How to improve employee engagement in the workplace
Company leaders want engaged employees, but very few know how to get there. In order to improve staff engagement, start with well-being. It’s crucial to show your employees you care about their well-being by providing resources, communication, reinforcement and encouragement. When you treat your employees with care and support their total well-being, it helps your employees reconnect to what motivates them in their jobs and helps prevent burnout.
Be thoughtful about the actual design of an employee’s job — consider the business problems the job is solving or if there’s the “right” amount of ownership. If employees indicate they’re bored or not challenged, re-engage them by redesigning their roles.
Invest in employees for the long-term. Whether it’s weekly performance check-ins, career development or cross-functional training, offer side projects and opportunities rooted in education and growth.
2. Empower employees and help find meaning
Push decision-making autonomy to the front lines. When you empower employees to step up, make their own decisions and pave their own path to success, you create a better workplace culture. Create mechanisms for employees to have a say and follow up by taking action based on what you hear. Encourage managers to talk to employees about how they contribute to the overall mission of the company.
Give employees a voice. Whether it’s input on a recent project or feedback from a company meeting, actively ask for input to ensure that all employees have a chance to contribute. In video calls, where it’s especially easy for ideas to get lost in the fray, proactively ask for input from new contributors.
3. Build trust
Managers can earn trust first by focusing on what matters most to their teams. Serving others, building a sense of community, emphasizing teamwork, sharing power — these are all ways to prove that your people matter to you. Same with advocating for employees’ welfare, addressing team conflicts and paying individual attention to employee needs. All of these behaviors build trust through actions, not words, creating a more durable sense of safety.
4. Provide regular feedback and support growth & learning
Actively support employee growth by creating opportunities for challenge and movement (not just up). Ensure employees are learning new skills and offer stretch assignments in and outside of their role. Most importantly, make sure to provide regular feedback so your employees have the opportunity to actually grow.
Send frequent messages of support and encouragement to employees (e.g., thank-you cards or recognition during team meetings). If your workforce is remote or virtual, use a communications app or messaging platform to show your appreciation.
5. Support employees holistically
It’s true that individuals feel more valued when their organization cares about the whole employee. At the leadership level, foster effective managers and make sure leaders know what is expected from them. For employees, offer activities and benefits that help them improve their physical, emotional, financial and work well-being. Value and treat your employees fairly by frequently recognizing a job well done and encourage them to recharge.
Gamification is the reason fitness apps work. When the buzzer signals that you hit 10,000 steps, you win. Even performance reviews contain elements of game design — when your employees exceed all their goals and move to the next career level, you both win.
Know how to recognize and reward employees, especially your high-performers. The goal is to celebrate employees for their achievements, hard work or a job well done. Focus on meaningful employee appreciation to help spark other initiatives to improve employee engagement. (P.S. This doesn’t necessarily mean handing out cash.)
Realize that what happens in one part of an employee’s life impacts all others. This is especially true during COVID-19. Family, hobbies and stressors are overlapping in unexpected ways. To fully support employees, it’s key for managers to consider life outside of work.
9. Lead by example
Foster a culture of support that rallies around well-being and engagement in the workplace. Remember that you matter too. Schedule time to take care of yourself and share your well-being goals and priorities with your employees — take daily stress breaks, step away from your desk or go for a 10-minute walk. Take time to care for your family’s needs, and give your employees the flexibility to do the same.
Educate other managers on how they can show crisis leadership through employee engagement and well-being — even if it’s just posting talking points on your company intranet so they know how to approach well-being topics during one-on-one meetings.
Improving employee engagement: How Limeade can help
When managers develop caring relationships with their direct reports, employees bring their whole selves to work and are more engaged. Now is the ideal time to equip managers with the tools they need to respond and get employees more engaged.
Your success starts with the relationship between your managers and your employees, so we do too. Our fresh approach complements your existing performance management program by extending and strengthening the organizational support employees feel from their leaders and managers.
Ready to start increasing engagement in the workplace? Request a demo.