Boost employee engagement: 4 strategies for success
Leaders, are your employees 'happily' working at your organisation? Here are 4 adaptable approaches for boosting employee engagement, regardless of your organisation's culture or budget.
What makes an office a ‘great workplace’? Is it the office space, the equipment, or the luxurious amenities? It's the happy human workforce, often referred to as the human capital, that significantly shapes both the workplace's quality and the organisation's future.
This question bears significance because the level of employee engagement directly correlates with productivity, customer service quality, loyalty, propensity for absenteeism, and overall profitability. The higher the engagement, the more favourable the outcomes for the organisation. For instance, a report by the Hay Group, a prominent management consulting firm has shown that companies with high employee engagement scores achieve revenue growth rates 2.5 times higher than those with lower scores.
In today's knowledge-driven economy, corporate leaders have come to realise that they must move beyond mere recruitment and focus on the complete employee lifecycle. They recognise the vital importance of identifying effective employee engagement strategies to maximise their investment in human capital and transform their workforce into high-return assets for the business.
The good news is that businesses can enhance engagement without necessitating extravagant investments. Rather, leaders should act with purpose and thoughtfulness. With this in mind, here are 4 adaptable approaches for boosting employee engagement, regardless of the organisation's culture or budget.
Prioritise open feedback channels
Employees consistently emphasise a manager’s ability to provide feedback as one of the most valuable skills. It helps them to understand the pain points and work on them.
As a leader, you can initiate a structured approach by scheduling regular check-in meetings for each employee with their respective manager. Additionally, encourage middle management to establish routine review sessions with their teams.
While implementing a company-wide schedule for feedback may be helpful, it's important to tailor the approach to suit each team's dynamics. Managers should engage in conversations with their direct reports to understand their preferred methods for receiving feedback, ensuring that the feedback process is meaningful and well-received.
Another strategy for increasing employee engagement is to reverse the flow of feedback. Instead of always providing input to employees, invite them to share their feedback. Encourage your team to provide specific examples that illustrate their points, enabling you to gain a comprehensive understanding of the necessary changes.
Maintain an open and non-defensive stance, focusing on learning from the feedback to make positive improvements in the workplace.
Foster two-way communication
Effective leaders pay close attention to what their employees have to say and take meaningful action based on the feedback received.
Employees often find it challenging to voice their opinions in the workplace, and when they do muster the courage, they may encounter resistance or indifference. This can lead to a frustrating cycle of disillusionment, and it's a more prevalent issue than one might expect—nearly one-third of workers report feeling invisible at work.
The barriers to open communication can vary. Sometimes, it's a matter of manager egos or complex thinking patterns. However, research also reveals that organisations may inadvertently create systemic challenges for their leaders.
These challenges arise when leaders lack the authority to act on employee suggestions or the flexibility to make changes that, while vital in the long term, may impact short-term productivity. Resolving structural issues within organisations is no easy feat, but it is far from impossible.
The 2016 Trends in Global Employee Engagement report from Aon highlights the shift from annual employee surveys to more frequent pulse surveys and performance conversations. This comprehensive approach not only enables organisations to identify and address issues promptly but also communicates to employees that their input is genuinely valued.
How can this transformation benefit your business? While only three in ten employees currently receive regular progress reports and feedback, research suggests that by improving this ratio to six in ten, your company could experience a 26% reduction in absenteeism and an 11% increase in profits.
Prioritise employees’ mental and physical health
Elevating employee engagement goes hand in hand with promoting their overall well-being. Consider these tips to protect physical and mental health within your organisation:
- Launching a comprehensive wellness program can significantly enhance employee engagement. This can involve sponsoring workout classes as part of company outings to motivate employees to adopt healthier lifestyles beyond the workplace.
- Offer meditation classes and encourage employees to take mental health leave days when they need time for self-care. Ensure the workplace kitchen is stocked with nutritious snacks to fuel employees during busy workdays.
- Encourage employees to take regular breaks from their desks to recharge.
- Emphasise flexibility by allowing occasional remote workdays. Consider implementing policies such as no after-hours emails or adopting a four-day workweek.
These measures can significantly contribute to increasing employee engagement by promoting a healthier work-life balance.
Acknowledge and celebrate outstanding performance
A large section of employees express the feeling of being under-recognised, and this can lead to reduced efficiency and increased turnover. To address this, implement a recognition program that includes perks, incentives, or, at the very least, words of appreciation and certificates of recognition. Consider these tips to create a culture of appreciation within your organisation:
- Celebrate and recognise each employee's achievements openly and enthusiastically. Employees who feel valued and appreciated tend to be more motivated, productive, and dedicated to their roles.
- Recognition can take various forms, including bonuses, awards, and public praise. You can do so by giving them e-cards, a social media post on your company’s page, a public announcement or a pizza treat!
Remember, innovative rewards = happy employees.
While achieving high turnovers isn’t an easy feat, achieving the tag of a ‘healthy workplace’ is a far greater and more difficult task. Thereby, aim at keeping your employees happy and motivated, success would come along.