement types and one has to consider them all in order to build a solid employee engagement strategy.
These types are:
- Engaged: also known as actively engaged, these employees are usually very involved in the company’s processes and are loyal and enthusiastic. They may also serve as brand ambassadors and usually promote the company.
- Not engaged: this type of engagement implies that employees don’t really care much about the company and they are not attached to it. They perform their work but do not invest any passion or enthusiasm into it. They also tend not to put in extra effort since they don’t see reasons for doing so.
- Disengaged: or actively disengaged employees are the ones with a negative attitude toward a company. They are not happy with the company and their work and may even undermine the achievements of their more engaged colleagues.
As you can see, there is a drastic difference between the three engagement types. So before taking any action, it is important first to analyze what engagement types are present at your workplace so you can base your ideas for team engagement upon that.
The importance of employee engagement
By now it’s clear that employee engagement boosts employee satisfaction and productivity. However, it may sound a bit vague so let’s look at the tangible benefits of ideas for employee engagement in more detail.
Decreased burnout and lower turnover
If people know why they work (i.e. have a sense of purpose) and are satisfied with their current workplace, the chances that they will look for a new job will be relatively low. As well, a satisfied employee who understands the meaning behind their work will be less likely to burn out. This is because an employee will always know they can address their manager and together, find a solution. Easy to guess, it impacts engagement a lot.
Better productivity and performance
Since engaged employees are genuinely interested in their work and care for the company, they will be more motivated to invest in the company’s growth and development. Such employees are capable of self-motivation and are usually looking for non-standard and new ways of improving the company’s processes. In addition, engagement equals putting extra effort into one's work. Needless to say, all that leads to much better performance and productivity and improves the company’s processes.
Transparent communication is the key to employee engagement and this, in turn, leads to improved collaboration between departments and teams. If communication is transparent and efficient, employees are more motivated to engage with different departments and collaborate with them. An extra advantage of that is the enhancement of the company culture and improvement of the internal work environment.
Improved customer service
If an employee is motivated to deliver the best results, this will have a tremendous impact on customer service and experience as well. Not only does an engaged employee care about the company, but also about the customers. Hence, employee engagement is also a key to great customer experience as employees will be more likely to come up with new ways to deliver products and services in a better manner.
Faster company growth
The growth of a company heavily depends on the people that work there since their productivity and results impact how fast a company can expand. If there are no internal bottlenecks, the management can focus on external factors and growth opportunities instead of resolving the never-ending internal issues. This, without a doubt, positively impacts engagement as well.
How to measure employee engagement: Gallup’s Q12
Before answering this question, it’s important to know why Gallup should be trusted on the topic of engagement, after all. Gallup, Inc. is an American analytics and advisory company founded in 1935. The company pays utter attention to management consulting and employee engagement is among its main areas of focus.
So, what does Gallup suggest to do in order to truly learn about the engagement level in your company?
The company offers to conduct a survey that consists of 12 statements aka the 12 needs of an employee. By meeting these needs and learning answers to these statements, managers can assess the existing workplace environment and learn about the existing engagement level. And obviously, managers can use the results to plan their employee engagement action plan ideas correspondingly.
The Q12 statements are:
- I know what is expected of me at work.
- I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right.
- At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day.
- In the last seven days, I have received recognition or praise for doing good work.
- My supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person.
- There is someone at work who encourages my development.
- At work, my opinions seem to count.
- The mission or purpose of my company makes me feel my job is important.
- My associates or fellow employees are committed to doing quality work.
- I have a best friend at work.
- In the last six months, someone at work has talked to me about my progress.
- This last year, I have had opportunities at work to learn and grow.
As you can see, the statements focus on both personal and professional matters and allow to learn how an employee feels and what can be improved. Gallup also recommends implementing employee engagement at every stage of employee experience, from hiring to departure. In this way, you will be able to establish a long-term and trustful relationship and create a positive attitude towards your company.
You may also find the following articles interesting:
- Fixed-Price vs Time and Materials vs Dedicated Team: What to Choose for Your Project?
- Best Practices For Outsourced Team Communication
- Why Team Building Events Are Important?
Best practices for involving your team and boosting employee engagement
We’ve talked a lot about what employee engagement is, why it matters so much, and how to measure it. Now it’s time to get into action and list down the best ideas to increase employee engagement.
Provide regular feedback
As we’ve mentioned above, it is important for people to feel recognized and appreciated. In addition, it is also important for them to know in what direction to go and what to improve in their work. After all, a simple “you did great today” can instantly boost one’s mood after a long workday.
Thus, one of the cornerstones of a set of ideas to improve employee engagement is regular feedback that a manager should provide without reminders from the employee’s side. It is preferable that the feedback is positive: let your team members know that you see and acknowledge their hard work! But in case there is room for improvement, do not hesitate to inform about it as well. Just keep in mind to do so in a gentle manner in order to show that you care for one’s growth and want to see the employee improve as a professional.
Recognize and award achievements
This point relates to the one above but is slightly different. Recognition of achievements is at top of the list of employee engagement initiatives ideas. It implies that you talk to employees about their achievements and provide some kind of a positive incentive, be it simply feedback or a monthly bonus. It will also be great if you can let the whole company know about the most important achievements or introduce a practice to thank colleagues for their work.
In SoftTeco, for instance, we have a ThankYouBot that anyone can use to thank their colleagues. The bot is used in our General chat and across the departments and there is also a website where all “thank you” are displayed alongside the receivers’ names. In our opinion, it is quite a sweet way to help employees acknowledge each other while making “local” achievements be seen on a company level.
Provide needed tools and resources
We’ve already stated that in order to improve engagement, it is essential to provide employees with the needed resources for that. It’s the manager’s responsibility to communicate with an employee, learn what tools or resources they need and provide them (or at least, assist with it).
As well, a company should have an established policy on employee education and how a company can help employees with their careers. This may include discounts for visiting educational events, an in-house library, discounts on training, free in-house training (i..e language courses, educational meetups), and more. And obviously, don’t forget to provide your employees with needed hardware and software. The more equipped an employee is with all the needed tools, the more engaged they will be.
Establish a company culture and communicate it
One more thing that’s included in the employees engagement ideas is robust company culture. Company culture can be defined as a set of goals, values, and attitudes that characterize a company and that its employees support and share. You may have seen it in the “About Us” sections on various websites - but did all of these descriptions truly speak to you? Probably not. So what makes a great company culture and how does it impact employee engagement?
In order to establish a robust company culture (and boost engagement), you need to outline what your main values are, how things should be done in the workplace, what your work ethic is, and many more. The next step is to communicate your company culture to employees and encourage them to follow its principles. This can also be done by giving own example (especially from C-level executives) of engagement. Just remember not to overdo it so the company culture does not feel forced. Employees should genuinely endorse your values and vision - but these values, in turn, must be transparent and available to everyone. Only on that condition you will be able to increase the engagement level.
Encourage independence and give a sense of ownership
One of the worst nightmares of any employee is micromanaging when their manager just can’t let a single thing slide without monitoring it. Not only does the lack of control annoys but also discourages employees from making decisions and proposing solutions.
Hence, in order to improve overall efficiency and increase employee engagement, try encouraging independence and the ability to make decisions and give employees a sense of ownership. By being able to independently make decisions that impact the company’s success, employees will feel more involved in the company's growth and will feel like their actions bring value. And this is a very strong motivator to do one’s work more efficiently.
Improve your workplace communication
In the list of increasing employee engagement ideas, transparent communication plays a big role. We’ve talked a lot about providing feedback, communicating with employees, and adding transparency to work processes. But the main thing to pay attention to here is the quality of communication in your company.
Sometimes, an employee has to walk through a tedious process of sending multiple emails to multiple senders before reaching the one to whom he was initially supposed to talk. Or it might be hard to approach a CEO or a CTO not only because they are busy but simply because the company does not encourage that. All that is a sure sign of poor communication within a company and obviously, it negatively affects employee engagement.
It is important for employees to know that they can always approach anyone in the company and ask for their advice or opinion. For that, you need to establish a culture of transparent communication and trust. As for providing feedback, do your managers do it in an efficient and clear manner? It might seem that the process is too red-tape and needs a bit more personal approach. Thus, we recommend reviewing your current communication processes and seeing whether anything can be improved.
Do not overdo activities
Sometimes, in an attempt to engage employees and make them more loyal, companies bombard them with surveys, questionnaires, and activities. However, if the overall employee engagement level across the company is low, it will be similar to applying a patch on a tectonic fault. Besides, the excessive number of such activities might seem as annoying and may have a negative impact on one’s attitude towards a company (instead of a positive one).
Employee engagement is a highly important aspect that any company should take into consideration and work on. However, one of the most common mistakes that many companies make is considering that employee engagement is the sole responsibility of the HR department.
It’s not true, though. In order for a company to truly be employee-focused and engaging, it is important that everyone is involved in the process, including managers and C-level executives. In this way, it will be easier to implement employee engagement ideas and retain a robust long-term relationship between the company and the team.
Q: What is employee engagement and why is it important?
A: Employee engagement can be defined as the emotional connection and commitment of employees to their organization and their willingness to invest extra effort in their work. Employee engagement occurs when employees feel enthusiastic about their work and know their work is valued and recognized. It is essential as employee engagement directly impacts one’s productivity and motivation, which, in turn, affects the overall state of the company.
Q: What are employee engagement surveys?
A: Employee engagement surveys are questionnaires aimed at identifying the level of engagement among the employees, existing problem areas, and bottlenecks that prevent employees from being more engaged. Such surveys help collect honest and detailed feedback from employees so that managers and HR specialists can adjust their engagement strategy correspondingly.
Q: What drives employee engagement?
A: There are several drivers of employee engagement and they include a sense of purpose, self-development, care and feedback from management, transparent and constant communication, recognition of achievements. As you can see, all of them focus on one’s work being recognized and valued as well as on one’s personal and professional well-being.
Q: How to improve employee engagement survey?
A: In order to improve employee engagement surveys, you need to first identify what’s wrong with the one that you already have. For that, analyze what data you are missing and why the surveys do not collect it. Maybe you are choosing the wrong format for the survey or maybe you are overdoing them. Once you understand what’s wrong with the current one, you can think of ways how to improve it so you collect all the needed information in an efficient way.
Q: How to build employee engagement?
A: The process of building employee engagement involves many steps. First of all, we recommend defining and establishing a company culture aka a set of values that your organization is driven by. You can then work on the following: communication transparency, regular feedback for employees, provision of needed tools and resources for one’s professional growth, recognition of employees’ achievements, delegation of ownership and elimination of micromanagement, team building activities.
Irina is a professional copywriter with over 7 years of experience in this domain. She loves creating compelling and informative copy that provides readers with all the needed information. Irina is also a frequent contributor to different blogs and websites across different domains.View all articles by this author.
Your writing is engaging and informative, and I can see that you've put a lot of effort into researching and presenting your ideas
I enjoyed reading your article on Best Employee Engagement Ideas to Keep Your Team Happy and look forward to reading more from you