4 Employee Engagement Strategies That Actually Work
You already know that employee engagement is essential to productivity, retention and profitability. You’ve made a resolution to boost engagement in 2020, but you may not know where to start.
After all, there are many factors that impact your workforce, including the 12 elements of employee engagement we shared in a previous post. Fortunately, we have an action plan for you.
Here are four employee engagement strategies Gallup recommends in Building A High-Development Culture Through Your Employee Engagement Strategy.
4 Evidence-Based Employee Engagement Strategies
To develop these employee engagement strategies, Gallup studied more than 1.8 million employees at 230 organizations, with locations in 73 countries. Researchers found that those organizations with the most employees who scored in the top quarter of engagement had many positive attributes, including 24-59% less turnover, 20% higher sales and 21% higher productivity. Based on this extensive study of what these successful companies do differently, Gallup recommends these four strategies:
1. Develop Strategic Alignment With The C-Suite
Handing off employee engagement to your HR department isn’t a strategy at all. The most effective employee engagement strategies start with a commitment from the CEO and board. This group should agree on the purpose and brand for the organization and communicate it to the entire workforce. Once you have that established, determine what core values are most important to helping you accomplish that purpose and what observable behaviors align with those core values.
The executive teams need to model those behaviors and hold managers and employees accountable to doing the same.
2. Help Your Managers Become Better Coaches
Gallup’s research shows that 70% of the differences between teams with high employee engagement and less engaged teams have to do with the manager’s role.
Your managers are responsible for many of the factors that impact engagement, including setting clear expectations and providing feedback.
In fact, research shows employees who receive daily feedback from their manager are three times more likely to be engaged than those who only receive feedback once a year.
That’s why equipping your managers to become better coaches is one of the most important things you can to improve employee engagement. The truth is that even your best employees aren’t always prepared to be strong managers. They need training, support and feedback just as much as your employees do.
3. Prioritize Professional Development
According to Gallup, the ultimate goal of employee engagement is the growth and development of the individual. That’s worth repeating. While employee engagement is a key factor in the success of your company, it starts with a sincere commitment to each person.
The most successful organizations invest in professional development because they know employees who feel fulfilled at work stay three years longer on average than those who don’t.
4. Practice Company-wide Communication
Employee engagement strategies won’t be effective if no one knows about them. Your organization’s mission and core values need to be continually reinforced at every level. Every employee should be well aware of how the work they’re doing contributes to the organization’s larger objectives. They should also be aware of professional development opportunities, volunteer activities and company events where they can connect with others outside of the office.
As your organization grows, it can become more challenging to manage internal communications. But this is also when it’s most critical. When employees don’t have a reliable way to receive information about the state of the company, silence can lead to speculation. This can cause employees to become disengaged, which grows into contagious discontentment.
That’s why it’s so important to have a proactive internal communication strategy that uses channels all employees can easily access. Because employees are already overloaded with emails, more organizations are using app-based communications— like the Hummingbird employee experience app.
The app makes it easy to share important announcements, company events or cafeteria menus. Employees also have access to the people, places and resources they need at their fingertips. They can find a colleague, reserve a room or request service in a particular area.
A Final Word On Employee Engagement
Most leaders know they need to be proactive about engaging employees. Yet so many employee engagement strategies fail because they aren’t consistently applied and reinforced throughout the entire organization. Leaders can also overcomplicate the matter using employee engagement metrics that are tied too much to the overall performance of the organization. Or they aim to elevate engagement by a certain percentage point and abandon employee engagement initiatives once that goal has been met.
Although these four employee engagement strategies are used in many of the world’s most successful organizations, it’s worth remembering that employee engagement isn’t a single strategy or a one-time initiative. It’s an ongoing philosophy. At the end of the day, it’s about understanding what employees need to feel fulfilled and inspiring them to do their best for the good of your organization.