How to Increase Employee Engagement in the Workplace: Five Key Steps

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It’s no secret that employee engagement has taken a massive hit since the increase in remote and hybrid work. According to Gallup’s State of the American Workplace report, only 33% of U.S. employees feel engaged with their work. Moreover, disengaged employees are much more likely to leave their company. 

Before we dive into some tools for increasing employee engagement, we must establish exactly what that means. Employee engagement is defined by how strongly an employee feels connected to their work and their employer. This includes the individual’s commitment, motivation, and likeliness to refer a prospective employee or client to the company. To achieve sustainable engagement, companies must address their employees’ intrinsic motivation, which encompasses mastery, autonomy, and purpose. External rewards, like pay and benefits, boost morale but do so in the short term. In this piece, we will focus on increasing employee engagement sustainably. 

1. Live By Your Mission, Vision, and Values 

More and more employees and job seekers today are looking for alignment of their values, beliefs, and attitudes with those of the company. They want to see how the company’s mission and values impact the functions of the business. When they understand how this affects the organization as well as their work, they are more likely to be engaged. Ensure that new hires are onboarded with an understanding of the company’s culture so they understand how they fit into the bigger picture. 

2. Provide Employees With Training and Development Opportunities 

When you take care of your employees, they take care of you. Dedicating the proper time and resources to training will increase employee engagement and boost performance. This is represented in an IBM study where 84% of employees at top-performing companies received the training they needed, as opposed to only 16% at the worst-performing ones. 

It is critical to provide training, performance coaching opportunities, and a clear development path for investing in your employees and their future. A recent Gallup poll shows that the number one reason people leave a company is for career growth opportunities. That is why managers need to maintain an open dialogue with their teams to ensure their career goals are being met. Especially when considering how to increase employee engagement in the workplace and retain top talent, consider creating cross-training programs and interdepartmental development opportunities to promote career growth. Even if this results in a team member moving to another department, celebrate it to demonstrate the company’s commitment to continuous development. 

3. Re-embrace Communication, Collaboration, and Community 

Regardless of the increased solitude that comes with remote or hybrid work, it is not lost that communication, collaboration, and community are key to increasing employee engagement and strengthening company culture. It is crucial that employees continue to feel heard, valued, and empowered. Maintain social engagement to keep a sense of community, relationships, and connection for teams. This can take the form of brainstorming sessions, team-building workshops, cross-departmental meetings, mentorship programs, and coaching opportunities. 

With hybrid work, ensure the playing field is even so that those in the office and those at home are given the same opportunity to speak and share their ideas. Finally, keep a pulse on your team with employee engagement surveys. This anonymous feedback allows employees to feel heard in a safe environment

4. Recognize, Reward, and Listen to Your Employees 

Give verbal affirmation, recognizing employees for projects, milestones, or ideas they have contributed to. Celebrate the wins — big and small — to encourage and motivate others. If the win was inspired by feedback, make that clear as well. Recognition is an effective way to increase employee engagement.

Managers or leaders who actively listen to their team and maintain safe, two-way communication makes them feel valued and trusted. In turn, they trust their manager and that they have their best interest in mind. Finally, ensure employees are well-informed on important decisions, so they see the bigger picture and the way their work impacts the company. 

5. Promote Healthy Work Habits 

Creating a space that promotes healthy work-life harmony, not work-life balance, goes a long way in reducing workplace anxiety and increasing engagement among remote and hybrid teams. Work-life harmony is when work integrates into the rest of someone’s life in a way that promotes happiness both at home and in the office, while work-life balance focuses solely on managing time dedicated to work and other areas of life, which we consider a fairly antiquated approach. 

Workers can do tasks around the home during the day, take breaks as they please, or drive their children to practice in the afternoon. The blurred lines between the home and office have become increasingly difficult to navigate as it is hard for employees to know when to turn their work off. To increase employee engagement, managers and leaders must maintain open communication with their teams to ensure the workload is manageable, and, if it isn’t, to find a solution. 

Whether it be adding more resources to the team, outsourcing some of the work, providing additional training, or simply saying no to requests, this will result in lower burnout rates, higher retention, and better work-life harmony for the team. 

Increase Employee Engagement with Activate 180 

These new working environments are here to stay. If organizations don’t rise to the occasion and embrace this era, others will move ahead and bring top talent with them. Use these strategies to increase engagement in the workplace and remain desirable by both current and future employees, who, in turn, will perform at their best. 

Activate 180 has a proven track record of increasing employee engagement through unique and customizable performance coaching.