Human resources departments across the world are increasingly turning their focus to employee engagement. And we need only consider the true meaning of “engagement” to understand why.First, let’s be clear: A happy employee is not the same as an engaged employee. Employee engagement goes deeper than employee happiness or satisfaction. Engaged employees are emotionally invested in their work and highly committed to the organization. They advocate for the company, enjoy helping the company succeed, and have no plans to leave the company behind.What business wouldn’t want employees like that?The bad news is that today’s diverse workforce presents some difficulty when it comes to developing engaged employees. In fact, a 2015 research report conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) found that “maintaining high levels of employee engagement” is a top challenge for businesses today.The good news is that it’s never too late to try, and 2017 might be your year! Plus, there are plenty of proven tactics you can implement right away to get the ball rolling on an employee engagement strategy.Here are 5 ways to engage employees more than ever before in 2017:
1. Foster Relationships Among Employees
A good place to start with employee engagement is to provide opportunities for employees to develop close connections with one another. SHRM’s 2016 job satisfaction and engagement report found “relationships with coworkers” to be one of the top three employee engagement conditions. And TINYpulse’s 2015 employee engagement and organizational culture report found that peers and colleagues are what employees love most about their jobs.To foster these important relationships, first make sure you are hiring the right talent. You want employees who mesh well and can motivate and energize one another. Second, consider sponsoring team-building events or service projects that bring employees together outside of the normal work setting. These types of events can help employees get to know each other on a more personal level, which can make working together that much more meaningful!
2. Use Mobile-Friendly Communications
I don’t want to get too techy on you, but we are talking about employee engagement in the year 2017. If you’re still communicating with employees exclusively through email or paper office memos, you likely aren’t seeing much engagement from employees.Today’s workers are tech-savvy and increasingly expect instant access to information. Get on board by adopting virtual messaging tools like HipChat or Slack and staying active on popular social media sites like Instagram. Take it a step further and consider implementing an employee engagement app that is specifically designed to help you connect with your employees and boost their enthusiasm.
3. Recognize Employee Performance
According to AON’s 2016 global employee engagement trends report, “rewards and recognition” is one of the top three engagement drivers globally. And that makes sense, if you think about it. Engaged employees feel valued and appreciated, and one way to cultivate those feelings is through recognition of employee performance.Creating a rewards program that frequently recognizes employees for their effort and achievements is a great way to motivate and recharge team members. And it doesn’t have to be complicated. You can include stand-out employee names in office-wide communications or give these employees a small “prize” like a free lunch or gift card. It’s also good practice to incentivize employees with role promotions or merit pay raises.
4. Value Agility and Innovation
Businesses tend to move fast and change frequently these days, so developing agile and innovative employees can be essential to your employee engagement strategy. You want employees who are willing and able to create positive change or to respond positively to unexpected change.The most important step you can take here is to ensure employees know that you value these qualities. Communicate openly with employees, allow them to challenge processes and bring their ideas to the table, and help eliminate any fear of failure they might have. Giving employees a chance to evolve with your company and, in fact, contribute to the company’s evolution will help develop deeper engagement and commitment among your workforce.
5. Measure Engagement
The work you put into implementing effective employee engagement ideas and developing a clear strategy will mean nothing if you don’t take time to analyze the outcomes. That’s why your strategy should include regular measurement of engagement among your employees.You can use a data collection platform or online form tool like Formstack to conduct thorough annual or quarterly employee engagement surveys, or you can create quick polls to send out more frequently. These surveys and polls will help you gather actionable information about what is motivating or discouraging employees—which means you’ll be able to make informed workplace improvements to boost engagement.
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