26 High Impact Employee Engagement Ideas Your Team Will Love (You)
Improving an organisation’s level of employee engagement can be a somewhat challenging task. It’s understandable that managers, supervisors, or even the higher up execs require as much help to ensure employees are invested in the journey. It is often helpful to have a cheat sheet by your side as a ready reference to help you to steer your team in the right direction. This article shares a few ideas to help bring your team together and encourage employee engagement, improved performance, and empowerment of your employees.
- Encourage Open Communication
It’s common for employees to carry on working and feeling uncomfortable to speak their minds from time to time. When your employees harbor the feeling that they cannot talk openly, you are probably losing out on valuable ideas and solutions which can help your organisation. To make your employees feel comfortable, you need to drill down the fact in their minds that they are welcome to do so without any fear of being judged or criticised. Have an open door policy and encourage your employees to come up for discussions.
- Help Your Employees Connect with Each Other
It is a common fact in larger organisations, employees hardly know their colleagues. As a manager, you need to help your employees to get to know each other. There are lots of fun ways in which you can achieve this. Engage your teams in playing office team building games or even planning for a happy hour on a Friday night. Ensure that you allow your employees to interact outside of work without worrying about being judged or watched.
- Add a Personal Touch by Serving as a Mentor
If an employee experiences problems with engagement, it’s important that you intervene as early as possible so that things do not go out of control. To improve your employee engagement model, you could offer to serve as a mentor for those individuals who are facing issues. Plan and set aside some time to help individuals. You can always delegate other managers to step in and help out as mentors if you truly do not have time yourself.
- Get Your Employees to Collaborate
Employee engagement suffers when you have employees who prefer working in silos. However, a business truly improves with collaboration, as it helps to improve ideas, cut down on time wastage, and improves employee engagement. To improve collaboration, implement social intranet software like Slack. Think of it a tool that helps employees to work closely together.
- Promote Health and Wellness
Wellness is crucial for any professional; however, stress and other factors may sometimes get in the way and cause people to neglect their health and lean towards unhealthy eating habits. Take steps to help your employees stay happy and healthy. Get into the habit of having lunch with your colleagues. You can learn a lot about people based on how and what they eat. Promote wellness in your organisation by providing your employees with gym memberships, or getting yoga or even occasiuonal massage therapists. You can also take help from consulting psychologists to help your employees with their stress related concerns. Based on the size of your organisation, you can encourage healthy snacking by stocking up your company refrigerators.
- Clarify Role, Goals and Responsibilities
One of the key factors which contribute towards falling engagement levels is the lack of clarity amongst employees regarding goals and responsibilities. You need to ensure that you clarify goals and responsibilities if you intend to improve employee engagement. Take time to answer queries your employees may have about their goals and responsibilities. While this may initially take up some of your time, it’s entirely worth it, as it will reduce your headache later.
- Have a Proper On-boarding Process in Place
Joining a new organization can be a stressful experience for new hires, especially if they need to fend for themselves at the time of onboarding. On-boarding need not be a lengthy process, but it is likely to be so if you do not offer help to your new hires to move things along. You should make yourself available whenever new employees join the team and give them a proper orientation at the time of onboarding.
- Offer Your Employees a Flexible Working Environment
You will be surprised as to how much of a difference a little bit of flexibility can have on your employee’s performance and his or her level of engagement. You should hold your employees accountable for their tasks and performance, and yet give them some amount of flexibility. There are lots of ways in which you can offer flexibility to your employees. For instance, you may allow them to work from home occasionally, take a personal day off if required, etc. As long as they end up doing the work to teh expected standard, you should have little to worry about. However, keep a watch on how they make use of this flexibility so that no one takes undue advantage of it.
- Help Your Employees to Pursue their Career Aspirations and Goals
In today’s competitive world, it is common for employees to aspire to put a lot of effort into advancing their career by improving their existing knowledge and skills. As a manager, you should help your employees fulfill their aspirations, even though it may mean that someday they will leave the organisation. You can offer help to your employees by arranging workshops or training, allowing them to appear for certifications, arranging internships and so on. Sometimes all it takes is to give out some simple yet sincere advice to your employees to make them feel that you truly care.
- Create a Comfortable and Pleasing Working Environment
It is highly demoralising for employees if they have to sit and work for nine hours in a poorly lit sqaure, small cubicle. You should strive to do whatever is possible from your end to create a comfortable and pleasing office environment which reflects your organization’s branding as well. Give your employees the leverage to personalize their workspace. A few things which can help to add character to your office environment is to add artwork, branded mugs, music, etc. You need to keep in mind that your office environment needs to be inviting and fun. This will improve your employee engagement levels as well by making the working week a little less stressful.
- Pay Attention to Traits and Attitudes while Hiring
While hiring, you should consciously focus on traits and behaviors above everything else. Anyone can progress ahead if he or she tries hard. But it does not necessarily imply that they are going to be engaged in their work. Employees who are most likely to be engaged in their work are usually the ones who are not afraid to speak up, excited, and personable. These traits come out during the interview process. Hence, if you take time to conduct the personal interviews, you will come across such candidates. While a resume indicates a candidate’s professional experience, there cannot be a substitute for a face-to-face interview. A face-to-face interview gives a true sense of an individual’s attitude.
- Give Importance to Promoting Fun at the Workplace
All work and no fun can be incredibly boring and non-productive for an employee. There are multiple ways to incorporate fun into the working day. You can have a company band and set up jamming sessions on Fridays after work. You can also organize contents within your organization. Such activities help to lower the stress levels and also serve as team bonding activities for the employees. A little bit of fun can help to break the monotony of work and go a long way in improving the engagement level of employees.
- Encourage Your Employees to Focus on Their Skills
Employees feel motivated if they’re given the opportunity to do what they can do the best. If you allow your employees to focus on their skills, you can help them to stay engaged. You should ask them what is it which makes them feel comfortable at a task level. Use this information and keep it at the top of your mind when it comes to assigning tasks in future. This will help you build a team of professionals who are experts in their own right.
- Offer Visibility to Your Employees
You must give your employees visibility within the organisation. This can have a huge impact on their engagement levels. It makes them feel great if they are given credit for the hard work. You can give visibility to an employee by displaying his or her name in or on something which is open for everyone to see. Similarly, if an employee had a huge role in spearheading a particular campaign for a product or service, give them their due credit in a press release or at least mention them in the company newsletter where other people can view it. The more visibility you give to your employees, the more engaged they are likely to be.
- Recognise and Celebrate Special Occasions
You must also take the effort to recognise your employees for being part of the team. If your employees get a sense that they are getting the right amount of attention, they will typically be more engaged in their work. You can pick and choose specific occasions to celebrate with your team. These occasions may range from work anniversaries, birthdays, the birth of a baby, or any other professional achievement of your employees. Pay attention to random accomplishments of your employees be it personal or professional.
- Think of Other Ways to Reward Your Employees
You need to understand that not everyone may be looking for money as reward. There are other means of rewarding your employees for a job well done. They can be even more effective to improve employee engagement. For instance, you may give those employees who have performed well in a project with extra time off. You can also give them tickets to a sports event or their favorite rock concert. Some other options may be gift cards, or books, or even taking them out for lunch to their favorite restaurant.
- Allow Your Employees to Take Some Time Off for Personal Development
Working hours can be quite tedious which does not give your employees ample time to pursue something new for their personal enrichment. Allow your employees to take some time off from work and pursue whatever they are passionate about. It may not be directly related to work. While you may lose out some production time, it will make your working environment more comfortable for your employees. It will also lead to a more engaged team.
- Encourage Your Employees to Work on a Project on Their Own Terms
One of the best ways to make an employee feel a sense of belonging towards the organization is to allow them to take up the entire ownership of a project. Every team member may have a unique idea which may be beneficial towards the overall goal of your organization. If you encourage them to work on a project on their own terms, it is more likely that their ideas would come to fruition. Every week you must strive to encourage your employees to spend 10% of their time to nurture a pet project. This will help to lessen their stress levels, and you may eventually end up with a solution from their end which could be beneficial for the overall business.
- Allow Your Employees to work in different departments
When an employee is stuck in one single department, they will get to learn only a small part of the business. If you allow your staff to move around from one department to another occasionally, it will help the employees to know one another better. Above all, everyone will get an opportunity to see how the business truly runs. This will lead to an engaged workforce, and every employee will take back some knowledge from one department to another. This is a very good option for knowledge sharing and learning.
- Promote Regular Brain Storming Sessions
Lack of ideas literally starves your business of progress. The more you promote sharing of ideas, the better your business will prosper eventually. It will also keep your employees more engaged. One of the best ways to keep the inflow of ideas is to hold regular brainstorming session. Facilitate this discussion in such a manner that it promotes open sharing of ideas/opinions without any criticism. Sometimes, an idea may spark something magical, and you may miss out if you do not provide the platform to share it.
- Give Preference to Internal Hiring
If you are thinking that you are going to save money by hiring from outside, it is not going to help you eventually. In fact, it will make your employees feel more disengaged in their work. If you hire from within the organisation, it is a great means of employee engagement. When you hire from within the organisation, you will have the benefit of such employees already in working relationships with colleagues set in place. This also generates excitement amongst your staff thereby leading to a more active and engaged work environment.
- Allow Your Employees to Have the Final Say
Sometimes employees show signs of disengagement when they feel that they are never given a chance to make important decisions. While it may not be possible from your end to allow this always, but in certain scenarios, if you do so, it may prove to be beneficial. For instance, if a significant decision needs to be taken on a project, and you have a team member who has been working quite closely on it, you may want to offer them the final say. This may prove to be quite beneficial at times and may even lead your business in a forward direction.
- Birthday Breakfast with the CEO
When organisations are large, it is common for people to lose sight of the fact that the CEO actually cares for the employees. So it is a good idea to keep the CEO and the employees connected. This will lead to improved levels of employee engagement within the organisation. Organise a birthday breakfast every month with the CEO and every employee who shares a birthday in that particular month. This is a great way for the employees and the CEO to get to know one another at a personal level. It also provides an opportunity to the employees to ask pertinent questions directly to the CEO.
- Sponsor a Charitable Event
If you wish to improve the engagement level of your employees and appeal to the general population at the same time, sponsoring a charitable event is a great option. The more you involve yourself in charitable events, the stronger your employees will be able to identify with who they work for and what they do. It is totally worthwhile to invest a little for such events, as the benefits can far outweigh the costs.
- Surprise End of Week Lunches
Organising community lunches can be a lot of fun, and it also leads to employee engagement. Try to organise surprise lunches towards the end of a working week preferably on a Thursday or Friday. This is a great idea to get the entire team together, and it also cost effective in terms of taking the entire team out for lunch. Apart from the actual lunch, even the planning process is a lot of fun, as it enables all the team members to come up with unique ideas in which they plan to contribute to the ‘surprise ‘ lunch.
When we get caught up in the transactional elements that make up HR, we overlook the seven pillars of employee engagement. Hopefully, this cheat sheet sheet will offer you a starting point for your journey to employee engagement!