In today’s competitive business landscape, employees are the lifeblood of any successful company. Creating a culture focused on employee engagement is the most important investment a business can make. This is true of in-office and remote workers alike.
However, Gallup poll research shows that employee engagement is plummeting. 2022’s rates dropped down to just 32% engagement among employees. The sample is based on 15,000 part-time and full-time employees surveyed each quarter.
Finding ways to engage employees can seem like a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be. Following these 12 employee engagement initiatives below can help you create a more engaged workplace culture.
1. Establish Clear Communication Systems
It’s vital to always keep employees in the loop regarding events or changes in the workplace. Clear communication can help employees build transparency and trust with each other and their workplace. Well-informed employees feel more connected to their jobs, which can boost productivity, increase satisfaction, and improve job retention.
Email is a standard form of communication, but it can often be easily ignored. That’s why it’s a good idea to set up multiple communication channels as well. Clear communication facilitates better collaboration among different teams and departments. Monday.com is a great tool for team collaboration.
Offer monthly town hall forums where you can inform employees of any policy changes or upcoming plans. Encourage employees to ask questions and give feedback. This will help employees feel more connected and engaged.
You can also utilize intranet communication sources through apps and services like Slack and Microsoft Teams. These services let you communicate updates with specific teams through designated channels.
2. Create Employee Recognition Programs
Employee recognition programs can go a long way in helping foster more engaged employees. These employee engagement initiatives often involve giving tangible rewards such as certificates and trophies and gift items like gift cards and goody baskets. They also incorporate an element of public recognition, such as a ceremony or special luncheon.
Around 40% of employees say they receive recognition for their jobs from a supervisor, manager, or leader only a few times per year or less. This leaves a big gap for the other 60% who may feel unappreciated. Consistent recognition is vital not only for ensuring engaged employees but also for reducing job turnover rates.
It’s important that gifts have a personalized element to them. If everyone receives the exact same cookie-cutter gift, then it makes it feel less special. You should give gifts and recognition based on individual employee preferences and interests so that each employee feels valued.
3. Offer Professional Management Programs
Offering management programs helps inspire employees to be more productive as a way to advance their careers. They will see that the organization they work for is interested in helping them with their long-term career success. Only the top-performing and most engaged employees will qualify for these employee engagement initiatives.
Professional development opportunities like management programs provide a way for employees to hone their skills. Allowing for continuous learning and development also prepares employees to be more adaptable to change. This is a critical skill needed to become a successful leader.
An employee with higher management aspirations will understand the best practices for their position. They will bring innovative and creative ways of thinking to increase productivity and problem-solving.
Well-trained and skilled employees involved in management programs work more efficiently at their jobs. Professional management programs lead to employee retention. Employees will be less likely to search for a new job since they are able to find advancement opportunities where they are.
4. Develop Flexible Work Arrangements
The after-effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have changed the landscape of the working world. After many employees became remote workers, they discovered the benefits of the flexible work-from-home environment. The typical 9 to 5 workday is becoming less stringent as a result.
But workplaces don’t have to be strictly remote or in-office. Hybrid work environments involve splitting the time spent in the office for more flexible work-from-home hours. Hybrid work arrangements are ideal for working parents of small children and those with disabilities.
In 2023, Pew Research showed that as much as 70% of U.S. adults given remote work options felt a high level of trust in their managers. The most prevalent sectors engaging in work-from-home models are Finance and Tech, as well as Professional and Business Services.
To keep remote workers engaged, it is still essential to clearly define any rules or guidelines that come with remote work settings. Provide employee engagement initiatives like employee recognition for a positive workplace culture. Utilize technology to facilitate a seamless collaboration among remote teams.
5. Provide Wellness Programs
Wellness, both physical and mental, greatly impacts workplace culture. The APA’s 2023 Work in America Survey found that 57% of workers reported feeling work-related stress leading to workplace burnout. Among these burnout symptoms were:
- lower productivity
- a desire to quit
- emotional exhaustion
- not feeling motivated to do their best
- a desire to keep to themselves
Healthy employees are productive and engaged employees and have fewer missed work days. Employee engagement initiatives like wellness programs motivate healthier minds and bodies. When employees feel healthier, their work performance will improve because of this.
Offer wellness workshops that focus on areas of healthy living like stress management and mindfulness. You can even include in-office or online yoga classes for both traditional, hybrid, and remote workers. Provide incentives for participating in and completing health and wellness programs.
It’s also best to not enforce a workplace culture of forced positivity. This can actually be seen as toxic. Employees should be free to express the difficulties they are facing and seek out the appropriate resources without fear of judgment.
6. Utilize Employee Feedback and Surveys
There’s often a disconnect between leaders and their employees. Instead of asking employees outright what workplace issues may need to be addressed, managers will assume. This can lead to further disconnects and misunderstandings.
Employees want to feel both heard and understood. By not taking the time to ask your employees for their feedback, you’re overlooking crucial and valuable information. Engaged employees feel like they are a part of the inner work structure and not just a cog in the machine.
Utilizing regular employee surveys lets you take the pulse of your workers. You can gauge employee satisfaction and see what it is you’re doing well as an organization. On the other hand, you can also see what aspects need improvement.
Using this information can allow you to effectively adjust your employee engagement initiatives as needed. You can come up with engagement ideas that better meet these concerns.
7. Enable Leadership Training and Mentorship
Leadership and mentorship programs are also essential employee engagement initiatives. For one, it permits employees to build fundamental skill sets. It also makes employees feel valued.
Employees must deal with many different skill sets like Technical Skills and Soft Skills (Interpersonal). They must also have the proper skills needed for Career Advancement. You can conduct skill assessments to see where employees excel and where they may need additional help.
Tailor programs accordingly to help employees reach their maximum potential. For instance, if a majority of employees are lacking in conflict resolution or time management, you can find ways to address these issues.
Provide access to online courses and conferences to help build professional skills. Mentorship programs also give employees the ability to learn from industry peers firsthand. It is a necessary aspect of networking as well as effective leadership development.
8. Arrange Team-Building Activities
You’ve heard that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. This concept is also prevalent in many workplace structures. Without a strongly linked team, you’re likely to fall prey to less engaged employees.
Everyone needs to act as a cohesive unit in the workplace. That’s where team-building employee engagement initiatives come into play. Team-building emphasizes an environment of enhanced communication.
With team-building activities, employees are encouraged to build trust among one another. This, in turn, leads to strengthening relationships and improving collaboration. Participating in fun activities can boost morale and make employees feel more like family.
Positive team-building also paves the way for improved conflict resolution. Employees learn how to get along better through team-building exercises. They learn how to accept and even celebrate their differences.
Effective team-building promotes a supportive workplace culture. Employees treat one another as equals and not as competition.
9. Plan Employee Social Events
Social events also help build employee engagement. They are a great way to let off some steam after a long work week. Employees can bond outside of the workplace in more informal settings and feel more relaxed.
Luncheons and dinners are a standard staple of workplace culture. However, there are many other fun and creative ways to make events memorable. Some notable social event engagement ideas could include:
- Karaoke nights
- Team-building retreats
- Trivia nights
- Sporting events
- Company picnics
- Escape room challenges
It’s important to pick activities that a majority of employees will find enjoyable. You can also have a schedule of events for employees to look forward to, like Karaoke Fridays.
Field trips to activities outside of the immediate workplace area are also a good idea. This lets employees experience events they wouldn’t normally do on their own.
10. Encourage Employee Empowerment
Encourage employees to contribute ideas even when you’re not conducting employee surveys. This could be through methods like suggestion boxes. You can also hold innovation workshops or dedicated brainstorming sessions.
You’re trusting and supporting your employees by giving them a say in the decision-making process. You show that you value their opinions, which builds mutual trust and support. This enhances the collaborative workplace culture.
Employee empowerment is also linked to employee productivity. Engaged employees are more connected to their jobs and invested in their work. This leads to a higher level of job satisfaction with productivity levels to match.
Empowered employees will feel more comfortable sharing insights and ideas. This works to foster an environment of continuous improvement.
An empowered employee is more confident in their ability to adapt to change and navigate new challenges. Whenever possible, recognize and reward employees who take initiative and show leadership potential.
11. Design an Inclusive Workplace Culture
American workplaces are a melting pot of different cultures and walks of life. However, each employee brings with them their own unique set of skills and strengths that they have to offer to the overall dynamic. It’s more essential than ever to create an inclusive workplace culture, not just because of legal and regulatory compliance.
Inclusivity in the workplace involves a viewpoint of equality in all aspects regardless of:
- Sexual Identity
- Religious Beliefs
- Physical or Mental Abilities
Inclusive workplaces are respectful of accommodating any reasonable workplace disabilities. They also show sensitivity towards cultural differences and perspectives.
When all employees feel equally valued and respected, they will feel a stronger sense of belonging. This bonds them to their workplace. They don’t view their workplace as just another job but as a sense of purpose.
12. Recognize Personal Milestones and Occasions
Your employees work tirelessly to help you make your business the best it can be. Who they are outside of the workplace is vital, too. You want to recognize personal employee milestones and special events as part of your ongoing employee engagement initiatives.
An employee who is nearing a milestone anniversary working for your company should be recognized accordingly. If an employee is expecting a child or just gave birth, showing your congratulations by sending flowers or a baby gift helps that employee feel appreciated as well.
Birthdays, weddings, and personal anniversary occasions are important to your employees. They should be important to their employer as well.
Remember, personalized gifts and gifts help encourage employee engagement. Doing this means you see each employee and value them as a whole person and not as a worker drone.
Learn More About Effective Employee Engagement Initiatives at RealBusi Today
It is possible to have productive and engaged employees. With so many fantastic employee engagement initiatives, you can improve your workplace culture for the better. What you give your employees will be returned with loyalty, respect, collaboration, productivity, and appreciation.
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