When we talk about employee engagement, we talk about how committed employees feel to their roles within the organization, how satisfied they are with their work, and how much energy they feel when they’re doing it. Engaged employees are more productive and happier in their jobs, likely to work harder, and less likely to look for opportunities elsewhere.
Unfortunately, engaged employees can be hard to come by, with only 36 percent of employees reporting feeling engaged in their work. You need to make boosting engagement among your staff a top priority. It can lower turnover, boost productivity, and create a healthier workplace culture. Here’s what you need to do.
1) Make the Work More Enjoyable
People will naturally be more engaged with tasks that align with their interests. Your employees’ work itself should only cause a minimal amount of stress if any at all. Removing stress while making tasks more interesting can make people enjoy their work more.
You can make a job more interesting for the employee by allowing them to try a range of tasks, so they can find tasks that they naturally enjoy. You can also give your employees some level of autonomy – the ability to decide when and how to do tasks, for example, or the ability to take unlimited vacation.
2) Recognize Employee Anniversaries and Other Life Milestones
Employee anniversary recognition is important – offering some kind of recognition of an employee’s work anniversary shows you care about their contribution. Make it thoughtful – offer a nice card thanking the employee for another year of service. Reward employees who remain with the company with extra time off or other benefits to encourage loyalty.
Many employees also appreciate the recognition of their personal life milestones. Recognition does not have to be big and elaborate. A card and flowers from the office to celebrate the arrival of a new child, for example, can be a thoughtful and appropriate way to congratulate the new parent. Thoughtful gestures of recognition help employees feel appreciated for the valuable human beings they are.
3) Strengthen Bonds between Coworkers
The social connections we have at work can have a huge bearing on how engaged we feel with the work itself. Friendly bonds between coworkers contribute to more successful and efficient collaboration. Give your employees opportunities to form social connections. Have holiday parties, company picnics, and after-work drinks on Fridays. Strengthening those bonds will mean teams operate better at work, and employees are more committed to their roles.
Take care that interactions between coworkers remain friendly. 48.6 million Americans experience workplace bullying. If you get employee complaints about abusive behavior, take them seriously. Take action to stop workplace bullying with training, intervention, and disciplinary action.
4) Listen to Employee Feedback
If you want to lead your employees effectively, you need to be willing to listen to them. Employees are going to be more committed to contributing to an organization when they feel their voice is heard by management. Check in with employees regularly – and perhaps more often than you are now. Annual employee satisfaction surveys aren’t enough. Take monthly pulse surveys so you can keep track of where your employees are and what they want and need from you. Have quarterly check-ins where employees can ask questions, raise grievances, illuminate problems, or discuss performance.
5) Support Employee Growth and Success
Some people might be comfortable staying in the same role, in a professional cul-de-sac, for the majority of their careers, but many people want to keep moving upward and onward. Even those who aren’t constantly getting promotions to want to feel like they’re building on and expanding their skill set.
Give your employees plenty of opportunities for professional development and advancement. Sit down with each one and map out a career plan. Ask each employee to think about where they want to go in their careers, and then help them make a concrete plan to get there within your company. Offer training and mentorship opportunities so that employees have a chance to expand their skill sets, whether they want to learn the skills they need for a promotion, they simply want to learn how to do their jobs better, or both.
Employee engagement can be the secret ingredient that makes your company a success. Create a healthy company culture that encourages strong relationships between employees, opportunities for professional growth, and enjoyment of the work, and you’ll find that your employees will become more committed and engaged than ever.