Your employees are the heart and soul of your business. No matter what goods you sell or services you provide, nothing gets done without the invaluable efforts of your team members. That’s why it’s crucial to keep your staff engaged and satisfied. It’s the only way the best work gets done.
Unfortunately, keeping employees engaged is easier said than done. Fostering engagement is an ongoing process that requires experimentation, transparency, and respect. Today, we’re going to explore some tried-and-true strategies for boosting employee engagement.
What does it mean to be engaged?
The only way to know if your engagement strategies are working are to recognize the signs of an engaged employee. While a healthy level of engagement isn’t easily defined, there are some telltale signs to look for.
- They take pride in their work and are eager for feedback
- They are consistently focused on the tasks at hand
- They exhibit high levels of energy and enthusiasm
- They seem present during meetings and contribute often
- They look at the company’s big picture goals and understand how they fit into them
- They exhibit a general sense of well-being while at work
These signs aren’t always infallible, but they provide a basic framework for measuring your progress. In practice, you’ll often find that it’s obvious when an employee is truly engaged. They self-motivate, take initiative, and work efficiently. Let’s explore some strategies to help move your staff in the right direction.
1 – Seek company feedback consistently
Engaged employees feel valued and listened to. If you want to simultaneously drive engagement while also learning how your staff currently feels about their jobs and your company, start with a survey—preferably an anonymous one to encourage honesty.
Surveys are one of the best initial strategies to improve employee engagement, but they are only effective if you use what you learn to create positive change in the workplace. If 75% of your employees indicate they wish the company would switch to a hybrid schedule, it’s important to address this concern in a way that shows you are taking the request seriously. Either take steps toward a hybrid schedule or have a meeting in which you raise concerns, allowing employees to ask questions. Otherwise, your surveys will be rightfully considered ingenuine.
It’s also important to seek feedback continuously. Your workplace changes constantly, and it’s important to make sure you keep up. This will also allow you to measure your progress in building engagement.
2 – Set up a thorough onboarding process
A proper onboarding process lays the foundation for a relationship between your employee and your company. When you take the time to instill a new hire with a deep understanding of your company’s methods, goals, and hierarchy, they are far more likely to develop a bond with the company that creates lasting engagement and satisfaction.
A thorough onboarding is multifaceted and shouldn’t be rushed. Obviously you’ll need to go over company policies and paperwork, but that should only be the beginning. It’s crucial that your new hire learns all about your company, your values, and your mission. You should also make sure they take the time to meet and get to know the other staff members, especially those they’ll work closely with.
During onboarding, your new hire should also get a thorough rundown of all of their job duties and the tools they will need to complete them. Make sure they have plenty of time to ask questions. You’ll know if your onboarding process was successful if your new hire feels comfortable with their new role. They should also feel comfortable asking questions, and they should know who to go to if they’re feeling confused.
Once you’ve found an onboarding process that works, solidify it. Make sure all members of management and HR know the details of the process so that you can utilize its success again and again as you bring new people into your company.
3 – Invest in your employees’ careers
A career is a marathon, not a sprint, and nobody wants to feel like they’ve stagnated or hit a dead end on their journey. Even if someone joins your company at the very bottom of the ladder, they are far more likely to feel engaged and motivated to do well if they feel confident there are rungs to climb.
For some companies, especially those that are small or new, it can be difficult to provide a clear framework for internal advancement. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t invest in your employee’s careers in other ways. Find new skills, certifications, and projects that will expand your employees’ capabilities and skillset. This will not only help them achieve success at your company, but also set them up for further success in other directions their careers might take. The effort won’t go unnoticed.
4 – Recognize high quality work
According to a Gallup survey, only one in three American workers agree that they’ve received recognition for the high quality of their work in the past work week. Management across the country is missing an easy, low-cost opportunity to not only make an employee feel valued for their contributions, but to encourage them to continue their hard work.
People are social creatures, and we all crave validation and respect from our peers. A simple congratulations or thanks during a meeting or on a company-wide chat can work wonders for an employee’s morale. That morale boost is likely to encourage more praise-worthy behavior, creating a positive feedback loop. It also feels good to make other people feel good, making this a win-win technique.
It’s also important to realize that not all recognition is created equal. According to that same Gallup poll, employees were far more likely to value recognition that was both authentic and personal. In other words, be both honest and specific, letting them know why the work was so valuable and how it helped their peers and the company as a whole. It also helps for the recognition to come from someone higher on the corporate hierarchy than themselves.
5 – Invest in personal growth and wellness
Your employees care about their work, but it’s far from the only thing they care about. They have families, hobbies, and goals that aren’t work-related. If you can support them outside of work, the resulting bond will have positive echoes in the workplace. Invest more in them, and they will invest more in you. One of the best ways to do this is through a generous benefits package.
Your employees care about spending time with their kids. Support them by offering plenty of family leave and vacation time. They care about their fitness, so offer a gym membership stipend or office gym. They care about their physical and mental health, so offer them insurance with high-quality coverage.
Of course, it’s also important to provide a good salary. There are tools available to help you determine salary ranges for specific roles and stay competitive. This shows how much you value an employee’s time and efforts in the most fundamental way a business can. Periodic raises also show you aren’t taking them for granted.
6 – Emphasize a sense of purpose
Your employees dedicate a huge portion of their lives and their energy to your company, so it’s only natural that they seek fulfillment in their work. Study after study has shown that a feeling of purpose at work is extremely valuable to employers as a driving force of employee engagement.
One of the best ways to promote a sense of purpose is to shift focus away from profits and toward the people your business is helping. When you carefully craft a mission statement that reflects values promoting a greater good, always return to it when your company finds success. Doing so will foster community among the entire staff and drive more engagement.
Purpose is not just about the company’s big picture—it’s about personal fulfillment too. Think about what drove your employees toward your industry and their specific skill set. Consider what they hope to gain from their work beyond a salary, and speak to that purpose. For instance, a statement like “nice work on that copy you wrote, it generated over $10,000 in sales for our company” can be reframed as “nice work on that copy you wrote, your writing skills are getting sharper every day.”
Let Corporate Chaplains of America care for your employees
A cared for employee is an engaged employee, and one of the best ways to show your employees you care about them is to offer them a listening ear. However, this can make it difficult to maintain a healthy professional distance. Partnering with a third party is an excellent way to show you care while remaining professional.
Corporate Chaplains of America has over 25 years of workplace care experience. We provide whole-person care with a team of highly trained and certified chaplains who offer voluntary, confidential, and permission-based care.
We offer in-person and 24/7 virtual support to you and your team members, so everyone can get the care they need when they need it most. Contact CCA today to learn more about what we can do for your company.