Useful Employee Engagement Tools
One of the biggest differences between the companies that made last year’s Top Company Cultures list and those that didn’t was how much employees agreed with the statement: “I have the resources to move ideas through the organization.” While this particular statement refers to the role of resources in innovation, it made us think about the importance of company resources in general.
We’re all about being scrappy and creative around here (really, one of our values is Be creative and resourceful), but we also acknowledge the importance of setting your team up for success. Thus, we compiled a list of employee engagement tools and culture-boosting resources that every company should have in their repertoire.
Company handbook / employee handbook
“I love our company handbook!” said no one ever. And really, that’s fine. Company handbooks are not supposed to be fun, but they are supposed to be useful and accessible, so that should be your priority when crafting your handbook. There are some companies that help you jazz up your handbooks to improve the employee experience. One such company is Stories Incorporated, and check out the interactive handbook they made for Motley Fool: The Fool Rules.
Whether or not you go that route, here are a few quick tips to keep in mind:
(1) Don’t use complicated jargon when it comes to policies — it defeats the purpose if no one can understand them
(2) Provide a digital version of the handbook, but make sure you take these points into consideration before going completely digital
(3) Stay up-to-date on your local, state, and federal laws and update the handbook as needed.
If you need additional guidance, check out Inc.’s resource about what to include in a company handbook.
Employee chat software
Even as a small company located in a single office, Slack has completely revolutionized the way we connect as a team. Regardless of the specific employee chat platform you choose, there are two main benefits I see: (1) it enables more effective and efficient communication about work, and (2) it helps team members get to know each other better.
The first benefit is the obvious one. We are able to share information more easily, answer questions more quickly, and collaborate over topics from the airport, home office, or neighboring desk.
The second benefit is why I think this resource is important for every company. Slack has become an outlet for individuals to share their personality, for people to bond over common (and often random) interests, and for everyone to develop inside jokes together. Here are a few ways CultureIQ uses Slack to connect in new ways:
- We have a word of the day channel — this has helped us learn together and say funny words together.
- We have a channel dedicated to recognizing team members — I’ve learned about a lot of cool projects and accomplishments this way. It helps us live our value of Celebrate and enjoy the journey.
- We have a channel dedicated to sending animal photos — need I say more?
- Our developers have been having a BLAST with slackbot.
Professional development opportunities
I cannot emphasize enough how important this is. And there are plenty of studies to back it. For example, it might come as a surprise that millennials prioritize professional development over financial rewards, such as cash bonuses. According to a report published by PWC, millennials are looking for a company that will allow them to learn, grow, and develop as an individual. They want to enhance their career and balance it with their personal lives. Millennials also are constantly seeking new career possibilities, so it’s beneficial for employers to provide professional development opportunities that makes the worker feel valued and respected.
But enough about millennials. Providing professional development opportunities benefits everyone in your company. Out of all the employee engagement tools, you might want to prioritize this one. Some options to explore as a company are professional development credits, MOOCs, revamping your learning management system, lunch and learns, and mentorship programs…. bringing me to my next point.
Mentors and buddies
Mentorship programs don’t need to be anything fancy. The goal is simply that employees have someone other than their manager to turn to for support, advice, and learning opportunities. Today we’re seeing all sorts of new mentorship formats arise, such as peer mentoring, group mentoring, reverse mentoring, and speed mentoring. Pairing up employees in this way is extremely helpful during an employee’s first days, but there is no reason to stop there. There is value in providing mentorship opportunities (or a buddy system) throughout the employee lifecycle (that’s why reverse mentoring is so great! You could be with the company for 30 years and still have someone mentoring you).