Employee Engagement Best Practices

How do your employees feel about their work and your company? Is it a complete mystery? Do you assume that your employees are engaged?

When it comes to employee engagement, how employees feel about their work is a significant driver of overall success. Engaged workers are more productive, stick around longer, and refer their friends to join the team. On the other hand, disengaged employees are likely to churn, stall productivity, and even drag down the morale of their team. 

The best leaders know that employee engagement is top dog when it comes to competitive advantages. So, you’re probably wondering how to get started. Instead of assuming your employees are engaged, we have five employee engagement best practices that you can use to create a culture of engagement in 2019 and beyond.

1. Measure Engagement with an Employee Engagement Survey

Before you start brainstorming employee engagement ideas and designing an employee engagement program, it’s important to measure the current level of engagement in your company. This will help identify what’s working and areas for improvement.

An employee engagement survey gives you an inside look at engagement through the eyes of your most valuable asset: your employees. This survey should include key questions regarding how your employees view the company and their role. Instead of asking your employees dozens of basic questions, consider incorporating a mix of short answer and multiple-choice questions. This will help you gather accurate statistics and employee suggestions for company improvement.

If you’re looking for inspiration to get started with your employee engagement survey, take a look at the findings from Gallup’s Q12 Employee Engagement Survey. It features 12 questions that measue the most important elements of employee engagement. Or, take a look at the SHRM Employee Engagement Survey which focuses on more than 50 aspects of job satisfaction.

Because employee engagement can change quickly over time, it’s also important to survey employees on a reoccurring basis. At Lessonly, our HR department surveys the team on a quarterly basis and compares questions on a 5-point scale to see how engagement is progressing. Companies with best HR practices also share survey scores and feedback to the entire team and explain how they plan to address gaps and concerns with their employee engagement activities.

2. Consider Different Employee Engagement Strategies

Arguably, employee engagement isn’t an exact “strategy.” Like other strategies, employers can’t make employees engaged. While we have thoughts on this, Annette Franz sums it up best:

“Employee engagement cannot be a strategy because engagement comes from within the employee. It’s the emotional connection or commitment that an employee has to the organization that then causes the employee to want to put forth the additional effort to ensure the organization and the brand succeed.” 

Really, any employee engagement strategy should look to increase the likelihood that employees will feel emotionally invested with their organization. It’s also important to be realistic about your efforts so everyone is on the same page with the methods of employee engagement you’ll put into action. Best practice examples stress the importance of setting clear and strategic goals for employee engagement efforts. Develop a baseline for how to improve employee engagement and establish objectives for each tactic. By setting expectations, teams will find it easier to decide on new initiatives for employee engagement.

3. Look at What Motivates Employees

Unfortunately, each employee has different wants and needs that impact their employee engagement. While it’s impossible to address every individual preference, companies with successful employee engagement programs poll employees to see what actually motivates them. This helps teams map out a plan that works best for them.

It’s likey that a sales team has very different preferences than the IT department, so it’s best to look at what motivates employees within a team instead of company-wide. This will help you pinpoint a few activities for each team that are more likely to drive motivation and engagement. If you have a team that notes they want an incentive for continuing education and training, build a formal training and development program that helps them grow in their career.

At the end of the day, your employee engagement activities are useless if they don’t address what really motivates your team. By examining what motivates employees on different teams, you’ll ensure your employee engagement ideas are effective and worthwhile.

4. Empower Management with your Employee Engagement Programs

Executive leadership and managers play a critical role in employee engagement. According to a study from Gallup, companies that report highly engaged executives also have better levels of employee engagement. If employees see leaders aren’t engaged, it will trickle down and affect nearly everyone else.

Managers also play a pivotal role in employee engagement. The right manager can help a team excel and do better work. The wrong manager can harm engagement and ruin team performance. Choose the right managers that have the best skills and competencies needed for success. Then, continue to train and coach them to reflect the culture your company wants. This will help them grow their employee strengths and promote growth and engagement across the team.

5. Gather Feedback

Building employee engagement shouldn’t be done inside a vacuum. Instead of leaving employee engagement as a responsibility of the executive team, invite employees from different teams to share their thoughts and feedback on an ongoing basis.

Employee engagement committees are an important part of your overall engagement program. They allow people from within your company who normally wouldn’t have a large impact on your strategy to provide feedback. Invite members from different teams so you have a good representation on the committee. Then, have them work through employee engagement concerns that were found in your employee engagement survey. Or, have them plan employee engagement fun activities in office settings. Once you decide on the tasks of the committee, have the team meet on an ongoing basis to share feedback and brainstorm more ideas.

It’s also helpful to gather feedback during exit and stay interviews. While exit interviews are pretty standard these days, successful employee engagement strategies also feature stay interviews. Since engaged employees are more likely to stay with your company, it’s crucial to have conversations with seasoned employees. The goal of these conversations is to build a plan for increased retention and engagement before an employee starts looking for opportunities elsewhere. Exit interviews can also highlight what your company could do better on in the future.

Successful employee engagement best practices never end. Engagement simply won’t increase with an annual survey or employee engagement activities ppt for managers to use. Employee engagement requires constant, honest, and open communication with every executive, manager, and team member. With time and practice, employee engagement will become an integral component of your company’s culture. The best part? Lessonly can help you drive employee engagement through onboarding and ongoing training. Learn more or get a demo today.