Everyday Employee Engagement Ideas
According to Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends 2016 report, 85% of executives believe employee engagement is very important — but only 46% of companies reported that they’re prepared to tackle the engagement challenge. Why the gap? Boosting employee engagement can be perceived as a time, resource, and budget black hole. Now, long-term engagement initiatives can certainly be worth the investment if approached strategically. But you can also integrate some smaller, simpler ways to boost your team’s engagement in their day-to-day, to big effect: top teams that address engagement needs in their everyday work outperform teams by 20% in sales and 10% in customer engagement. In the end, when thinking on how to engage employees, aim to create a workplace that:
- Has clear work expectations
- Aligns employees with the business’ mission and values
- Provides employee development opportunities
- Promotes positive working relationships
With these four objectives in mind, we’ve outlined seven employee engagement ideas that can easily lay the framework for an engaged, motivated, happy team.
Always Connect Back to the ‘Why’
A strong company mission and set of values is common among high-performing organizations. Your mission explains your purpose and goals, it defines your roadmap at the highest level. And employees — especially Millennials, who make up over a third of the U.S. workforce — increasingly want a workplace whose mission they can get behind, rather than clocking in and clocking out each day. So remember to leverage your organization’s mission when introducing new projects, speaking to new leadership decisions, or setting new goals. How? Establish the team practice to reiterate the ‘why’: why are we tackling this project?It’s easy to assume alignment on all projects, decisions, and goals. But confirming alignment happens less often. By explaining ‘why’ to your team, you’re involving them in the company’s mission and asking for their alignment.
Introduce Hot Desking
Silos at work can happen all too easily, especially when employees work from their desks all day. So set the standard that, for an hour or two each week, each team member will go and sit with another team. Hot desking — or, swapping seats at work — is an easy way to break up silos and boost engagement. Your employees will gain knowledge of other teams’ objectives, connect with others, and add variety to their work week. Plus, doing so for an hour or two week won’t feel like a huge drain on their time. Bonus points if you include yourself in the hot desking initiative. By also sitting among new teams each week, you’re setting the example that cross-collaboration and communication is important to you.
Hold Team Town Halls
Consider adding team town halls into your meeting rotation. The meetings will provide your team with the opportunity to directly and openly communicate with you. They’ll also build a more positive relationship with you, as their leader, and feel more connected to the business’ mission. If your organization already holds a company-wide town hall, mirror that format with your team. If not, integrate agenda items like:
- Reviewing past and future business goals
- Sharing your current focuses
- Bringing in other leaders at your company for Q&As
- Conducting Q&As on top-of-mind topics
- Sharing presentations that your team wouldn’t otherwise see
- Empowering employees to give presentations their peers wouldn’t otherwise see
- Brainstorming on high-level initiatives you’re working through
Better Support Systems for Managers
Your team’s managers are the front-line leaders primarily responsible for employee engagement levels. In fact, according to Gallup, front-line managers can account for up to 70% of variance in engagement. Provide those managers with support systems, so they’re equipped to coach their teams and boost engagement. These support systems can take a few forms:Coaching Sessions With HR — Set up confidential coaching opportunities for your managers to talk through their challenges, opportunities, and questions around leading their teams. Company-Sponsored Lunches — Provide monthly lunches on the company’s dime for all managers on your team. You’ll give them the opportunity to connect with one another and swap learnings and tips. Accountability Partners — Match your managers with others across your company, to act as accountability partners for one another. They’ll earn a sounding board with a new perspective.
Promote An Open Door Policy — Then Hold Yourself To It
“Feedback is the breakfast of champions,” as author and management expert Ken Blanchard so succinctly states.
It’s easy to say you welcome feedback. It’s harder to actually open yourself up to feedback — to listen without defensiveness, to alter your behavior accordingly, to follow up afterwards. But in doing so, your employees will feel that their voice matters and they play a role in shaping their team’s dynamic.
Establish an open door policy for your team, based on what works best for you. Perhaps you’ll conduct quarterly skip-level 1:1s, with the employee driving the agenda. Perhaps you’ll offer office hours each week to walk through issues with employees. However you choose to open your doors to your team, welcome their feedback sincerely.
A simple way to boost camaraderie among your team is through tradition. Your employees spend the majority of their days together at work. Establishing traditions, however small, will foster relationships and loyalty among your team. Go wherever your budget and your preference for fun guides you. Cupcakes for work anniversaries. Desk plants for new hires. Team lunch for promotions. These traditions will give employees something to look forward to when a milestone hits. And they’ll require little-to-no planning on your end to implement.
Send ‘Props’ Emails
Employees engage when they feel valued. In fact, 93% of employees who feel valued by their employer are motivated to do their very best — only 33% of employees who don’t feel valued are similarly motivated. And one of the easiest ways to show employees you value them and their work? Recognize and communicate their wins. When big projects launch, a benchmark is surpassed, a goal is exceeded: send a ‘props’ email to the leadership team and the employees who drove the win forward. Knowing their hard work has been recognized by their leadership team will make employees doubly proud.
How does your company boost workplace engagement? Share your employee engagement ideas with us at @CultureIQ.