If you’re looking for employee engagement ideas your organization can use to boost morale and improve motivation, this is the post for you.
Just maybe not in the way you’d expect.
There’s nothing wrong with building a program of employee activities designed to help make work a fun and fulfilling place to be. However, it’s important to recognize that true engagement goes much deeper.
According to research from the Society for Human Resource Management, a record 88% of U.S. employees are satisfied with their current jobs. Compensation, benefits, and job security all play a role in how content people are at work.
But when it came to fulfillment, that same sampling of employees were found to be only moderately engaged.
As we’ve described in detail here and here, a satisfied employee isn’t always an engaged employee.
And as SHRM’s recent analysis proves, a program focused on pay and perks—while important—isn’t what results in high levels of engagement or leads to lasting results.
For that, you’ll need a comprehensive employee engagement strategy.
The Only Employee Engagement Idea You Need
Instead of approaching employee engagement as a series of individual ideas—a seasonal activity here, a new benefit there—it helps to think of it as an overall process.
Employee engagement isn’t about discovering new and creative ways to keep employees happy. Sure, your workforce might be delighted to see a freshly stocked break room or new massage chairs in the lounge. But how often will those bursts of contentment from free snacks and relaxation sessions translate into more passion around a big company goal?
The best employee engagement ideas are ones that help you draw out deep-seated motivations that ultimately lead to employees becoming more invested in your company’s overall success.
How do you do it?
For starters, you’ll need to think beyond many traditional approaches that require physical office spaces and face-to-face activities.
With the bulk of today’s employees relying heavily on mobile devices (Americans collectively check their smartphones eight billion times a day) an engagement strategy must meet employees on their own turf to be truly meaningful to them. As long as you have a way to interact with employees on smartphones and tablets, the only engagement “ideas” you’ll ever need are the ones that keep them consistently engaged whether they’re in the office, in the field, or working remotely.
4 Ways to Improve Engagement
1. Measure Employee Engagement
In an in-depth, interview-based report involving 550 executives, researchers at Harvard Business Review (HBR) found that 71% of leaders rank employee engagement as critical to achieving business goals.
However, less than half (24%) of those respondents said their employees are highly engaged. The rest were still struggling to “effectively measure employee engagement against business performance metrics.”
When you start by measuring engagement levels, you can get clear insight into specific areas for improvement.
Companies with the high levels of engagement told HBR analysts that they accomplished this by asking clear and pointed survey questions that go beyond measuring satisfaction, then combing the data for “hidden stories” of what’s working and what needs improvement.
2. Inspire Employees to Do Their Best Work
It’s important to remember that some of the most inspiring employee engagement methods don’t involve money.
If you want to have a big impact on employee engagement, focus on finding ways to help your employees make meaningful connections between the work they do and your organization’s overall mission. When you make your vision and values clearly visible and integrate them into day-to-day workflows, it’s much easier for teams to be inspired to do great work.
One easy way to do this is by providing a steady supply of:
- Compelling weekly or monthly content that brings your vision to life
- Inspiring success stories and updates from clients
- Public celebrations of employees who are making a difference in the lives of customers
One shining example of the effectiveness of this approach is the employee-first foundation principles at The Container Store, which boasts a 10% turnover rate in an industry where the average is 75%.
3. Give Employees a Voice
You can offer some of the most impactful programs and initiatives in your industry, but they won’t resonate if your employees don’t have a say in them. This is where the power of employee feedback comes in.
There’s still some confusion about what it means to give employees a voice. While promoting an open door policy can positively impact employee engagement when structured properly, they only skim the surface of what it takes to ensure your employees feel heard.
What employees really need are opportunities to ask questions, share ideas, and offer feedback through a system that makes them feel heard and ensures his or her opinions play a role in actual decisions.
4. Foster Employee Connections
The ability to build connections with coworkers is a key indicator of employee engagement and satisfaction. Contrary to what you might think, it’s possible for an organization to play a big role in enabling those relationships. And not just through events, but on a day-to-day basis.
At FirstPerson, employees have instant access to colleagues’ information through a mobile directory that’s built into the company’s branded engagement app. Company-wide notifications are sent on birthdays, work anniversaries and other life events to foster interactions.
These four steps will get you a lot closer to your ideal workplace, but the recommendations above are just the tip of a very large iceberg. For more employee engagement ideas that will truly make a difference, head over here to download our free Employee Engagement Essentials Kit.