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Advice for Businesses

6 Ways to Increase Employee Engagement

  • 01/03/2021
  • Aisha Prince
  • 5 mins read

Keeping your employees engaged, enthusiastic and productive at work is no easy feat. As your organisation grows and changes, you’ll find that employee engagement changes too.

Alongside the impact of external forces such as the global pandemic, there are also differences in the way that each individual is motivated by their work. This means that it’s important to continually develop your employee engagement strategies to avoid problems with talent retention later down the line.

An engaged workforce means having a workforce that feel empowered and genuinely interested in putting extra effort into their work. Companies with a more engaged workforce outperform low-engagement companies by 202% and increase profitability by 21%. Low employee engagement increases staff turnover, which in turn decreases staff engagement as current employees overwork themselves to cover for lost employees.

There are many ways to increase employee engagement in your organisation. This in turn will develop talent and grow your team into high performers while also improving your retention rates.

Let’s look at 6 things you can do to increase employee engagement today:

1. Team engagement vs individual engagement

When talking about engagement, it’s tempting to only focus on the engagement levels of the team by using team-based SMART goals and sending employees on team-building exercises.

While it’s important to improve team engagement, it’s essential to understand the needs of individuals first and foremost. Studies show that where there is high individual engagement, there is high team engagement. 

You can then look at how these individuals fit together to make an effective team. Are everyone’s voices being heard equally? This is crucial when thinking about inclusivity as well.

Employees who are part of a team are 2 times more likely to be engaged, as it gives them a deeper sense of purpose, social interaction with other employees and a shared goal. Bear this in mind when thinking of team structures – are there places you can improve individual employee engagement which will then positively impact a wider team?

2. Mentoring

Mentoring is where a more experienced individual shares their knowledge with someone who has the desire to learn. This could be based on people skills such as building confidence or improving communication or technical skills such as learning a new technology or developing computer skills.

Compared to other forms of learning, mentoring connects employees with other employees, allowing them to build relationships across teams. This is especially important for hybrid and remote teams that may feel isolated, contributing to a decrease in mood and therefore engagement.

Mentoring is valuable for building engagement as it increases interactions across teams and departments, allowing each group to learn more about each other and building a tighter, more empathetic community. This breaks down siloes and increases a sense of belonging at work.

Mentoring improves the engagement of both mentors and mentees, as 87% of both mentors and mentees feel empowered by their mentoring relationship. The majority of those with mentors also go on to become mentors themselves, proving the high levels of engagement mentoring has compared with other employee development methods.

It’s also a fantastic way of showing your commitment to developing your people. We know that many people cite opportunities to learn and develop as top reasons to stay in an organisation. If you’re looking to improve employee engagement, focus on mentoring programs within your organisation to build connections.

3. Feedback for management

Part of building workplace engagement is engaging with employees too. This means creating an open space for dialogue that shows them that you value their opinion and contributions.

If you’re finding it hard to get feedback from employees, it might be because they feel unheard. It’s important to build a culture of psychological safety in the workplace. This means a workplace where everyone feels safe to share ideas and opinions without fearing negative consequences. Not only collecting feedback but acting on it makes employees feel heard and therefore more engaged in every part of the workplace, including workplace culture.

Create space for anonymous and non-anonymous feedback, and find ways to act on it. Similarly make sure you take onboard positive feedback, by continuing with the aspects of the workplace culture employees enjoy and embrace!

4. Continuous feedback from management

When it comes to feedback, many workplaces choose to offer a formal review every six months. These reviews can be nerve-wracking for employees, as they await a big update on performance or salary. That’s why it’s important to factor continuous feedback opportunities into your 1:1’s and weekly team meetings. This should include both praise and constructive criticism.

By doing this, you normalise feedback so people become more comfortable with it. When feedback becomes a part of company culture rather than a 6 monthly meeting, it becomes far less daunting. It allows employees to know where they stand at any moment, so they don’t feel that they’re moving in the dark. It also makes management seem more accessible, letting them know that it’s okay to ask questions if they need extra help. Continuous feedback is also more accurate, as people feel comfortable raising things as and when they happen, rather than waiting until a 1:1 or review meeting.

Remember that feedback isn’t just about searching for the negative, it’s about reinforcing good practices too.

5. Invest in Employee Wellbeing

One theme that links each of these topics to engagement is employee wellbeing. Creating an environment where employees are able to connect, communicate, be heard and feel part of a team is an important aspect of engagement as an employee. With 69% of UK adults worrying about the impact of the pandemic and economic uncertainty, it’s become increasingly important to prioritise the wellbeing of employees.

Here are a few examples of how some global companies have prioritised employee wellbeing:

  • Google –  Google has put in place a wellbeing plan that emphasises employees being able to spend time with their families, providing on-site gyms and offering healthy, nutritious meals. Other companies that can’t offer onsite gyms tend to offer gym memberships and virtual fitness memberships instead.
  • Expedia –  Described as “the best place to work” in 2016 by Glassdoor, offers a wellness allowance of up to £1,200, allowing employees to choose how to prioritise their wellbeing needs.
  • Publicis Group –  Through their ‘Publicis Plug-in’ programmes, The Publicis Group put together virtual employee sessions such as coffee mornings, meditation and language classes. Allowing employees to connect with each other and reducing isolation.

For a more detailed read on this topic, check out Employee Wellbeing Areas to Focus On

6. Celebrate success

Finally, avoid employees feeling under-appreciated at work by celebrating their success and showing them how valued they are.

Did you know that 66% of employees would leave their job due to under-appreciation? This jumps up to 76% for millennials and younger generations, as people value job satisfaction above all.

Celebrating success can be done through:

  • Positive Feedback – As we mentioned earlier, positive feedback not only helps to reinforce good habits but simply makes employees feel good. When people feel good at work, they are much more likely to commit to staying.
  • Time Off –  Rewarding hard work with surprise breaks and days off can help employees feel appreciated. It contributes to their overall well-being allowing them to take a well-earned rest.
  • Employee Rewards – From treats to lunches and vouchers to bonuses, one way to show and celebrate employee success is through rewards. They work as a reminder that your company invests in the success of the individual.

Employee engagement is a hot topic for any organisation trying to mitigate employee talent churn and increase productivity. As you can see, there are many ways that you can act to improve both individual and team engagement. The key is to be consistent. Employee engagement is cultivated over time and may require several different methods to work across your diverse organisation.

Want to find out more about how mentoring can improve employee engagement? Talk to the Guider team today