Only 32% of U.S. employees are engaged at work, according to Gallup. Without engaged employees, you’ll start to see a drop in productivity and quality of work. And, you’ll see a spike in turnover rates. You need to know how to improve employee engagement to combat these issues.
What is employee engagement?
Employee engagement is a business strategy to ensure workers have the right environment and culture to become passionate, driven, and invested in the company they work for.
Engaged employees add value to your business because they produce quality work and come up with new ways to improve business processes.
Although you can’t force employees to engage with their jobs, you can execute a number of employee engagement strategies to improve engagement.
How to improve employee engagement
1. Provide benefits that promote engagement
In some cases, employees become unengaged because they have too much going on in their personal lives.
Certain inexpensive employee benefits promote engagement by giving employees a better work-life balance. Consider offering flexible working schedules and the option to work remotely if you can.
Flexible schedules let employees change their work hours to accommodate their personal lives. The ability to work remote can be beneficial for employees who are sick or have things going on at home. And, some employees are more engaged when they work from home.
2. Listen to your employees
An employee probably won’t become disengaged as a result of one big event. Instead, they could lose engagement as a result of multiple little issues. Talking to your employees can help you break through barriers and get to the root of problems.
There are a few ways you can listen to your employees. You could pass out employee engagement surveys, conduct performance reviews, or keep your office door open so employees know you are available.
Pass out employee engagement surveys
You can solicit feedback from your employees by distributing employee engagement surveys. These survey questions can prompt employees to give their honest answers about how they feel working at your business, whether they are being recognized, and if they are engaged. Some questions you could ask on an employee engagement survey include:
- On a scale of 1 to 10, how engaged are you at work?
- How often do you receive recognition?
- Do you feel this job encourages employee development?
- On a scale of 1 to 10, how much fun do you have at work?
- How would you rate your work-life balance?
Conduct performance reviews
Performance reviews aren’t just opportunities for you to tell employees how they are doing. They are also useful meetings for you to gauge how employees feel about working at your business.
You should have performance reviews at least twice a year. That way, you can address problems more quickly. Don’t monopolize the conversation—give your employees the chance to tell you about their experiences. Ask probing questions so that they’ll discuss their engagement.
Keep your office door open
One way you can get employees to open up to you is by keeping your office door open. Make sure employees know they can always come to you if they have problems, whether they’re professional or personal. That way, you and the employee can work together to come up with a solution and improve engagement.
3. Hire smart, train effectively, and onboard successfully
If you aren’t putting in the time to hire, train, and onboard employees, you’ll spend much more time (and money) later on when you are hiring a replacement.
Many employers underestimate the importance of making a good hire. You might know how important it is to have top talent, but you might be restricted on time. But if you put in the time to make sure a candidate is a good fit for your company, you’ll spend less time in the long run. Conduct multiple interviews so you can really get to know a candidate before you extend an offer. Find out a candidate’s personal and professional objectives.
When it comes to training new hires, less is not more. You might think it’s OK to leave them to their own devices, but this can have a very negative impact on employee engagement. Employees want to feel comfortable with what they’re doing early on so they can master it that much faster.
Ensure a smooth onboarding process so that employees can be excited to dive into their new position. Through onboarding, employees become familiar with your company culture and their duties. It’s important that you successfully welcome employees to your company by making sure you introduce them to your current workforce and answer questions your new hire might have.
4. Acknowledge employees
Paying attention to your employees is key to a healthy, engaging environment. Employees who feel like they are invisible will quickly become disengaged with their work. And top producing employees whose hard work is swept under the carpet might begin putting less effort into their work.
Acknowledging employees with greetings, thanking them for their work, and rewarding them when they do a good job is necessary for happy, engaged employees.
Some monetary rewards you could provide to top-performing employees include bonus pay and raises.
5. Set up employee engagement activities
From company parties to business planning strategies, there are a number of ways you can encourage staff engagement through activities.
Work with your employees to create business budget proposals. Meet with employees to discuss ways to manage business cash flow. Ask employees to offer innovative ideas to streamline processes. Get employees involved in decision-making.
You could also offer employee development opportunities, like free or discounted seminars, classes, or training programs. These show employees that you value them and want to invest in their futures.
Other employee engagement activities involve fun ways to build camaraderie among your team. Let employees get to know one another by throwing company parties and having team-building exercises.