Companies of all sizes can benefit from having engaged employees. What is employee engagement? Simply put, it’s the process of creating an organization full of happy and productive workers.
Engaged employees have a positive, can-do spirit that drives them to work hard for the betterment of the company. Engaged employees are happy to come to work, take on tasks with gusto and genuinely want the company to excel. They feel connected to the work they do and the companies where they’re employed. While it might seem fairly easy to create a company culture that fosters this commitment, research suggests only 33% of employees are engaged.
Why is engagement so important? For starters, companies with highly engaged workforces outperform their peers by 147% in earnings each year. Engaged employees also boost productivity, stay with the company longer, provide better customer service and help create a company culture that others want to be part of.
To help companies achieve these results, here are some tips on how to engage employees:
Recognize employee value
Empower employees to do what they do best every day
Each employee needs to know that their job is important and contributes to the company’s mission. How do you demonstrate this? Show each employee how their job impacts the company. Show the marketing team how many leads were brought in as a result of their efforts, and how positive reviews from consumers were a result from great customer service. Find a way to express to employees what their hard work means to the company.
In addition, when you’re wondering how to engage employees, another way to recognize the value of an employee is to offer a competitive salary and benefits package. When employees feel as though you respect their work and value their time, they’re more likely to be engaged.
Recognition: Give positive and constructive feedback more regularly
Do you recognize employees when they do a great job? Research shows employees who don’t receive regular praise or recognition for their good work are twice as likely to say they’ll quit in the next year.
Recognition doesn’t have to be a big deal. Even small gestures can go a long way. Here are a few ideas:
- Giving small gift cards
- Planning a free lunch with the boss
- Recognizing employees during a morning meeting
- Letting employees leave early on Friday
- Giving additional vacation hours
- Taking employees on an outing (such as playing golf or having a BBQ in the park)
- Giving tickets to a local sporting event
Focus on employee development
Encourage a healthy work-life balance
Cared-for employees are more likely to advocate for their employers and give them the benefit of the doubt. How can employers care about their employees? When they need some time off, make it easier for them to do this. Kids get sick, teeth need cleaning, schools close for bad weather, grandparents need help — there are many reasons employees might need to step away from work. It happens to everyone, even CEOs. It helps to be understanding.
Supervisors should also take an interest in their employees. Learn a little about their goals and their pet peeves, for example. Treating each employee like a human who has a life outside of work can go a long way when you need the team to put in overtime or weather a rough patch.
Provide employees opportunities to grow and learn
Not all employees want to stay in the same job forever. Learning new skills, training and joining new projects helps break up the uniformity of their work routine.
Many employees are hungry to learn, but they may need their employers’ support. To help, encourage employees to attend seminars, promote from within and teach employees news skills on a regular basis.
During an annual review, talk with each employee about their goals. What do they want to learn? What position do they have their eye on? Armed with this information, management can help each employee grow and learn. You can also provide tailored opportunities that help employees work towards those goals.
Encourage healthy employee relationships
Foster healthy relationships and a healthy work environment through mutual trust and respect
Create a culture that fosters trust and respect. This philosophy starts from the top down. Upper management shouldn’t just show respect to their peers but to every employee in the office. When upper management leads by example, others follow.
You might also consider teaming up employees in a mentoring program. Peer-to-peer mentoring can make younger employees feel more confident and less micromanaged. Mentoring gives every employee, no matter their age, a comfortable environment in which to share concerns and get pointers.
Cultivate a place where employees can communicate and share their opinions
A strong communication strategy starts at the top. Leadership must be transparent with its employees. If the company is experiencing record profits, employees should know that. If the company is planning layoffs, employees should know that, too, so they can start planning.
In addition to transparent leadership, supervisors can employ an “open door policy” that gives employees a chance to speak freely. Arranging regular “check-ups” could work as well. Employees could come in every other month to talk about their feelings and their interpretation of the state of affairs in the workplace.
Many companies are now focusing on how to engage employees because the benefits are so great. However, creating engaged employees requires work. The company as a whole can adopt an engaged mentality in which every single member of the organization buys in. The tips above provide a good starting point for those wondering how to engage employees.
There are always more ways to improve your workplace. Learn more about how your company can work on attracting and retaining good employees.
 “State of the American Workplace.” Gallup.com
 “The Engaged Workplace.” Gallup.com
 “5 Reasons Why Employee Engagement is Important,” Jostle.
 “State of the American Workplace.” Gallup.com
 Creating Cultures That Engage and Retain Millennials and Generation Z,” DaleCarnegie.com. 2018.