Employee engagement is defined as the degree to which employees are motivated by, passionate about and invested in the work they do. Engagement also indicates the individual’s commitment to the company and their emotional connection to the people they work with.
Workforce engagement is often misunderstood to be synonymous with job satisfaction. Though the two concepts are related, employee engagement is vastly more complicated as it is influenced by a variety of factors including location, culture and individual characteristics.
Only 15% of employees worldwide are engaged at work. Managers everywhere can help solve this problem — and reap the benefits of higher employee engagement.
If you’ve noticed a change in your team’s engagement or are just getting acquainted with what employee engagement is, there are several steps you can take to quickly make a positive impact in your office.
In this section, we’ll outline 5 manageable strategies you can implement to increase employee engagement immediately.
1. MODEL YOUR CORE VALUES AND EMPHASIZE YOUR MISSION
Employees are more engaged when there’s a goal they can get behind and a purpose to inspire them. Your core values and mission statement are the foundation of your company culture, which plays a large role in how engaged your employees are. Start by creating a concise list of company core values, then train each employee in these values. Doing so will guarantee employees understand the importance of the company’s values, how they positively impact the business and what’s expected of each individual. Lead by example and hold every member of your team accountable. Failing to do so will foster a bad company culture of distrust that will disengage employees.
2. PRIORITIZE FEEDBACK
Optimal amounts of feedback correlate with positive manager reviews. Even managers who give their direct reports too much feedback are rated higher by their team than those who don’t provide enough. The gist? Employees crave feedback, and it influences their level of engagement. Start by scheduling check-ins for each employee with their manager, then encourage middle management to establish regular review sessions with their team as an ongoing initiative to improve employee engagement.
While it may be tempting to implement a company-wide schedule for feedback, keep in mind that every team is different and frequent touchpoints may feel unnatural to some. Managers should talk to their direct reports about their preferred methods for receiving feedback in order to engage employees in a way that’s meaningful to them.
3. COORDINATE VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES
Employees want to know they work for a company that cares about making a positive contribution to society. Volunteering unites employees toward a larger purpose, offering an opportunity to connect on a deeper level. Indeed, 70% of employees believe volunteer events improve morale more than happy hours and 89% believe companies that sponsor charitable activities have a better work environment.
Look for a volunteer opportunity that’s located near your office and plan an event for after work. This is an easy way to come together as a team and give back to your community. Additionally, offer a “Volunteer Day” as an employee benefit. This should be a day outside of your PTO policy that employees can take off to donate their time to a cause they’re passionate about.
4. RECOGNIZE TOP PERFORMERS AND REWARD ACHIEVEMENTS
Engaged employees will go out of their way to go the extra mile. However, they still want to know that leadership sees and appreciates their efforts. Take time to acknowledge your employees and allow them to do the same of their peers.
Since feedback is a top priority among employees, encourage managers to make positive recognition part of their day-to-day. Utilize your communications channel or HCM system to promote acknowledgements to the whole company. Additionally, consider engaging your HR department to implement an incentive program.
5. PLAN COMPANY OUTINGS
The level of employee engagement in your workplace has a lot to do with how your employees relate to one another. Set up opportunities for them to connect on things outside of work and foster personal relationships. You don’t have to go far or break the bank to do so — plan an on-site happy hour, game night or potluck dinner. Make sure to provide some variety in your events to promote inclusivity.