5 super-effective ways to quickly boost employee engagement
Employees expect more from their jobs than they ever have. Whereas previous generations stuck it out long-term at companies because of the security and financial freedom it gave them, the new generation of workers are looking for a career that’s fulfilling — not just a day job.
This new reality is putting additional pressure on employers to keep their staff engaged. Research shows that the majority of UK HR managers see employee engagement as their biggest challenge, especially since disengaged staff at work cost businesses an average of £605 a year per person.
Thankfully, overcoming the disengagement problem isn’t as difficult as you might think. With the right initiatives in place, you can turn your entire team into innovators and brand advocates who’ll take your business to a whole new level.
Here are five effective employee engagement initiatives that you can start today.
1. Public praise
One of the key reasons why employees start to feel disengaged in a role is that they feel their work has no impact, which drains away their motivation faster than any physical tiredness could.
You can easily combat this by identifying something great that one of your employees has done and sharing it in a public space, whether that’s in the meeting room or the breakout area. This kind of recognition provides positive feedback to an employee that what they’re doing does matter and that it makes a difference.
The best kind of praise is specific. If possible, tie in your praise with a statistic that proves the work had a tangible impact and if not, tie in your praise with one of your company values.
Tying praise to company values is especially useful when recognising an employee who went beyond the call of duty: perhaps they worked overtime to help a customer or devoted an evening to mentoring a new member of staff. Whatever it is, make sure you publicly recognise it.
2. Write a job description
You may have started the recruitment process with a specific job spec, but it’s not uncommon for roles to evolve and change over time. A great way to identify this is to ask your team to write their own job descriptions as they understand it, and ensure that it’s reviewed in a month or a quarter’s time with their manager.
By reviewing this description with their manager, employees can see where parts of their job have changed — for better or worse. Your staff can then highlight those responsibilities that have crept into their role which they don’t want, giving you a chance to rethink how to optimise your team structure.
Ultimately, employees who are working on things they care about will be far more engaged, so writing and reviewing their job description is a great way to nip those detrimental tasks in the bud and help your people thrive.
3. Run knowledge-share sessions
Research shows that millennials are constantly looking for opportunities to learn and develop — it’s a determining factor in whether they’ll stay or go.
Thankfully, you can foster a learning culture without sinking thousands into an elaborate training budget. Instead, promote training sessions between different members of staff. This is a great way for teams to develop their understanding of different departments while building relationships.
Better still, it’ll benefit the session host as much as the learners; not only do they get a chance to touch up on their presentations skills, but they’ll also learn how to explain complex concepts more simply. It’ll remind them why they’re an expert at what they do, giving them that little boost of self-esteem that will go a long way in keeping them engaged.
4. Encourage innovation
Google is one of the most sought-out employers in the world and whose employees are known to work hard and love what they do. Famously, Google ran a ‘20%’ initiative, in which staff were encouraged to spend 20% of their time on a personal project that they believed could help the company.
The 20% initiative works: it produced Gmail, Google Maps and spawned the beginning of Google Home. But it also creates a culture in which employees feel trusted and empowered to make decisions.
By adopting a similar rule in your business, however that might look, you can re-engage employees. People are naturally more invested in an idea that they came up with, so by giving your team some free reign to start a project they’re passionate about, you reignite that flame that keeps them engaged in the rest of their work, too.
The best way to sustain this kind of innovation and keep engagement high is to use those ideas or developments that can add value to the work of the wider company, giving credit where it’s due. There’s nothing more satisfying than seeing the seed of your idea bear fruit in your environment.
5. Volunteer together
The new generation of workers is more interested in whether or not their employer is ethically minded and committed to a good cause than if their profits are at an all-time high.
With that in mind, many companies today donate to a range of charities both locally and overseas. But there’s one thing that a lot of businesses miss: encouraging staff to volunteer together.
Volunteering to do work for charities is an ideal way of keeping your staff engaged because it helps them bond with others in their team over a good cause.
These five initiatives are not only easy to implement and generally free to do, but they’re also long-term solutions to your employee engagement problem. In time, the benefits of having a more engaged team will drive your business forward and help you thrive.