Achieve Employee Engagement and Retention
Whether your team is remote, back in the office, or hybrid, employee engagement is an important factor in attracting and retaining top talent, no matter what industry you’re in. And yet employee engagement is not exactly a simple term to define, or a simple problem to fix.
If you’re like a lot of HR and executive leaders today, you may be looking for ways to unlock the potential for increased employee engagement at your company. If that is the case, we hope this post will help to educate you on employee engagement strategies and the ways companies can encourage their employees to be more motivated and more engaged at work.
What is Employee Engagement?
Now more than ever, employee engagement is essential. With hybrid and virtual teams becoming the norm, businesses are constantly trying to learn how to keep employees engaged. But what exactly is employee engagement?
Employee engagement refers to the overall sense of enthusiasm, loyalty, and commitment employees feel working at a given company. Organizations with this strong trait have plenty of employees who come to work every day ready to give it their all and who are committed to contributing to the company mission. These employees will put in discretionary effort due to the genuine engagement with their work.
Three Major Components of Employee Engagement
There are many components that contribute to employee engagement, but we break down the most important into three groups. With a focus on these three areas, organizations can take themselves to the next level, benefiting customers, shareholders, and employees alike.
The Three Components:
- Company Culture
There’s a good reason why Preciate’s purpose is to help people build stronger relationships. Connections with others directly feed human happiness, and there’s no exception when it comes to workplace relationships.
Having strong relationships with coworkers is fundamental for teams and organizations to thrive. It’s the connections with other people in the office who create a sense of loyalty to a particular company. Once someone has built authentic relationships with their teammates, they are more likely to want to keep their job. This leads to increased retention for the organization.
Giving and receiving recognition is one of the most important components of employee participation. In annual engagement surveys by TINYpulse, the percentage of employees who reported feeling valued at work has gone down year after year.
When it comes to feeling undervalued, a lack of appreciation is to blame. Many companies fail to implement a recognition program that encourages the exchange of appreciation and praise, which ends up costing them in the end. Employees who receive consistent, authentic recognition for their effort and accomplishments are more productive, more loyal, and generally happier. Not only do they feel good coming to work, but they take those good vibes home, improving their lives overall.
3. Company Culture
Without considering the company culture, increasing the focus of our study would be nearly impossible. The environment an employee comes into every day has a huge impact on their ability to be genuinely engaged with their work.
Company cultures can be negative or positive, so creating a positive culture takes conscious effort. In particular, it’s a matter of creating a culture of appreciation where strong workplace relationships can thrive.
When a company’s culture is clearly defined, employees can easily determine where they fit in. This increases engagement because employees know how they are contributing to their organization’s purpose. It also helps with branding and recruitment, which has become more important in modern times. Companies with a well-defined positive culture tend to attract hard-working, dedicated employees, which perpetuates the cycle of engagement.
Remember: This topic and the whole piece of content refers to the level of enthusiasm, commitment, and productivity in a company’s employees.
“Companies that broaden their focus beyond delivery of transactional rewards will reap the benefits of a more engaged and productive workforce. Employers must offer emotional rewards.”Mercer: Global Talent Trends Study, 2019
Who Can Benefit from Increased Employee Engagement?
Who can utilize and harness the benefits of connecting and engaging with employees?
It turns out members across entire organizations can benefit from implementing these techniques. In particular, you’ll find three major groups that benefit from achieving employee engagement goals. These are:
- Remote teams. Studies have shown that remote employees are more productive and happier working from home. With this in mind, it’s essential for businesses to focus on employee engagement strategies to keep virtual employees connected.
- Companies with disengaged employees. If you’re already facing a disengagement issue, it’s time to revisit employee engagement best practices. Find unique and exciting ways to re-engage your employees.
- All employees. With so much of our days spent at work, it’s essential that we find happiness within our company. All employees can benefit from a company with an elite employee engagement strategy.
Strategies To Increase Employee Engagement
1. Set a Recurring Morning Meeting
It’s very likely that you and your remote team will not have done a significant amount of work before 9 a.m., but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t schedule a meeting at the symbolic start of the workday. Every project and every action item should all be put on a calendar to ensure that everyone is on the same page. Setting clear expectations will help to avoid confusion and frustration.
2. Model Expectations
During your morning check-in with your team, review your own work to-do list for that day and ask them all to do the same. This gives your team the ability to make agile decisions about how to prioritize work and team up on projects, as well as reassuring each other about what it is that the rest of you actually do all day.
3. Make Contact Frequently
Reach out to remote workers frequently throughout the workday to make sure they feel involved. Respond to their calls and emails quickly, as they don’t have the ease of access that your in-house employees do. Engaging them often, even for just brief calls and check-ins, reminds them that their home office considers them equal members of the team.
4. Use Different Communication Tools
Using a few different channels for communication can also be helpful. Instead of sending an email for every request or question, explore collaboration tools and apps that enable quick, real-time responses. It’ll feel less onerous and time-consuming than getting an email that requires a lengthy written response. For meetings, explore the use of video conferencing software, so that even when you’re not meeting in person, you’re still engaging face to face and reading each other’s facial expressions and body language.
5. Build Culture With Technology
Some employers are encouraging the use of online hangouts like Google or Slack as a way for employees to tap into the hive mind, as well as to create a sort of digital water cooler. Real-time reactions to work, current events, or items of shared interest (some employers even pair up buddies based on similar values and encourage digital hangouts) can foster trust and strengthen workplace bonds.
And let’s not forget the benefit of an employee recognition system. With remote teams especially, it’s important to remind employees of their value, which helps keep them engaged and excited by the company mission.
6. Prioritize Facetime
Make your in-person time count. When you do meet with your remote workers, make sure that it feels like it’s worth their while to come into the office. Come prepared, and consider pairing the meetings with some sort of professional development or team-building exercise.
7. Build Trust
Instead of keeping track of if someone has been in their chair all day, consider if the deliverables have been met. As long as a remote team member is making their meetings and hitting their marks, they’ve earned your trust. Keep that trust flowing, and your payoff will be increased productivity.
Remote working isn’t going away any time soon, and early adopters have helped define best practices that can guide managers in this new workplace environment. By taking a page from their playbook, managers of remote teams can reap the benefits of having a team that doesn’t need to take up space to create great work.
Encouraging Discretionary Effort
Whenever this topic and performance comes up, it isn’t long before people start talking about the concept of discretionary effort. A truly engaged employee will put in the discretionary effort when it comes to their career. But what does discretionary effort mean? Discretionary effort refers to the amount of additional effort, beyond what is already expected, that an employee is willing to put into their work.
The Path to Increased Employee Engagement
Getting employees to work harder takes more than just asking them to do so. Instead, the best way is to develop an authentic caring attitude towards their overall wellbeing.
From giving consistent messages of appreciation to offering additional resources and support, team leaders can increase their employees’ engagement and therefore their performance.
Preciate’s employee recognition platform is focused on relationship building for this precise reason, and it’s also FREE! Workplace relationships are a key contributor to company culture and overall employee happiness. Start encouraging discretionary effort from employees today by launching a recognition program and inspiring a culture of appreciation.