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9 Tips to Improve Employee Engagement

We do our best work when we're energized and find fulfillment in it. Here are 9 tips to improve employee engagement so they can perform at their best.


October 19, 2018

A company’s success can be measured by more than the revenue it draws in each year. Business productivity is directly related to how engaged employees are. Engagement refers to how interested your staff is to see your company succeed. These are the committed workers who give 110 percent every day. They believe in your mission and are a positive influence on their co-workers. Engaged employees are team players who can motivate others to get on the company promotion train.

A workplace report done by Gallup found that only 15 percent of employees are engaged. This means that 85 percent of your workers are not investing their full time, talent or energy to adding value to your organization, Forbes magazine stated. Similar research has also found that the cost of employee disengagement is over $550 billion per year, the publication noted. That is how much money is lost each year because workers are not as productive as they could be if they were more engaged. Some of the issues that a company with poor employee engagement will see is a high turnover rate, absenteeism, safety incidents, and quality defects, according to Gallup research. In today’s corporate world, many companies are having to do more with less. There are fewer dollars to invest in salaries or benefits, which means that staffing is not always at the level it should be. However, this is an issue that can be offset by ensuring the skeleton staff you can afford are fully engaged in their jobs and your company.

Types of employee engagement

There are three types of employee engagement levels, according to Forbes. The first is the engaged employee (15 percent), those who give their heart and soul to see the company excel. Then there are the workers who are not engaged (67 percent). These employees are not actively trying to sabotage your company but they are not giving it their all either. They are usually happy in their positions but don’t go over and above their minimal duties. The employees who are a problem are those who are actively disengaged (18 percent). Staff members like this are easy to spot; they are negative and often have a high skill level, which is why they are kept around. Unfortunately, they may be talented but they are so vocal in their dissatisfaction that they can bring down the morale of other employees. They can also take up a lot of time for a manager who is trying to foster a positive workplace.

Tips for enhancing engagement

When it comes to creating and cultivating engagement in your employees, each leader needs to be aware of their role in the process. Those at the top of the corporation are responsible for setting the vision. They also need to be very selective in their hiring process. Picking the right managers is a key element in developing an engaged workforce. Managers are directly in contact with employees and are important in forming the right culture in the office. Here are some simple ways that you can start to nurture and enhance employee engagement.

  1. Engaged employees feel valued in the workplace. They know that their voice is important and that managers and other leaders will listen. Managers who show their gratitude and call out accomplishments will make their employees feel valued.
  2. Staff members are still complex human beings and desire to work in a place where their individualism is respected. Nobody wants to just be a body at a desk. “Knowing that they are respected as individuals at work can have a significant impact on how employees view their overall lives,” a Gallup report stated. So, companies that want to improve employee engagement need to find ways to communicate the value of each employee. Some of the ways to do this are through small rewards like donut days, free lunch Fridays or recognition like rotating the best parking spot among employees.
  3. Staff that have a clear idea of their job duties and and understanding of how crucial their position is to the organization’s mission also tend to be more engaged.
  4. During the hiring process, those involved must be clear not only about the company’s mission but also how the role they are looking to full fits into the bigger picture of achieving organizational goals.
  5. Ensure that new employees or those who will be taking on new duties are given the proper training. This helps them understand what is expected of them and how best to go about doing the work. Again, reinforce to the employee how their position or new duties contribute to the mission of the company.
  6. Training or coaching doesn’t just have to happen when an employee is first hired. A good mentorship program at your company can go a long way to engaging both new and senior staff. Mentorship programs help the seasoned employee feel like they are giving back in a productive way. It also helps newer team members feel like they are getting the guidance they need to be successful. Starting up and managing a mentor program in your workplace can be made even easier with mentoring software, which assists at every stage; from registration to matching to data gathering.
  7. Give your employees the right tools to help them get their jobs done. This can include the right software or devices, but it can also mean simplifying the process for them. For example, if an employee needs to remember several passwords to access the digital tools they need they are likely to get frustrated. Also, any red tape that slows them down will not only hinder productivity, but the bureaucratic nature of your business will cause engagement to drop.
  8. Celebrating your employees or encouraging them with team building activities can further employee engagement. The workers who have an emotional investment in their jobs will also be more engaged with the company. Whether you organize a holiday party, create an employee sports team or plan a community volunteer project, it can enhance the commitment that your employees feel towards your organization.
  9. Act on any feedback that you request. If your company does an employee survey and invites respondents to indicate ways to make the workplace more effective or positive, act on it. When staff is asked to give their viewpoint on office productivity they usually expect management to make some changes based on the feedback. It is also important to remember that most of your employees are on the front line and their advice may actually improve business efficiency.

A final word on employee engagement

Most companies recognize that employee engagement is key to future success. A staff that works well as a team, is dedicated to seeing the company grow and commits to the mission of the organization is crucial to productivity, and, in turn, to enhanced revenues. Although statistics show that over 80 percent of employees are not engaged in their jobs, there are ways to cultivate commitment from your staff. Listening to them, making them feel valued, investing in a mentorship program and ensuring they have what they need to get the job done are some of the top ways that you can encourage your employees to be more engaged.

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