Employee Engagement

HR management guide | 12 Ways to Improve Employee Engagement

Katie Ash

May 7, 2021

Employees today are looking for much more than a 9-to-5 job or a paycheck. They want to be involved in their workplace, empowered by their roles, enthusiastic about the company they work for and feel connected to their co-workers.

In a time of drastic workplace changes, ensuring processes and team culture is maintained is a key focus of many businesses. Team culture and employee engagement go hand in hand.

Team culture defines the shared attitudes and behaviours that are normal and expected within 2 the company. It encompasses the workplace environment, leadership style, how decisions are made and goals are set, and how performance is evaluated. It’s visible in how employees interact with one another and how management leads and interacts with employees.

Employee engagement is the degree to which employees are motivated, passionate and invested in the work they do. When employees are aligned and happy with the company culture they are more loyal to a company and feel a connection to the people they work with. They’re more likely to be involved in the workplace, have more energy and are more efficient in their roles.

Engaged employees have been proven to be 21% more productive, impacting company performance in a time when business stability has never been more important. Companies with high engagement rates reduce both turnover and hiring costs as disengaged employees are a major contributing factor to high employee turnover. A highly engaged workforce will therefore not only make for a happier and healthier working environment, but can also boost your company’s profitability.

Improving engagement amongst team members need not be complex, however it must be prioritised. Work-life balance, wellbeing, connection, and collaboration are all crucial elements for both employee satisfaction and the business success, so must become a key focus for both managers and upper management in all businesses.

Ways to Improve Employee Engagement

>> Define Your Core Values And Make Sure Everyone Knows

Company values refer to a set of beliefs and best practices that are widespread across the company and are used by every employee to shape the company’s culture.

Company values should provide continuous alignment to the mission, purpose, and goals of the company.

Bringing employees into the process of developing company values, discussing how values should be interpreted and applied in business situations, and integrating them into daily processes is an effective way to ensure the values will impact business culture.

When company values are promoted and instilled within the working style of a business, these shared working values promote collaboration and better understanding and cooperation of team members. This results in a more harmonious work environment that in turn impacts retention rates amongst staff. Leaders within the business have an important role in projecting the company’s core values. Reflecting on how they’re listening to and engaging with employees, living the company values themselves and recognising employee performance can all have great impacts on the rest of the team.

From the first interview to the last work day, employees should be reminded that core values form the basis for every decision the company makes.
Harvard Business Review

>> Involve Employees And Make Sure Their Ideas Are Heard

Giving employees a voice is an important component in establishing a workforce that’s happy, productive, and engaged.

Listening to employee ideas can be the key to making your business succeed. Employees involved in the day to day operation of the business can often see better ways of working or identify inefficiencies that are weighing the team down.

Make it easy for everyone in your organisation to contribute their ideas, and value the ideas wherever they come from. Look into digital tools built for this purpose, or create a slack channel or similar specifically for employees to share ideas. All ideas raised should be recorded and responded to, regardless of whether the idea will be implemented. As soon as employees believe they’re not being listened to, they fall silent. Conversely, when employees believe their suggestions can make change within a business, they are more willing to communicate and share ideas and opinions.

To encourage further engagement, allow contributed ideas to be ‘backed-up’ or ‘up-voted’ by other employees who recognise the need for change in the same area. Consider rewarding employees whose ideas are implemented or lead to greater efficiencies in the company. This may be monetary, or benefits based, but could also be as simple as publicly giving credit to and thanking the employee who came up with the idea.

The incentive for all team members to search and contribute new ways for the company to grow will improve engagement and employee morale.

>> Bring Teams Together And Encourage Socialising

Productivity improves by 20-25% in organisations with connected employees.

When coworkers socialise outside of work, it makes working together more enjoyable and keeps co-workers motivated.

Encourage teams to get together for lunches, or evenings outside of work. Within the office, celebrate company and team achievements, festive holidays, and important milestones for your employees (achievements outside of work, birthdays, marriages, babies etc.). This will mobilise employees, encouraging them to get to know each other on a deeper level than they would in everyday work tasks.

These activities can not only lead to stronger working relationships, effective communication, and increased job satisfaction, but also lead to employees developing real friendships with teammates.

Research has repeatedly shown a concrete link between having a friend at work and the amount of effort employees expend in their job.

People with a best friend at work are seven times more likely to be fully engaged and productive, and 54% of employers believe strong work relationships improve company culture.

People spend more waking hours at work than at home, and it’s only natural to want to build connections with team members. Employees want work to feel worthwhile and having trusted confidants and supporters helps foster that feeling. Work friends help to celebrate and commiserate on both personal and professional matters, improving engagement and happiness at work. In the absence of that outlet, work can seem lonely and isolating.

For 9 more ways to improve employee engagement, download our free ebook:

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