Engaging employees is a highly effective business strategy, but it can be easier said than done. Giving out benefit packages or offering exciting perks will likely increase job satisfaction, but perhaps it won’t necessarily increase employee engagement.
Employee engagement is related far more to a person’s investment in an emotional connection to the company they work for. Employee engagement will affect and define their motivation, their passion, and how much time and energy they are willing to invest.
Employee engagement can be challenging to understand because it’s an intangible quality. However, it will have very tangible effects on your business. A highly engaged workforce will be more productive, more profitable, and have less staff turnover. These are all aspects that are vital to the long-term success of a business.
In the last two years, pretty much everything we once considered to be effective employee engagement has changed. Workplaces have faced a global pandemic, racial injustice, and economic uncertainty, and businesses have been adapting to these challenges at breakneck speed. Let’s look at some key issues that must be addressed to build an efficient employee engagement strategy in today’s world.
Building Human Connections
In the age of social distancing and remote working, it is more important than ever to forge human connections. Adopting the right technology to stay connected is crucial. When hiring new employees, you can use applicant tracking systems. Video chat platforms are hitting all-time highs to stay connected with employees, and innovative ways of collaborating are continuously sprouting up.
It can still be very challenging in today’s world to maintain professional relationships and communicate effectively. One way to build human connections is through transparency. This means keeping employees up to date with what is happening within a company. This helps to build trust and reduce uncertainty.
How can a company build transparency? Management and leadership can hold regular AMA’s. Your company can invest in more collaboration technology. It is essential to encourage open feedback. Try to make it safe and easy for employees to share their feelings and ideas. It is up to management to actively respond to this feedback.
Human connection also requires an element of fun. Having fun at work means that people bond, and it is likely to lift people’s spirits and generate enthusiasm. For employees to feel engaged, it’s also crucial that they understand the impact their contribution has on the company’s overall success. If they understand how valuable their work is to the company and how their efforts serve a larger purpose, they are likely to feel more engaged.
Addressing Mental Health
We live in extraordinarily stressful times. Anxiety and depression are more prevalent than ever before. Employees have had to adjust to new ways of working. It is more likely that people will feel overwhelmed in general, which will transfer to their work. If you want to engage your employees, it is crucial to focus on physical and mental wellness.
An important step in this direction can be to create a work culture where employees feel safe enough to talk about mental health. To really feel like you are part of a work team, it’s essential to feel like you can be your authentic self. This means being able to speak about the challenges you are facing openly.
Employers can offer wellness programs, including mindfulness practices and affordable therapy. Leadership can facilitate healthy discussions around anxiety. You can encourage the use of apps like Headspace or Calm that offer free meditations and resources.
Showing employees that you are actively responding to the changing face of our world is likely to instill confidence and trust. Offering remote work options, more flexible scheduling, and fostering an understanding attitude, may help employees feel more engaged.
Many of your employees will be navigating completely new territory, and their anxiety levels may be higher than ever. How can you support your employees through these challenging times? Offering recognition can play a huge role in this, which means openly acknowledging and expressing appreciation for their efforts.
As well as offering recognition, you can consider offering rewards. Some companies may have a leaderboard with digital badges being rewarded. However, the novelty of these kinds of rewards will likely soon wear off. Offering cash or gift cards that have real-world value is much more likely to increase employee engagement.
Nearly every company in the world has been affected by the global events of the last couple of years. Some industries have plummeted, while new industries are flourishing. Many businesses have moved online, so you can shop online, join your favorite events, and even get the best weekly stock picks to your inbox.
Radical shifts in society require that we are flexible and adaptable in the way we work. Surfing the waves of change will ensure that your company will flourish. Tech giants like Microsoft have been allowing their employees to work from home for some time already, and hybrid models (mixing office work with remote work), more flexible schedules, and even remote-only workforces are entirely feasible.
Most businesses will likely be looking to return to physical workplaces in the near future. However, things will probably never be the same again. More safety protocols may be needed at work, and more support for remote working may be offered as we move forward. A strong culture of employee engagement will be built when employees can successfully navigate these changes with full support from their company.
We live in unprecedented times and need to acknowledge the many challenges we face. However, we also need to recognize the opportunities we have to build strong employee engagement through factors that are within our control.
Rather than focusing on the negatives, we can build our companies to thrive. By building strong human connections, openly addressing mental health, offering a lot of recognition, and being flexible and adaptable, it’s possible to improve employee engagement. This will be sure to set you up for long-term success.
We can learn from the challenges we face and work together to build a better future.