The term employee engagement is most accurately defined as a workplace environment in which those under your employment feel committed to their role and the wider company. They identify with the values and goals of your company and show up each day because they feel invested in the work that they do, not solely because they’re waiting for their paycheck at the end of the month.
It’s indisputable that a company with workers of this mindset is more likely to succeed, so it's important to cultivate a working environment that encourages your employees to feel motivated and engaged.
The importance of employee engagement
Before we go deep into some of the most effective strategies that you can use to improve employee engagement, let’s take a brief look at why it’s so important in the first place. Here are a few elements that emphasize the importance of employee engagement:
Productivity is one of those buzzwords that you’ll often find in the headlines of most business articles due to the fact that it’s both very desirable and difficult to attain. However, in this case, the hype is justified since employee engagement can boost productivity quite significantly.
Employees who feel invested in the work they do will be more productive than their non-engaged peers since they feel like the tasks that they’re doing amount to something — their passion keeps them going even when they’re running on empty.
Beyond employee satisfaction, customer satisfaction will also see improvements as those on your team feel more engaged with their work. The passion that these engaged employees embody is contagious, and will soon have your customers infected with brand enthusiasm.
Employees with high engagement are also more familiar with the impact that your company has on the world and will thus be better able to communicate this key information to potential prospects as well as existing customers.
One of the largest risks to the survival of a business is poor retention rates. Some say that employees transferring over to a new company once they become better at their job is a natural part of the recruitment cycle. Retention is therefore a valid concern for many businesses, especially those that are just starting up.
However, if your employees feel invested in the company then they’re more likely to stick around even when they acquire the skills and experience needed to facilitate their exit.
How to engage and motivate your staff
If you want to improve employee engagement in your company then there are a few tried and tested methods that you can rely on:
Team building activities
Team building activities are a great way to improve employee engagement. You don’t have to go crazy with your execution, even Friday drinks at your local pub or monthly lunchtime barbecues can be enough to establish a sense of community.
With that being said, don’t be afraid to get creative with your team building activities. Human beings weren’t made to stay inside an office all year, so giving employees some time with the great outdoors could boost their morale and engagement for weeks to come.
Whether it’s a game of rounders, an escape room, rock climbing, or participating in one of the many nonprofit runs that take place throughout the year, these activities outside the office will not only improve employee engagement but also foster stronger working relationships.
Rewards and recognition are two key motivators when it comes to our work. Offering monthly incentives for top performers can encourage your employees to do their best with every project.
Whether it’s a short period of paid leave or free dinner at a nice restaurant, these rewards will give employees something to work towards. You could even offer year-end rewards of greater value such as a cruise or resort vouchers.
Such rewards play a big part in motivating employees, but sometimes the recognition that they get when winning these rewards is just as important in keeping employees driven as the tangible incentive up for grabs.
Unsurprisingly, providing your staff with refreshments such as free fruit and beverages can be a low-cost way to improve employee engagement within your company, especially if your staff often work later or come in earlier than their contracted hours. This can be a small way to make the office feel more homely and welcoming to staff.
Such refreshments can also be tax-deductible if you meet some requirements, so it's a great way of showing your employees that you're invested in their health and well-being.
Boosting the ever-important level of employee engagement can actually be rather simple if you get creative and use some of the strategies outlined in this article. You'll notice happier staff, higher levels of productivity and better retention rates, too.
About the Author
Cassy Aite is a life-long entrepreneur and the co-founder and CEO of Hoppier. Hoppier (formerly known as Desk Nibbles) provides an easy and cost-effective way to order workplace essentials, such as snacks and stationery, straight to your office.