Ways to improve employee engagement

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Employee engagement is one of the most popular yet misunderstood organizational topics. It's a key competitive differentiator in the modern business landscape. Astonishingly highly engaged teams perform much better than their counterparts.

If you feel as though you've heard more about employee engagement over the past few years you're not alone. It's a priority for leaders around the world and it's only increasing in popularity. But what is employee engagement? Employee engagement is the emotional commitment an employee has to their work, their team's goals, and to the company's mission. Employee engagement isn't going away anytime soon and for good reasons. Employee engagement has been proven to increase productivity, reduce unwanted turnover, improve customer satisfaction and drive higher profits. It boosts employee wellness and is not just a trend. 

By engaging employees, you're helping them reach their full potential. Companies today cannot ignore the need for employee engagement. Modern workers expect to stay engaged. Now that we have our definition, let's get to the real insights!  

Ways to improve employee engagement levels at your company:


I. Survey the current engagement level: 


To begin, you have to get a sense of the current engagement levels. Trying to improve engagement without benchmarking is like taking a stab in the dark. You will have no idea whether your efforts are working. 
It is important to collect data on employee engagement to understand where your team is on the engagement spectrum. Identify areas for improvement, and plan for the future. If you don't already send out employee engagement surveys you should. Send them out more frequently, and consider regular check-ins to get a real pulse on your team's feelings.


2. Coach leaders: 


Employees naturally look up to leaders, and role models. However, leaders and role models may not know how to best engage with their teams. This is where you come in to equip leaders with the right education, and professional development tools they need. Leaders will be the best advocates for an engaged company culture. For example, as an employee, if your manager is aligned to your company's mission, and vision, you are much more likely to be engaged yourself.


3. Comprehensive Onboarding: 


This point takes us back to the beginning of an employee lifecycle. Don’t just throw new employees to the Sharks! New employee onboarding is a crucial time for them to connect with team members and learn about the ongoing projects and organizational mission. New employees come with a fresh perspective, and could potentially be your biggest work culture advocates. Make sure new hires  have a good time as part of the onboarding program. Be mindful to include best practices like introducing mentors, involving executive leadership, setting expectations, and prioritizing relationship building. It is essential to create a smooth transition from onboarding to a regular working cadence.


4.Prioritize Wellness: 


Wellness isn't just a subsidized gym membership, it should involve mental wellness. Mental wellbeing is often overlooked but is a powerful factor in employee engagement. Our basic needs i.e. rest, nutrition, stability, psychological safety need to be met before we can even think about higher-level needs like being engaged at work.
Think about your team members, do they seem healthy and balanced? Or are they stressed about things you have control over? Such as their commute time or an upcoming big project. Your next step might be to address these factors.


5. Focus on Feedback: 


This point is an alliterative focus on feedback. The organization cannot have engagement without feedback. It can be hard to accept but respecting your employees enough to listen to their constructive criticism and acting on that makes all the difference. Think back to a concern an employee brought up, and if it isn't something that can be changed, then it's important to share the reasons with your team. This shows the team that you're listening, even if you cannot address the concern immediately. On the flip side, you should also be giving feedback in one on one meetings. This is your chance to reinforce behaviors that embody your company values.


6. Recognition at Work:


When was the last time you were recognized at work? We're talking about open acknowledgment and expressed appreciation for your contributions. The most powerful factor that influences employee engagement is recognition. Highly engaged organizations are far more likely to recognize employees for a job well done. Increase employee recognition, and you're likely to increase employee engagement as well.

7.Innovation: 


When you work to create a culture that celebrates experimentation and accepts failure it is continuously encouraging your employees to think bigger and better. If you are worried to give your employees opportunities to build their skills, in fear that they'll take those new skills elsewhere- don’t be! Employees are more likely to leave if they feel stifled and stagnant. When employees are focused on positive growth opportunities in their current role, they're more likely to stay engaged and less likely to look for new jobs.

 8. Transparency: 


Transparency is something that companies often overlook. As a manager, if you keep information under wraps, it will backfire. Trust cannot be built with secrets and poor communication. A transparent work environment fosters trust. This in turn leads to a sense of belonging, and stability. It also gives employees the necessary context to understand how their role connects with the wider team and stakeholders.

 9. A sense of purpose:


This final point ties to the core of employee engagement, and it involves their sense of purpose. While you can't give an employee a sense of purpose you can help them discover it for themselves. Show employees the positive effects their work has on their colleagues, and the company. Improving employee engagement at your company is not an easy task but the benefits are worth it. 
With this advice in mind, think about engagement at your organization, when you challenge the status quo you can improve employee engagement for your team.