Laura Iñiguez, Content Manager at Hirebook
Laura is a content and social media strategist with deep experience in Employee Engagement, People Management, and Culture. She works with Hirebook to bring their innovative best practices to life through content, videos, and webinars seen by thousands around the globe.
Pub: December 22 2020
. Upd: October 17 2021
Employee Engagement has increasingly become one of the most important aspects to measure and foster in a company. As the business world evolves it focuses more and more on employee wellbeing.
It’s no secret that happy employees are high performers and loyal employees, but achieving high employee engagement levels is not as easy as we’d want it to be, although it pays off. We live in a world where companies search and compete to obtain and retain the best talent out there, and employees often pick an employer that offers a better set of benefits, and those benefits no longer apply to specifically monetary ones.
Managers tend to think that employee engagement is linked to a higher paycheck, but that’s not entirely true. Sure, a good salary is definitely an important factor and it may assure you a high performer, but the reality is that performance and engagement are not linked, you can have an employee doing outstanding work but they may be unhappy or unfulfilled, ergo not an engaged employee.
According to Gallup:
The art of employee retention and sustaining valuable employees is definitely worth learning, which is why we want to provide you with our employee engagement best practice guide:
1. Communicate Often and Openly
It doesn’t matter if your company is big or small, communication should always be on top of your plate, although the ways of communicating should be different according to the size of the company.
Obviously, for smaller companies or startups, communication often happens with no effort, but as companies grow, they lose this and employees tend to disengage if they no longer keep track of how the company is evolving, after all, employees at startups are usually the ones that help the company reach higher levels, so it’s obvious they want to know how the company’s doing. Engaged employees care for their company, but the company should first care for them to develop this engagement. If managers share with their teams how some processes are held, how decisions are made and the news surrounding the company, employees will develop a sense of “being part of the family” instead of just being a working piece of the company.
You can pick the most efficient way to communicate, either just share with your managers and let them pass the message on, or have your Communication or HR department do the sharing via email announcements.
It’s no secret that people love to be recognized for their efforts and success. And you don’t have to wait until your next one-on-one or performance review to let your team know if they’re doing a good job or not.
In this day and age, recognition has proven to be a much-needed resource to drive motivation amongst employees. Employees that feel recognized often strive to make their managers proud. And we don’t mean you should clap every move your team makes, but keep your eyes and mind open for when there’s an action or task worth recognizing on the spot. You can then use your next one-on-one to be more specific and thorough about their performance, their highs, and also their areas for improvement.
Also, don’t always just keep the recognition between you and the receiver, sometimes if the accomplishment is worthy, you can go the extra mile and publicly congratulate someone by sending a massive email or sharing on the appropriate Slack channel. Who doesn’t like a little applause and appreciation? Engagement being served at its best!
3. Invest in Wellbeing
To improve employee engagement you must consider implementing wellbeing programs, such as mental health assistance or healthy exercise and eating are great ways to demonstrate to your employees that you care about them and to avoid burnout.
Before just randomly picking wellbeing programs, take a look at your staff and the culture you’ve created. Are you more focused on hours compliance? Do your employees usually work extra hours? Is the overall environment happy and motivated or more stressed out?
Every office and every team deals with stress now and then, but there’s a difference between stress caused by workload or difficulty of tasks and stress caused by the environment they experience at the workplace. If your employees are more stressed because of the work itself, maybe search for ways to help them relax their minds and cool down. If the cause of stress is the environment, then maybe there’s something you need to fix regarding the culture of the company, like fixating more on performance than the hours worked by your employees.
In the end, when you implement activities and programs focused on their wellbeing, sustaining valuable employees gets easier as they feel cared for and will work hard to “repay” that caring.
4. Development Programs
This is an employee engagement strategy and best practice worth investing in. Since increasing employee engagement is not only about motivating people into loving the company they work at but caring about their professional development. Our employees or prospects are often looking for ways to advance in their careers. Provide them with tools, resources, and complete skill development training as part of your successful employee engagement programs. An employee constantly learning and growing will definitely develop a sense of engagement towards the company and, better yet, apply their knowledge towards their work.
Ask your employees what they’d like to learn, make them part of the decision-making process since they’ll be the ones doing the learning. Implement a mentorship program or even programs where people can learn what people in other departments do, not only will they take a look into processes they’ve never thought of being involved in before, but they’ll also develop a new sense of respect towards every position in the company. Take a look at our article “Employee Development Methods” to learn more about development programs.
5. Ask for Opinions and Employee Feedback
Sometimes we may see our employees happy as a clam, but we won’t really know until we ask them and ask for their employee feedback. If you’re implementing employee engagement best practices, it’s only wise to track if they’re working or not. Occasionally conduct employee engagement surveys along the company to see how your team is feeling and ask them if there’s something else they’d like to see around the company. These polls are a great way to see how the engagement efforts are developing and to notice if there’s a certain area that needs immediate attention.
Make sure to always ask for employee feedback and suggestions, your employees notice what goes wrong from their end, if you’re already looking for ways of sustaining them, it’s fair to really listen to their employee feedback.
6. Lead by Example
As a manager or anyone in a leadership role, the best way to engage your employees is to lead by example. No one likes a leader telling people how to do things or how to behave while misbehaving because they’re in a position with more “power”. Power doesn’t give anyone permission to not abide by the rules and policies of a company, and someone performing these types of conduct will only create friction and unpleasant consequences among their employees.
Leading by example is part of a successful employee performance management strategy and will always be the best way to show your team how to behave and how to achieve key business outcomes in the best way possible. This will make them look up to you and care for the company the same way you do.
As you can see, employee engagement initiatives are not as complicated as you thought, there’s a lot that can be accomplished with just a little change in your everyday practices. We hope this employee engagement best practice guide comes in handy to help you sustain your most valuable employees and engage them like never before!
Photo credit - drobotdean