Employees may be coming to work, but they don’t seem to be putting down roots. As a whole, the global workforce feels disengaged at work today.
This means plenty of people are clocking in—but they’re not clicking with their colleagues, bosses, or employers. In other words, tasks are being completed, but not to the fullest degree.
If you’re worried that lack of engagement may be affecting your business’s morale, productivity, and profitability, you’re not alone. Plenty of leaders are trying different strategies to build stronger ties with employees.
Below, we’ll explore eight innovative ways you can increase engagement among your team members.
1. Foster a sense of community separate from culture.
Your organization has a corporate culture. But what about a corporate community? What’s the difference? Think of your culture as a city and your community as a neighborhood. The city has an overarching rhythm and the neighborhood fits into the city. At the same time, the neighborhood has its unique customs, flavor, and personality.
By fostering a sense of community among your workers, you have the opportunity to help them forge bonds with one another. Yes, their community should align with your culture. Yet the community can have its own vibe, too. Consider setting up at least one online or in-person community event a month or quarter. The event can serve as a “neighborhood block party” where employees have the chance to learn together, meet each other, and cross-pollinate ideas. The stronger your corporate community, the stronger your culture. And a strong culture naturally will help fuel engagement.
2. Take away the financial stressors getting in the way of engagement.
In addition to paying a competitive, fair wage to all personnel, think about the benefits you offer. Do they address some of the biggest money stresses facing your employees? For example, do you offer student loan assistance? A route toward saving for retirement? Healthcare packages with a variety of deductible options?
It’s challenging for people to engage with a company when they feel anxious about their finances. The more you can take away their fears, the easier it will be for them to bring more of themselves to work. Not sure what keeps your employees up at night? Send out an anonymous survey. The answers you receive can inform future health, wellness, and time-off benefits policies and choices.
3. Offer up training on a routine basis.
Just because someone has served in the same capacity for a year doesn’t mean that person lacks a skills gap. Technology is changing all the time, which means any employee can get behind the proverbial eight-ball quickly. You might not realize how much someone is struggling to stay afloat until it’s too late and you receive a resignation letter.
The answer to this issue is continuous training. Make learning a part of your company’s mantra. And be sure that you’re upskilling and reskilling, too. When leaders attend continuing education conferences, take remote workshops, and earn certifications, employees will, too. Yes, you’ll have to cover the cost of these training sessions. That’s okay. A surprising 94% say they’ll stay with an employer that gives them a path to self-improvement.
4. Promote from within whenever you can.
It’s very difficult for team members to feel appreciated when they’re constantly passed over for promotions. When you bring someone in from the outside world, you change the dynamics of your business. At the same time, you rock the corporate and community cultures. Certainly, this can be good and necessary at times, such as when you need someone with special skill sets. Nevertheless, work on your internal promotions to move the engagement needle.
For instance, you may want to work with your managers to identify high performers. These high performers may lack the necessary knowledge to move up the ladder right now. In time, though, they could become your future leaders. Creating pathways for promotions may cost more upfront but you’ll spend less later on. You won’t have to look far to find people to fill roles.
5. Practice the appropriate level of transparency for your company.
Employees overwhelmingly say they value transparency from their employers. With that being said, you may not be able to be transparent about everything. Case in point: Some employers are transparent about salaries. Others feel that salary rate transparency couldn’t work for their companies. The key is to figure out what level of transparency works for your organization.
Having trouble coming up with a consensus among your executives? Speak with a human resources team member or consultant. Ideally, you’ll want your employees to feel like you’re communicating openly with them and holding a little back. By being more forthright, you’ll initiate deeper feelings of worker-employee trust. This should boil over into heightened engagement.
6. Measure your employee engagement periodically.
You can’t figure out if your employee engagement is improving just by looking or asking your supervisors. Instead, you have to actively gather input from your team. How can you make this happen? Sending out pulse surveys, setting up one-on-ones, and collecting Net Promoter Scores can help you gauge whether what you’re doing is working. Additionally, you’ll have raw, objective data to determine engagement trends and spot fluctuations early.
What happens if your engagement strategies don’t seem to be producing fruit? Embrace others that will. Improving engagement across all areas of your company isn’t a “one and done” experience. You’ll have to keep tweaking your methods, especially as Generation Z workers flood into your team. Each generational group brings its expectations, after all. Therefore, remain willing to pivot when needed.
When your workers feel like they and their contributions matter, they’re more apt to keep giving you their best year after year. It costs far too much to keep hiring and training people for the same positions. Get off the disengagement roller coaster by putting a premium on keeping your crew satisfied, educated, and rewarded.
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