Employee engagement is an important concept in corporate culture, content, and literature. An engaged workforce is an ideal all businesses aspire to. There is good evidence for doing so, too, since engaged employees benefit the organization in many ways.

The most widely cited benefit is decreased turnover and attrition. In addition, high engagement levels increase company productivity, drive growth, promote staff health and safety, and improve customer satisfaction.

Thus, implementing employee engagement strategies as part of company policy is a guaranteed boost to development. Continue reading to find out about the best employee engagement ideas experts suggest.

Understanding Employee Engagement

Employee engagement is the extent of mental and emotional connection, dedication, and enthusiasm an individual feels in their job. It includes the commitment, loyalty, and enthusiastic effort employees devote to their workplace endeavors.

Engaged employees are proactive and competent, aligning their output to match company goals and values. Yet, building engagement seems to be a challenge for firms worldwide. According to Gallup, a whopping 85% of employees still do not feel engaged or are actively disengaged from their jobs. While employees that are not engaged meet performance expectations, active disengagement is detrimental on all fronts. A disengaged employee dampens productivity, disrupts the working environment for others, and may personally be dealing with stressful conditions like burnout.

A poor person-environment fit may contribute to active disengagement, but the latter is more often a sign to re-evaluate company policy. It is no surprise then that the most successful global businesses continually develop unique employee engagement ideas.

For instance, Google’s 80-20 policy is a widely stated example of a creative employee engagement idea. Under this rule, employees were allowed to spend 80% of their work time on professional projects and 20% on innovative activities of personal interest. While Google rolled this policy back, the underlying willingness to experiment with engagement strategies is a valuable takeaway.

Employee Engagement Ideas

Employee engagement is a very well researched area within human resource management. 4 data-backed strategies you can employ to increase engagement are:

1. Setting Clear Expectations

Employees need to have clarity about what their performance should look like. Leaving them in the dark causes stress and leads to poor performance. However, only an estimated 50% of managers know what they want from employees and communicate it to them.

Straightforward instructions and requirements help employees work towards targets with confidence and direction. Additionally, if they mess up, they have a framework to fall back on to adjust for the future.

Thus, clear expectations create the emotional and psychological conditions for engagement, enhancing employees’ enthusiasm and involvement in their work.

2. Continued learning and development

Continued learning involves professional and personal skill development. A company that invests in its employees’ learning and development tacitly changes the relationship from purely business-like to one where the employee is valued as an individual.

Learning opportunities improve engagement because they are a desirable workplace condition for modern employees, as seen in man studies by industry experts. For example:

  • 94% of employees report that they would extend their tenure at companies that invest in career development opportunities (LinkedIn 2018 Workplace Learning Report)
  • 83% of employees feel happy working for companies that invest in learning (Ceridian 2018-19 Pulse of Talent Learning Report

Furthermore, continued learning and development enhance engagement by creating healthy challenges for employees and preventing plateaus.

Another perk of providing learning and development opportunities is that corporate training is inherently engaging, especially virtually. E-learning professionals know that capturing a learner’s attention and motivation is the most critical variable for learning outcomes. A good e-learning course incorporates various employee engagement ideas for maximum efficiency. By adding interactivity to the learning process, web-based training can provide pockets of high engagement for employees in their work routines.

3. Consistent feedback and communication loops

Here, feedback is bi-directional. Understanding employees’ experience at work is just as necessary as routine discussions about their own performance and professional goals.

In Qualtrics’ 2020 Employee Experience Trends report, India, Thailand, and Hong Kong had the highest levels of employee engagement worldwide. The study explained that the reason behind this was the frequent feedback collected from employees in these countries. Furthermore, Qualtrics also discovered that engagement was highest at 83% in companies that received feedback well and acted upon it.

Thus, to keep employees engaged, businesses must value their inputs and facilitate changes to accommodate them. As the target group, they might have innovative employee engagement ideas which a company could adopt.

On the flip side, employees also value recognition, individualized communication, and constructive critique.

Recognition varies in scale, depending on the task. However, employees should always receive credit where credit’s due. This acknowledgment could range from simple verbal or written praise to promotions and pay raises.

Individualized communication may not always be possible or necessary. Simple things like using the employee’s name in emails instead of a generic address can add a personal touch. Some other ways to create personalized communication loops are:

  • Setting up distraction-free one-on-one meetings
  • Working with employees on more personal skill development goals
  • Handing out surveys and open-ended questionnaires when detailed check-ins are not required or feasible

Lastly, constructive criticism delivered gently with goodwill can help foster trust and increase an employee’s job-related self-efficacy.

Open and fluid communication, thus, enhances employees’ identification with their organization, driving engagement in return.

4. A good balance between support and demands

Organizational support is an essential condition for good employee performance. At the same time, demands are also healthy, as discussed in the first point.

However, support and demands quickly become a double-edged sword without proper regulation.

According to Warr (1994), extremely high work engagement leads to employee burnout. Some scholars even consider burnout to be the opposite end of the engagement spectrum (Maslach et al., 2001).

Hence, organizations need to balance the level of engagement they generate for their employees. To do so, they need to establish a reasonable level of demands that creates optimal engagement but prevents it in excess. Usually, adjusting organizational resources to match demands does the trick. Too many resources in comparison to demands lead to low engagement, whereas a lack of resources causes burnout. Simply put, the available resources should support employees enough to eliminate stress and activate constructive problem-solving.

Conclusion

Engagement is a core aspect of a retention strategy. Even though the evidence clearly lays down its benefits, businesses still struggle to engage significant sections of their human capital. The best way to enhance engagement is to adopt an employee-centered approach and provide adequate organizational support. Most globally successful businesses have cracked the code to an engaged workforce, and companies struggling with it can always adopt employee engagement ideas from them.

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Employee Engagement Ideas

Employee Engagement Ideas

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are some things that can be done to enhance employee engagement?

  • Setting clear expectations
  • Continued learning and development
  • Consistent feedback and communication loops
  • A good balance between supports and demands

What are some staff engagement activities?

Some examples of staff engagement activities are:

  • E-learning courses
  • One-on-one meetings
  • Personalized communication
  • Rewards and recognition
  • Creating optimal challenges

How do you drive employee engagement?

Clear expectations, continued learning and development, feedback and communication, and balanced supports and demands are some drivers of employee engagement.

What is employee engagement?

Employee engagement is the extent of mental and emotional connection, dedication, and enthusiasm an individual feels in their job. It includes the commitment, loyalty, and enthusiastic effort employees devote to their workplace endeavors.

References

Warr, P. A. (1994). Conceptual framework for the study of work and mental health. Work & Stress (8). 84-97.

Maslach, C., Schaufeli, W.B., & Leiter, M.P. (2001). Job burnout. Review of Psychology (52). 397-422.

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