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5 Ways To Quickly Improve Employee Engagement

Employee engagement is a huge part of business, and workforce management. Managers often don't know where to start, so we've put together 5 steps you can take to start improving employee engagement today.

Improve Employee Engagement Collectively

In the labor market in 2023, the traditional concept of people working one job for twenty years has faded away. Instead, the gig economy has taken center stage, offering flexible, project-based work arrangements that empower individuals. However, employers face a unique challenge. They must adapt to the ever-changing workforce. Their goal is to improve employee engagement to retain their talent.

While some employers think focusing on employee engagement wastes time, we can assure you it’s not. Studies have confirmed a direct link between employee engagement, profits, and productivity. This connection is crucial for businesses.

According to a study from Gallup, companies with engaged employees are 21% more profitable than others. It is also worth noting that disengaged employees are likelier to engage in absenteeism. This will likely cause further issues and impact the overall morale amongst teams.

How to Improve Employee Engagement

There is no quick fix to improve employee engagement overnight, but here are some steps that management can take to make a start today.

Create an employee engagement survey.

The best place to start with employee engagement is to understand your current situation. Given the nature of the issue, it is crucial to build a survey that will generate actionable results. A good employee engagement survey will encourage employees to be open and honest. Presenting the survey in the right way will help you get realistic responses.

Remind employees that the survey will help to improve their lives, the business, and nothing else. Employees often assume a survey aims to coerce them into providing information they typically wouldn’t.

Here are some quick tips:

  • Anonymous Feedback Submission: Create an anonymous submission platform for employees to share their thoughts. Consider using tools like a Google sheet or an online survey. This approach fosters open communication, encouraging staff members to share honest opinions without fear of repercussions.
  • Strategic Questioning: Craft survey questions that yield actionable data. Focus on inquiries that help shape a concrete strategy for improving employee engagement. Collecting and analyzing data that directly informs decision-making is crucial; otherwise, it can be a futile exercise.
  • Embrace Constructive Criticism: Be prepared to receive feedback that may be critical of existing processes. Encouraging honesty and anonymity means you are likely to encounter critiques. Remember, the goal of this survey is to initiate change and enhance engagement.

Embrace the criticisms as opportunities for growth and improvement. Listening to your employees’ perspectives is a fundamental step in enhancing engagement within your organization.

Start with management

Manager receiving survey feedback

Although the goal might be to improve employee engagement, changes like this have to come from the top down. It’s crucial to ensure that management understands the importance of keeping employees engaged. They should also know how they can contribute to this vital goal. A great way to introduce the idea is to include employee engagement in the performance reviews of managers.

Track key employee engagement indicators for each manager’s team. These indicators include turnover rate, absenteeism, and industry-specific performance metrics. When managers take responsibility for these metrics, they become more committed to the cause.

Management should behave as the link between you and your employees. They can work to identify barriers to engagement and establish processes to remove them. Your employees know themselves best. They should also be the driving force behind the changes.

Let your employees lead the changes needed, as they know themselves best. They are the ones who can drive meaningful improvements. They know the problems and what they need to eradicate them.

Set realistic goals and define them for employees.

As you start to improve employee engagement, you will likely see that it is a slow burner. Employees typically have to see genuine commitment to change from management before they commit themselves. So, with this in mind, you are much better off setting smaller, realistic goals initially. By doing this, you are more likely to achieve them and show your employees your dedication to continuous improvement.

Setting these goals is another opportunity to be transparent with your employees. Don’t hide your efforts to boost productivity and profits. Remind employees that their happiness is central to these initiatives.

Honesty will help employees invest in change fully. Maintain goal setting and other engagement activities throughout the year. Integrate these activities into daily operations to ensure their effectiveness.

Scheduling Employees Template

Give employees autonomy

Another great way to improve employee engagement is to give employees autonomy. Research reveals that just 20% of employees are fully engaged at work on average. However, 79% of autonomous employees are engaged, making them more productive. Employers are actively working to increase employee autonomy based on these compelling numbers.

There are lots of ways to provide autonomy. The first and likely most effortless to implement is flexibility. This can be flexibility about work schedules or even work locations.

Allowing employees to influence their work schedule not only boosts engagement but also reduces absenteeism and tardiness. It’s a win-win strategy for both employees and employers. Providing scheduling options, like self-scheduling or shift bidding, offers flexibility and autonomy quickly. This can lead to higher job satisfaction and improved engagement among employees.

Give feedback and show appreciation.

Managers are often pleasantly surprised by the positive impact of regular feedback and showing appreciation to employees. There is a close relationship between recognition and engagement. A recent study found that 84% of highly engaged employees received recognition the last time they went above and beyond. This is in contrast to just 25% of actively disengaged employees.

Other studies highlight that 37% of employees consider recognition the most critical factor for performance improvement.

This strategy not only enhances employee engagement but is also a simple and cost-effective approach. It’s a smart choice for businesses looking to boost morale and productivity. The time spent on checking in, providing feedback, and showing employees your appreciation may seem like a cost. However, increased engagement will lead to improved productivity, performance, and, ultimately, profitability.

Other Creative Ways to Improve Employee Engagement

Implement Reverse Mentorship Programs:

Ways to Improve Employee Engagement

Consider establishing programs where younger employees mentor older ones, sharing their knowledge of new technologies and trends. This can foster a culture of continuous learning and collaboration.

A study by Deloitte found that 76% of millennials believe reverse mentorship is beneficial. By pairing younger employees with senior staff for skill-sharing, your organization can bridge generation gaps and enhance engagement.

Host Virtual Coffee Breaks:

In today’s remote work environment, organize virtual coffee breaks where employees can connect informally. It helps recreate the social aspect of an office and improves relationships.

In a remote work scenario, virtual coffee breaks can have a significant impact. A survey by Slack revealed that 77% of remote employees miss social interactions at the office. Regular virtual coffee breaks can help fill this gap and boost team morale.

Create a “Flexi-Friday” Schedule:

Dedicate one day a month (or week) where employees can choose their work hours or even have a day off. This flexible schedule can boost morale and work-life balance.

Offering a ‘Flexi-Friday’ schedule has shown impressive results in some companies. For instance, Buffer, a social media management platform, implemented a 4-day workweek. They reported a 25% increase in productivity and a 90% improvement in employee happiness.

Introduce Themed Dress Days:

Encourage employees to dress up according to fun themes (e.g., “Crazy Hat Day” or “Favorite Movie Character Day”). It injects a sense of playfulness and camaraderie.

Themed dress days can add a fun twist to the workweek. Facebook, known for its creative workplace culture, occasionally hosts themed dress-up days. It not only adds a sense of playfulness but also fosters team spirit.

Develop a “Lunch and Learn” Series:

Organize regular sessions during lunchtime where employees can learn new skills, listen to guest speakers, or discuss industry trends. This promotes personal and professional growth.

Companies like Google have successfully implemented ‘Lunch and Learn’ sessions. These contribute to employee development and promote a culture of continuous learning. They are a key element in keeping employees engaged at Google.

Create an Employee Suggestion Box:

Allow employees to submit ideas and suggestions anonymously to improve the workplace. Recognize and implement viable suggestions, empowering your team to shape the work environment.

Dell Technologies implemented an ‘IdeaStorm’ platform where employees can submit suggestions. Over the years, they have received millions of ideas, and Dell has implemented many of such ideas. This shows that involving employees in decision-making enhances engagement.

Organize Outdoor Team Building Activities:

Plan occasional outdoor activities like team hikes, picnics, or sports events. They promote teamwork and a break from the office routine.

LinkedIn often organizes outdoor team-building events. According to HBR, employees who strongly agree they have a best friend at work are more engaged. Team-building activities help foster these friendships and improve engagement.

Implement Peer-to-Peer Recognition:

Encourage employees to recognize their peers for their achievements or acts of kindness. It fosters a culture of appreciation within the team.

Cisco’s ‘You Earned It’ platform allows employees to recognize their peers’ achievements. They reported that 89% of employees felt more valued and motivated when they received recognition from colleagues.

Schedule “No-Meeting” Days:

Designate certain days where no meetings are allowed, allowing employees uninterrupted work time. This can help reduce stress and increase productivity.

Basecamp, a project management software company, implemented ‘No-Meeting Wednesdays’ to provide employees with uninterrupted work time. This approach aligns with research by Harvard Business Review, showing that excessive meetings can reduce productivity.

Invest in Employee Development:

Offer learning and development opportunities, such as workshops, courses, or certifications, to help employees grow in their careers and feel valued.

Adobe’s commitment to employee development is evident with their ‘Learning Fund’. Adobe offers employees $1,000 annually to spend on personal development, resulting in a more skilled and engaged workforce.

Rotate Job Responsibilities:

Allow employees to explore different roles within the company for a short period. This not only provides fresh experiences but also helps employees appreciate the challenges their colleagues face.

Celayix’s shift rotation feature allows organizations to schedule employees for a variety of roles and tasks easily. This provides employees with valuable cross-training experiences. It also ensures that they can adapt to different responsibilities as needed.

Job rotation fosters a dynamic workplace and empowers employees to take on new challenges. This enhances their engagement and overall job satisfaction.

Wellness Programs:

Implement wellness initiatives like yoga classes, meditation sessions, or stress management workshops to support employees’ physical and mental health.

Johnson & Johnson’s ‘Live for Life’ program is a well-known example of a successful wellness initiative. Research by the American Psychological Association shows that wellness programs can reduce stress and increase overall engagement.

Regular Check-ins:

In addition to annual performance reviews, conduct regular one-on-one check-ins between managers and employees to discuss goals, concerns, and career development.

Adobe replaced annual performance reviews with ongoing check-ins. This approach aligns with Gallup’s finding that employees who meet with their managers regularly are almost three times as likely to be engaged.

Recognize Achievements Publicly:

Celebrate employee achievements, milestones, or birthdays in a public and personalized way, fostering a sense of belonging and recognition.

Salesforce introduced ‘Salesforce Ohana,‘ a platform for recognizing achievements and milestones. Gallup’s research shows that regular recognition increases engagement, making employees 22% more productive.”

Inclusive Decision-Making:

Involve employees in decision-making processes, especially those that directly affect their roles or work environment. This gives them a sense of ownership and responsibility.

IBM’s ‘Your IBM’ platform encourages employees to contribute to decision-making. The SHRM reported that involving employees in decisions that affect their work leads to a sense of ownership and higher engagement.

Final Say

Now is the time to start trying to improve employee engagement. The longer you wait, the more time and money you are losing.

CEOs, business owners, and managers often expect the same dedication from employees as they have themselves. In reality, employees need to feel a commitment from their employers to commit themselves fully. Building this mutual commitment is essential for a thriving workplace.

This echoes back to the point that change must start from the top down. Show employees that you care and are willing to work to improve their work lives, and you and your business will reap the rewards.

Written by Nippun Arora

Written by Nippun Arora

Nippun is a Marketing Specialist, primarily creating content and email marketing. He has been working with Celayix for over 2 years.

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