Imagine this. You walk into the workplace, ready to give a rousing speech to your employees.
You’ve worked on it all night. And you’re hoping that this will uplift company culture and get employees engaged.
After delivering your speech, you look to your team for feedback. And the room is dead silent.
No, really. You could actually hear a pin drop.
You might feel like this epic fail is all about you on a personal level. But you’d be surprised to find that most managers have a difficult time driving employee engagement too.
So, on the bright side, you’re not alone. And on the even brighter side, there are plenty of ideas and tools to help you increase employee engagement within your workforce.
Interested in how you can turn that epic fail into an epic win? Keep reading to find out.
See Related: How to Increase Work Productivity
Drivers of employee engagement
Employee engagement strategies are all good and fun. But first, you need to know the main drivers of employee engagement in the first place.
Once you have a handle on these, you’ll be able to sense where your company needs a little lift. So make sure you scope out the pool before you dive right in.
Employees want to feel valued
It’s fair to say that everyone wants to feel valued. But for employees who put in especially hard work, feeling valued is crucial for their continued positive performance.
A company’s values can be demonstrated in a myriad of ways. An example might be giving deserving employees a promotion or bonus.
Another example might be treating the entire office to a business lunch. Both examples help employees feel recognized at their workplace.
And when they can sense the leadership and their appreciation, their performance will automatically go up. No one likes to work hard if leaders aren’t going to appreciate their work.
So work on employee engagement levels by going the extra mile. Offer organizational support to employees who may be struggling.
And this will ensure your employees’ loyalty over time. Ultimately, a workplace shouldn’t just be about meetings and results.
It should be an environment that values its employees by providing recognition. Just knowing leaders care makes for a meaningful work experience.
Encourage employees’ career development
Sometimes, you start a job and you enjoy it because it’s easy. But then, after a while, it gets kind of boring because it’s so easy.
Even though it’s important to limit stress, a little bit of stress in the workplace is actually more healthy than none at all. And that’s exactly what employees are looking for.
Well, their subconscious is, at least. This is not to say that companies and organizations should enforce greater stress upon their employees.
Rather, organizations should offer opportunities for growth and development. The possibility of career development can do wonders for employee engagement.
I mean, let’s face it. Nobody likes to put in hard work without the promise of recognition or further career development.
It just doesn’t seem fair. But when organizations and companies encourage employees to reach for such goals, then employees are more than happy to rise to the occasion.
Before you know it, you’ll find your employees being more proactive. Because engaged employees are always looking for the next step.
This may be in their collaboration with others or their solo productivity. But what matters is that internal leadership keeps their promise and rewards teams and individuals accordingly for their efforts.
Give employees a future focus
Like the last two points, team members need to know that they’re working toward something positive. All teams need to have a common goal in mind.
So give your organization a positive future to look forward to. An employee who feels like the business is going nowhere probably won’t do their job to the best of their ability.
In fact, they’ll probably just be biding their time. But when leadership can create a future goal, employees will feel more engaged in the meaningful work they put in.
They may not know exactly where their company is heading. But what drives their work forward is the vision behind the organization.
In a way, this strategy is all about management instilling hope into its employees. No one is going to waste their talent working for a business with a hopeless future.
But engaged employees will offer their efforts when they feel that their collaboration is for the greater good. So focus on your organization and its future plans.
And let the team in on how you view the company as a whole. Give them something to move forward towards.
And always make it a team effort in getting there. Remember – a strong workforce is a united workforce.
Tips for driving employee engagement
By now, you should be familiar with the main drivers that improve employee engagement. But how exactly do you implement these values in your workplace?
#1. Communicate, communicate, communicate
You got that one, right? Just making sure this one sinks in.
But seriously. Communication is the key to any relationship, including the relationships you make at work.
This communication should start from internal leadership first. Then, this will inspire employees to employ such strategies amongst themselves.
When management is transparent, employees feel like they are on the same team as their superiors. And this is crucial for boosting morale and engagement.
This is not to say that managers should tell employees everything. But without proper communication, employees might feel concerned about their job security, particularly if the business is on edge.
With adequate communication, management can not only mitigate any employee concerns. They can also get employees engaged to hop on board and contribute to the team effort.
No company is made up of one single person. Even a one-person run company.
There are thousands of people who can provide support. So make sure the leaders at your organization know how to employ healthy communication with their employees.
It’ll drive employee engagement. And it might even make the work-week all the more enjoyable.
#2. Institute ongoing training
Remember how employee engagement is also driven by carer growth and development? Well, instituting ongoing training is a great way to get employees engaged and involved.
Typically, a company’s training period will occur during the first week or two of the job. Then, that’s it.
Employees are left on their own to develop a solid performance. But they’re not necessarily given the tools to further their talent beyond the initial training period.
But ongoing training and even the occasional employee engagement survey teaches team members how to develop their skills at a consistent level. Say goodbye to that rut your organization has been trying to dig itself out of.
And say hello to training that can get managers and employees alike engaged in the process all over again. These sessions tell employees that the organization is invested in their overall growth.
And who knows – maybe one of these training sessions will spot an employee looking to become a manager. When such opportunities are offered, employees will be more likely to put in their best efforts.
Because they know that they will be recognized for them. So, think of these sessions as a reset or refresh.
Making them ongoing just showcases your company’s dedication to providing organizational support. And that’s exactly what an employee or manager will need when they’re looking for a new stroke of inspiration.
#3. Ensure that management is approachable
This one might go without saying. But we’ll say it anyway.
Employees should feel like they can talk to their managers. Some manager-employee relationships are strictly business and focus on nothing but the work.
But it’s naive to say that personal matters will not arise in the workplace. Take a look at COVID-19, for example.
When companies had to go remote, leaders likely checked in on teams and individuals to ensure their safety and engagement. But imagine being in a work environment that didn’t.
Manager-employee relationships don’t have to be chummy. But they should at least be open enough for employees to approach managers if and when an issue arises.
This time, it might be a global pandemic. Another time, it might be a personal squabble with another employee.
But at the root of any solution that might be salvageable will be the managers’ willingness to create an approachable persona in the workplace. Company culture shifts from place to place.
And this may extend to how managers run the organization or company. But if you’re looking to increase employee engagement, consider looking at the managers in charge.
Make sure they are the leaders who can both be authoritative and approachable. It can be a tricky balance. But the key strategy to any company and their productivity will be whether managers can get employees to trust them.
#4. Ask for feedback and provide it
Everyone likes to know that their opinion matters, right? Well, offering employees the chance to give feedback to managers or leaders within the organization is a great way to validate their voices.
Not only does this work as a strategy to demonstrate the company’s appreciation of employees’ perspectives. It also helps to create and foster a culture of accountability.
Typically, leaders are the only ones coming up with ideas on how to run the company. But this sometimes means that the vision of the organization is fairly one-sided.
Getting employees involved in the conversation can not only foster their engagement. It can also give the organization a more well-rounded approach as a whole.
But this is not to say that employees alone should be the ones giving feedback. No, feedback is a two-way street, my friend.
If an employee is struggling with their performance, then leaders need to bring it to their attention. Not in a condescending or scolding way.
But in a way that offers support and guidance. The key to healthy feedback is getting it from both sides.
Besides, mutual feedback actually speaks to two of the drivers of employee engagement. Employees want to feel valued and they want the opportunity to develop their careers.
No feedback in the workplace is a quick and easy way to get stuck in a rut with no upward mobility. But a performance review can give employees key points to work on, getting them engaged with the work on a personal and professional level.
You’ll find that engaged employees are always looking for something new to work on. And cultivating an environment of mutual feedback will help everyone’s engagement in being the very best at their respective positions.
#5. Celebrate victories, even the small ones
You might think that this only relates to one of the drivers above. You know, the one about feeling valued?
But we’re talking about celebrations where everyone is involved. Personal achievements and recognition are great.
But you don’t want your company culture to feel exclusive, do you? Celebrating victories with the entire office can be a great way to boost employee engagement all around.
It can even be as small as announcing a new deal or traffic exceeding expectations. Heck, you can even just celebrate a really good week.
At the core of engagement is a feeling of community. And when everyone is working hard within their respective roles, it’s nice to come together and celebrate.
These moments can serve as a reminder that engagement is about everyone involved in the organization. It’s not just about engagement within one’s own work.
It’s the recognition that one’s work impacts the whole of the company. And that’s some pretty powerful thinking right there.
It’s easy to put your head down in the work and muddle through. But taking the time to celebrate small victories can remind people to look up. Hire a corporate entertainer to celebrate an employees birthday at the office is an idea worth pursuing!
Engagement is about participating in something greater than one’s self. And giving employees the chance to celebrate their efforts together will only make for a stronger workforce.
Working 9 to 5
Engagement in the workplace can feel like an uphill battle at times. But there are plenty of ways to get creative and shake things up in the office.
Working a 9-5 job can sometimes feel monotonous. But engagement that’s embedded in the company culture makes all the difference in the world.
Use these tips to get your employees motivated and engaged. And give yourself a pat on the back too.
Adam Christing is a professional comedy magician, virtual MC, and the founder of CleanComedians.com. He is a member of the world-famous Magic Castle in Hollywood and a popular comedian for corporate events, magician, and virtual speaker.