Engaged employees—those who feel like a genuine part of their company—stay with employers for longer, are more productive and are higher-performing than disengaged employees. They’re your best advocates and any organization’s prized asset.
But people don’t engage themselves. Employee engagement is the natural result of a people-first culture that connects people, encourages growth and development, and allows people to bring their authentic selves to work.
Increasing engagement takes work at all levels, from the C-suite down to every individual contributor. These 35 tips will help you get everyone on board, stay productive, and (you know it!) engaged.
1. Allow people to influence their own work
Implement a “managing up“-oriented culture, where people take the reins on their workload and relationships with managers. When you give people the chance to guide their own journey, you encourage them to take a more active role in their career development—and care more about what they’re doing on a daily basis.
2. Implement a performance management plan
Frequent performance reviews increase engagement by giving people achievable short- and long-term goals to strive towards, reframing their tasks as goal-oriented and worthwhile.
3. Create a sense of community
Encourage people to connect with each other by linking affinity groups based on interests and identity. Help your people discover what makes them, as a group, so special, and encourage them to deepen their bonds with each other and the company!
4. Offer benefits that people actually want
And make sure they know about them. Tailor benefits packages to their interests (and benefits packages offered by competitors), so they’ll have another reason to stick around.
5. Encourage top-down transparency
Regular team-, department-, and company-wide updates or all-hands meetings will keep people at all levels of the organization updated and involved. These updates will help your people feel closer to decision-makers and more empathetic towards leadership, even during tough times.
6. Discover and share your people’s superpowers
We’re each worth so much more than what we finish in a day in front of the computer. Encourage people to share their unique talents and use them in the office—whether that means hosting a concert or talent show or translating an email into Japanese.
7. Start with onboarding
A thoughtful onboarding experience will get people engaged from day one—or even earlier. Whether your new hire is working from the office or remote, planning a high-touch onboarding experience will help them stay engaged throughout their tenure at the organization. Make an effort to include elements that help build relationships, create a sense of welcome, clearly communicate expectations, and quickly offer important resources.
8. Celebrate birthdays and work anniversaries
Remind people of how valuable they are to you and your organization by taking the time to celebrate them! A day off or a sweet treat for their birthday can go far.
9. Make the management team more human
Encourage managers from all levels to take the time to check in regularly with their team members and make themselves available for conversations. Developing a culture of open communication will help people stay aware and open-minded.
10. Communicate as much as possible
According to Trade Press Services, effective internal communication motivates 85 percent of professionals to become more engaged in the workplace. Take this as an impetus to openly communicate about everything: goals, news, mission, vision, successes, failures, etc.
11. Invest in learning and development
Want to stand out as an engaging employer? Offer education and development opportunities. After all, 70 percent of modern professionals would leave their current job to work for an organization known for investing in employee development and learning.
12. Offer flexible work structures
If it wasn’t clear before, it should be pretty obvious in our post-COVID world that remote work and job flexibility are top priorities for the modern workforce. That’s why people who work remotely 60 to 80 percent of the time are most likely to strongly agree that their engagement needs are being met.
13. Build trust
It’s never comfortable making mistakes, but it does offer a valuable opportunity to build all-important trust. You’ll strengthen your relationships when you can respond to your own errors with authenticity, vulnerability, and honesty rather than blame or–even worse–pretending the mistake never happened.
14. Take advice from your people
You hired your people for a reason, and each of them brings their own unique set of strengths, talents, skills, and experience to your organization. So why not consult with them next time you need help or feedback? This will show them that you trust, appreciate, and respect them. Plus, it may help you find a solution you wouldn’t have thought of on your own.
15. Put health first
There’s a reason why workplace wellness programs have grown in popularity recently. People who report a higher sense of wellbeing enjoy their work more, are likely to recommend their workplace to colleagues, are less likely to leave, and are more loyal to their teams.
16. Keep an eye on burnout
Whether it’s explicit or tacit, a company culture that pressures people to sacrifice their personal time for the sake of the organization is a recipe for burnout disaster. Instead, prioritize work-life balance and wellness.
17. Create a safe environment for everyone
A workplace with genuine trust and open communication makes even the newest new joiner feel comfortable offering constructive feedback to the CEO. That is real safety–when there is no fear of repercussion for speaking candidly and being honest about difficult things.
18. Commit to a diverse and inclusive workplace
A truly diverse and inclusive organization with commitment throughout the hierarchy can play a significant role in engagement, particularly with the younger generations. According to Deloitte, 83 percent of millennials feel actively engaged when they believe their organization fosters an inclusive culture.
19. Automate, automate, automate
Is there anything less engaging than repetitive grunt work? Thankfully, modern software can automate a tremendous amount of busy work like HR administration, paperwork, reporting, and approvals. This way, people can focus on the more engaging work they love.
20. Always ask for feedback
Are your employee engagement initiatives actually working? There’s no better way to find out than to ask team members directly. Seeking out feedback is the best way to receive an honest response about whether or not what you’re doing is having the effect you intend it to have.
21. Measure engagement effectively
Engagement may be qualitative, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to measure. If you want to get a real sense of your employee engagement levels, you’ve got to collect some data. You have several options for this, including employee engagement surveys, Employee Net Promoter Score, your Glassdoor rating, and voluntary employee turnover rate, to name a few.
22. Be transparent
When it comes to engagement, transparency matters. According to Glassdoor, 96 percent of job seekers say it’s essential to work for a company that embraces transparency. So go ahead and go public with your decision-making considerations, strategic thinking, goals, and vision. And make sure everyone can easily access information about their benefits, development, performance, and so on.
23. Show empathy
When leaders, managers, and HR professionals show empathy throughout the organization, it can make a huge impact on people’s experiences in the workplace. In fact, it’s so important that 80 percent of people say they’re willing to leave their job if they find a more empathetic employer.
24. Set the cultural tone from the top-down
Teaching by modeling behavior isn’t just a principle in parenting. It’s also relevant to businesses. If the top people at your organization don’t walk the walk when it comes to company values and culture, people further down the chain won’t be able to take them seriously. If you want to create a positive, engaging company culture, it has to start from the top.
25. Keep an open-door policy, even in the digital age
With the boom in open-plan offices, we may be past the age of private offices with closed doors. We may even be past the age of offices, period. But the idea of an open-door policy is as relevant as ever. Offering accessibility to managers and executives creates a company culture of trust, fairness, and transparency.
26. Keep it fresh
Work can quickly become routine and boring. Take every chance to spice things up by offering flexible work arrangements, holding meetings in unique locations, and surprising people with new projects or spontaneous events.
27. Assess strengths
Rather than worrying too much about their weaknesses, your people will thrive if they focus on their strengths. To help them out, offer early strength assessments that will allow them to fulfill their full potential throughout their tenure at your organization.
28. Offer coaching
To flourish, people need more than just management: They also need coaching. Setting up a coaching or mentorship program can engage people in their work and help them grow into their best selves.
29. Celebrate individuality
Organizations that cite diversity and inclusion as a value should embrace every person’s individuality and unique background at the company, with all of the unique experience, culture, and knowledge they bring. Consider instating an employee spotlight or special interest groups to make everybody feel celebrated for who they are.
30. Get out of the office
Looking for another way to avoid allowing the energy and culture in your company to get stale and dull? Take every opportunity you can to get up and get out, from external company events to conferences to working from home to team lunches or happy hours. This will keep things exciting and help relationships grow.
31. Embrace failure
Nothing is more antithetical to innovation than the fear of failure. Make it a priority to create a company culture that embraces failure, encouraging people to try out even their wildest ideas as long as they learn quickly from their mistakes and move forward.
32. Celebrate and reward success
Of course, embracing failure doesn’t mean forgetting about celebrating successes. Rewarding people for their hard work and wins is a proven way to keep them feeling recognized, valued, and engaged.
33. Don’t forget offboarding
As important as the onboarding process can be, offboarding is just as valuable an opportunity to engage employees, even as they are on their way out. Throwing going-away lunches helps maintain strong ties, demonstrate your gratitude, and indicate that you value all your people, no matter where their paths may take them.
34. Have a purpose
According to research by McKinsey, 70 percent of professionals say their work largely defines their sense of purpose. Giving your people a meaningful mission to work toward and a sense of making positive change in the world is key to genuine engagement.
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35. Create traditions
As silly as it may sound, creating team- and company-wide traditions is a great way to build loyalty and camaraderie and maintain some fun and excitement throughout the year. Whether it’s a Thursday lunchtime beer or a yearly themed Halloween costume contest, traditions give people something to look forward to.
Are you ready to increase employee engagement?
In this piece, we’ve rounded up our top 35 tips to get your people excited and engaged. We recommend choosing a few to get started and slowly integrating more and more programs to increase employee engagement over time. For sure, investing in your people will help you create a more dedicated and productive workforce.