Are your employees engaged? According to a survey from Gallup, chances are a majority aren’t. The study found that 36% of female and 30% of male employees are engaged at work. While both numbers have increased from 2012, they’re still lower than most companies would like.
- 60 employee engagement ideas for every business scenario
- How employee engagement varies among generations
- How to engage the Millennial generation
- Engaging Generation Z in the workplace
- Celebrate diversity in your multigenerational workforce
What is employee engagement?
Employee engagement is how enthusiastic, passionate and excited employees are about their jobs and overall company. It also encompasses how much effort they put toward their work and how loyal they are to their organization.
Engaged employees are motivated by more than just money. They feel like a true part of the company and are emotionally dedicated to helping it grow.
Why employee engagement is important
There are several benefits of employee engagement. When employees feel engaged, appreciated and a part of something bigger than just a “job,” they’re happier and get more done. A study from Gallup found that teams with high employee engagement rates are 21% more productive. Not only that, but a separate report showed investing just 10% more into employee engagement can increase profits by $2,400 annually per employee.
In addition to missing out on these benefits, employee disengagement also puts your company at risk. The Gallup State of the American Workplace Report found companies with engaged employees experience 37% less absenteeism, 90% less turnover and 28% less safety incidents.
Unfortunately, a majority of US employees don’t feel engaged. The same report showed 70% of American workers are either “not engaged” or “actively disengaged” and feel emotionally disconnected from their workplaces.
Knowing the importance of employee engagement is part of the equation. The real challenge is figuring out how to get employees engaged.
60 employee engagement ideas for every business scenario
- Health & wellness
- Office environment
- Hiring & onboarding
- Online engagement
- Company culture
- Career advancement & training
- Personal development
- Fun employee engagement strategies
- Benefits & HR
- Employee recognition & incentives
- Teamwork & collaboration
- Community-based initiatives
Health & wellness
In order for employees to be engaged, happy and excited to be at work, they have to feel their best. That extends to both mental and physical wellness. A report published by Humana called “The Wellness Effect: The Impact of Workplace Programs” found a close link between employee engagement and health/wellness.
Most notably, 89% of employees who work in a wellness culture have an improved level of happiness compared to 76% of those who don’t. Plus, 67% of employees that work for companies that prioritize wellness say it has made them more engaged in their employer’s mission and goals.
Here are some employee engagement ideas to make it easier for your team to live a healthier and more active lifestyle:
1. Encourage stress-relief breaks
The previously mentioned Humana report noted 77% of employees who work for companies with wellness programs say it helped reduce their stress levels. This is vital considering workplace stress costs employers over $300 billion annually due to:
- Employee turnover
- Lower productivity
- Medical care
One way to fight the effects of stress in the workplace and keep employees engaged is by encouraging everyone to take breaks when they feel stress is getting the best of them. Some of the most successful companies in the world realize the benefits of keeping employees as calm and stress-free as possible.
For instance, Apple gives employees 30-minute breaks every day to mediate in addition to providing mediation rooms and classes. Google and Nike both offer similar perks.
2. Provide healthy cafeteria & vending options
Free snacks are always a nice addition to the office if you’re trying to boost employee engagement. However, if you want employees to be engaged as well as feel their best, try adding healthier options to your cafeteria, snack room or vending machines.
3. Provide time for healthy activities at work
Activities such as yoga, short walks or even group hikes can be a great way to break up the day. These health initiatives will act as another tool for your employees to de-stress and refocus on their work.
4. Talk to your employees about benefits
More likely than not, even with a company wellness program, employees will still have questions about benefits and other initiatives. Be very clear about employee options and communicate that you encourage all of them to participate as much as they want. Set aside time to answer any questions and discuss specific details of your program.
5. Offer discounts for gym memberships & other nutritional services
our employees might want to live a healthier lifestyle, but the costs might deter them. Gym memberships, nutritionists and other health-related services can be expensive. Partnering up with local gyms, health clubs or meal-prep services is a good way to show your employees you care about their health and also encourage them to live a healthier lifestyle.
It’s not easy to feel motivated and excited about your employer if the environment you work in is dark, dreary and filled with negativity. That’s why these next few employee engagement ideas are all about setting up a positive environment. A study from Steelcase showed that the office environment is a key differentiator between employees that feel highly engaged and those who don’t.
6. Bring in a motivational speaker
It might sound silly or like a scene from a movie, but you might be surprised by the effectiveness of this employee engagement tactic. Inviting a motivational speaker to come in and talk to your team can make a world of difference in engagement and morale. Motivational speakers are more than just the cliche image of a person running up and down the floor with a headset screaming “you can do it!” Look for people within your industry that bring actionable insights to the table, as well as boost your team’s confidence and enthusiasm about working for your company.
7. Have open and collaborative work areas
It’s difficult to improve employee engagement if everyone is always working in isolation. At the same time, you don’t want to force people to work on top of each other. A good middle ground is to setup areas around the office where anyone can sit and work or socialize throughout the day. That way people have an option.
A study from Oxford Economics found 49% of employees ranked having space to easily and effectively collaborate with coworkers in their top two spots for what’s most important to their work environment. Setting up an environment that promotes collaboration is one of the best employee engagement tactics you can institute.
8. Ditch traditional cubicles
Keeping with the theme of open work areas, you should also consider ditching traditional cubicles with high partitions. While cubicles may be good for privacy, they create a closed off environment. There have been multiple studies that show how detrimental cubicles can be for employees.
9. Have a more casual dress code
The days of requiring every employee to wear a suit and tie in the office are long gone. Giving employees the freedom to dress more casually means they’ll be more comfortable throughout the day. It also gives them the ability to express their individuality a bit.
10. Give employees freedom around the office
This idea is particularly important if most of your employees work at desks throughout the day. If your team members feel like they’re chained to a desk, their performance may suffer. One study found 88% of highly engaged employees have the option to choose where they work within the office based on the task they’re performing. On the other end, only 14% of highly disengaged employees have flexibility on where they sit.
11. Create a comfortable workspace
The same survey mentioned above also looked into the comfort level of highly engaged employees compared to disengaged ones. They found that in nearly every category, employees that were highly satisfied with parts of their workspace were also highly engaged. So it’s safe to say that a comfortable workspace is one of the key drivers of employee engagement. Your office doesn’t have to be as decked out as Facebook or Google, but investing in comfortable furniture, quality lighting and reliable equipment can go along way in making employees more engaged.
Hiring & onboarding
Would it surprise you to know that many of the issues with employee engagement can be caught during the hiring and onboarding process? In addition to ensuring new hires have the technical skills and ability to do the job, it’s vital to hire based on company culture as well.
Often times the people highest up on the corporate ladder understand what the company stands for and their key differentiators. But as you move down to more junior level employees, the message isn’t as clear.
12. Hire based on company culture
You absolutely want employees that are able to do their job duties at a high level. But beyond their skill set, you should make sure new hires will fit in with your company culture. In addition to being a good fit for their role, they also need to be happy with their working conditions and what your brand stands for. Otherwise you’ll end up with an office of people just there to collect a paycheck.
13. Explain the company culture during interviews
Continuing from the previous tip, make sure you explain what your company culture is during the interview process. While some prospects will head to your website or Glassdoor to find out what y our working environment is like, that doesn’t always tell the full story. Make it clear what your brand is all about and do your best to describe your office culture. That way new hires can get a feel for what it’ll be like if they get hired.
14. Provide cross department onboarding
A good idea for getting employees engaged is to give them knowledge of how other parts of the business function, especially any departments that they’ll work closely with. During your onboarding process, take some time to introduce them to other departments and get a look at what they do.
15. Offer a welcome pack with swag
Giving away t-shirts, water bottles and other swag not only helps employees feel more engaged, but it also gives them a chance to show off their company pride. A simple way of doing this is by creating a small welcome package with a variety of clothing and knick-knacks for them to enjoy.
Online engagement ideas
Social media has been integrated into nearly every part of our lives, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it has found its way into the workplace as well. Using social media for employee engagement is still a fairly new practice, but it’s having a big impact. According to a report from Altimeter, employees at socially-engaged companies are 20% more likely to stay at their companies and 20% more likely to feel inspired. The result is better employee retention and staff engagement.
Try these social media and internet driven ideas for better workplace engagement:
16. Connect upper management with staff
C-level executives are extremely busy individuals, especially in enterprise companies. That doesn’t mean they should seem “out of reach” to the rest of your employees. Get them engaged with the rest of your staff by having them write blogs, which employees can individually comment on or holding Q&A sessions online. Also have upper management respond to any comments or questions that are posted to engage employees individually.
17. Have your employees blog on your website
Blogs are an easy way to boost employee engagement and employee advocacy. A blog post written by an employee is much more likely to be shared on their own personal networks, which gives your content much more visibility. The graphic below illustrates the impact of getting employees to share your content versus relying strictly on your own brand’s distribution channels.
Another benefit is it helps you with fresh, recurring content on your website. Use employee engagement tools like Bambu to make distribution and consumption of employee-written content a seamless and easy process.
18. Start a newsletter
Use content written by employees to populate your newsletter. Instead of you or HR choosing the content, form a committee of employees who are responsible for curating content for the newsletter. They’ll jump at the chance to share content that they find interesting and the readers will love it too.
19. Utilize an employee satisfaction survey
Want to know if your employees are happy or engaged with your company? Ask them.
Employee satisfaction surveys are an essential tool to gauge how happy or unhappy your employees are with the company, their peers and their work. They allow your employees to give honest and comprehensive feedback to the management team. After the surveys are taken, it’s important to analyze the responses and address any issues that present themselves.
If you need help coming up with effective employee engagement survey questions, check out our handy template.
20. Curate & share content meant for your employees
It’s almost a guarantee that a majority of your employees are on one of the major social media platforms. Capitalize on this and curate content that your employees would love to share. Pick a few employees who are already “champion advocates” and put them in charge of curating content for the rest of your employees to consume and share. This is an easy way to get employees and whole departments involved in your social media marketing strategy while bolstering employee engagement.
In our employee engagement study, we found that employees are willing to share your content. However, 21% don’t go through with it because they don’t know if their company wants them to share.
21. Read Glassdoor reviews
Some employees might not be comfortable being completely honest with how they feel about your company directly to you. In order to get a more honest look at what people like or don’t like about your company, head over to Glassdoor. Do a search for your company and read the reviews. Since Glassdoor reviews are anonymous, current and former employees are willing to be more open about their experiences working at your company. Don’t just look at the scores though. Take the time to read through the reviews and get specifics. You can easily find opportunities to increase employee engagement by looking at their feedback.
Steelcase’s study showed some interesting data about how company culture impacts employee engagement.
Workplace culture is an important part of any employee engagement program. If your company culture isn’t inspiring your team to be engaged, try these ideas to get your team on board.
22. Be passionate about your cause
Supporting a cause for PR or just for the sake of doing it doesn’t have nearly the same impact as supporting causes you’re genuinely passionate about. When you truly care about the causes you support, your employees will see it and likely gravitate toward it—especially if it’s a cause they care about as well.
23. Commit to keeping a positive environment
It’s hard to feel engaged in a workplace filled with negativity and conflict. In fact, one study on workplace conflict found that US employees spent 2.8 hours per week dealing with conflict. To make matters worse, 10% reported that conflict has caused projects to fail.
To avoid lost productivity and lower levels of engagement, try to foster a positive environment by addressing issues as soon as they come up rather than dragging them out. The same study found that 25% of employees felt avoiding conflict resulted in an increase in absence from work.
Here are some tips to create a more positive environment:
- Motivate team members whenever possible
- Celebrate small wins as well as big ones
- Show appreciation
- Hire positive people
- Don’t be afraid to let people go if they’re toxic to your working environment
24. Lose the ‘corporate’ feel
A key piece of employee engagement is ensuring that employees feel like they have a voice and a connection with every level of your business. However, when you have an overly corporate setup, it’s easy for employees to feel like just another cog in a machine.
As your business scales and grows, keep a level of personalization by not building a wall between upper management and less senior level employees.
25. Don’t be afraid to change your company culture
There’s no rule that says the culture of your company has to be the same for its entire existence. It’s natural for your brand, ideas and values to change over time. As new employees join and present different ways of thinking, your culture can evolve for the better.
Career advancement & training
Do your employees feel like they have the opportunity to learn and advance their career with your company? If not, they might not stick around very long. Employee engagement is all about making sure your team trusts and feels connected to your company.
Committing to the professional development of your employees is one of the best ways to improve employee engagement. And it’s also one of the top things Millennials look for when applying for a job.
Try these employee development ideas out to improve engagement and show employees you care about their career growth:
26. Take a personal interest in your employees’ professional development
As the image above demonstrates, younger employees want to work for companies that give them an opportunity to learn and grow. If they feel stagnant or “stuck” in their current role, they’re likely to venture off. Plus, the more they’re able to learn and improve their skills, the better they’ll be able to perform their job. Don’t be a hindrance on your team’s professional growth, be a catalyst.
27. Give employees more responsibilities
One way to show employees they’re valued and that you trust them is to give them additional responsibilities. Not only does it show that you respect what they do, but it’ll make them feel more involved in the company. The more involved they feel, the more engaged they’ll be.
28. Send employees to conferences
Conferences are a great way for your employees to network, learn and have a fun experience all in one trip. Look for any upcoming conferences or events that are relevant to your industry. Then gauge your employees’ interest in attending. Establishing a presence at popular events gives your brand more exposure and shows employees that you trust them to represent the company.
29. Offer continued training & education
Another employee engagement idea that promotes career advancement is to offer continued training and education. Whether it’s through paying for job-related course or establishing some type of in-house training system, create opportunities for employees to learn and expand their skills.
One company that does a great job with this is AT&T. Through it’s AT&T University, the company provides leadership and management development courses in Dallas and satellite campuses around the country. They even partnered with Georgia Tech and Udacity to create the very first Online Master of Science in Computer Science degree.
30. Promote based on performance, not just tenure
The concept of promotion based solely on tenure is quickly fading away. As employees are starting to job hop more frequently, many new hires won’t stick around long enough to be promoted based on tenure. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average tenure of employees ages 24 to 34 is just 2.3 years.
Offering to reward employees based on performance rather than just tenure can motivate them to be more engaged and committed to growing the company even if they’re not going to be around long-term.
So far the tips we’ve given on how to improve employee engagement revolve around the workplace.
However, employee engagement isn’t just about what goes on in the office. Your team might like their job, but have issues going on in their personal life that prevent them from being as engaged as they’d like to be. Whether it be financial worries, relationship problems or overall lack of happiness, it can all manifest in your employee’s work performance.
According to Gallup’s State of the American Workplace Report we cited earlier, employees who’s personal wellbeing is struggling or suffering cost employers upward of $11,709 annually.
It’s not encouraged to intrude or overstep your boundaries into employees’ personal lives, but there are small things you can do to show that they’re more than just “workers.” Try these employee engagement ideas out to improve your team’s overall wellbeing inside and outside of the workplace, without being intrusive:
31. Celebrate personal wins
Is one of your employees getting married? Having a baby? Or maybe they just competed in some type of fitness competition. Celebrate it!
Giving your support to employees inside and outside of the office is a great way to show that they’re more than just a number.
32. Find out what your employees are most passionate about
Employees are more likely to be engaged if your company aligns with their values and passions. In fact, a study from Deloitte found that personal values/morals were the most influential factor for millennials when making decisions at work.
While your business values might not be 100% aligned with all of your employees, showing that there are similarities will make them feel more engaged and in line with your brand.
33. Stress the importance of a proper work-life balance
The same study from Deloitte also found that a good work/life balance is at the top of the list for millennial talent when financial benefits are excluded. If employees are unable to separate work from their personal life, it could cause them to feel less engaged while they’re there.
Try to avoid forcing employees to work overtime, sending work-related emails over the weekend and other things that spill over into their personal time.
34. Give spontaneous gifts
You don’t have to wait for birthdays or special occasions to reward your employees. Random acts of kindness are a good way to keep employees engaged throughout the year. Ordering cookies out of the blue or handing out something as small as a T-shirt at the right time could be enough to make your employees feel more appreciated.
Fun employee engagement strategies
Going to work every day shouldn’t be a dreadful experience. Adding some fun and excitement to your workplace can go a long way toward keeping your team fully engaged and happy. But just how important is being happy and having fun at work to employees? According to this infographic, 36% of employees would give up $5,000 a year of their salary to be happier at work.
Try these fun employee engagement activities to make the workplace a little more upbeat and happy:
35. Use gamification
With all the tools available today, companies are consistently coming up with creative ways to engage employees. Gamification is one the latest trends popping up at startups and larger corporations.
No, we’re not talking about the type of games we play between meetings to waste time. We’re talking about games that have a direct impact on customer education or employee participation. There are many examples of employee engagement games online and they vary widely by industry. The underlying premise of gamification is to promote and motivate desired behaviors through a reward system. These positive rewards act to reinforce the desired behaviors while making the entire process enjoyable for the employees.
For example, you can award badges, levels of rank or prizes to the employee who shares the most company content on social media, creates the most blog posts or has the highest number of responses to customer inquiries online. There are other platforms that allow you to create different “missions” or “quests” that teaches employees new skills and rewards them for it.
Gamification is an easy way to create healthy competition among teams, generate buzz and social proof, and promote employee engagement in a way that’s enjoyable to employees and beneficial to your business. In case you’re on the fence about the benefits of gamification, consider these examples:
- Spotify replaced traditional annual reviews with a gamified solution and got over 90% of employees to participate voluntarily.
- Ford gamified the learning portal sales and services teams use to get familiar with new car models, financing plans and new technology. The change resulted in a 417% increase in use and younger employees in particular were more engaged. The end result was better sales and customer satisfaction.
- NextJump used gamification to encourage employees to live healthier lifestyles. They were able to get two-thirds of employees into the gym as a result.
36. Hold a potluck
This is an oldie but goody. Potlucks are a fun way to bring your team together and interact with each other. Have volunteers bring in dishes for everyone to enjoy. You could even spice things up by creating different themes for each potluck. This is a great team engagement idea that brings your employees together for a communal lunch. It also gives individuals a chance to show off their culinary skills.
37. Let your employees decorate their workspace
Allowing your employees to hang pictures in their office or decorate to their liking can be a simple way to make employees feel comfortable in their working environment, which in turn has a huge impact on their overall engagement and productivity levels.
In fact, a survey from Gensler on workplace satisfaction found that employees with a choice over their workspace are happier and outperform those without a choice.
38. Hold staff contests
This is an easy way to get staff engaged and to have a little fun around the office. Have a photo contest and then let all employees cast their vote. Or you can try a pumpkin carving contest where the winner is determined by the number of “likes” it gets on social media. Showcase the winners on your website or social platforms to show your fans a behind-the-scenes look at some of the fun your employees have throughout the year.
39. Hold events for employees’ families & friends
Throw a “Casino Night” or a “Battle of the Bands Night” where your employees can bring a guest. Events like these can be a great way to give something back to your employees and have fun while doing it. It shows them how much you appreciate them and allows employees to hang out and get to know one another in a non-work setting, which can bolster relationships and improve overall cohesiveness amongst your team.
40. Create internal clubs
Bring your team together by creating a variety of clubs around their interests. Some people might like to read, in which case you could start a monthly book club. Others may be gamers or foodies. If you have enough people with shared hobbies, letting them get together in clubs to talk and interact is a creative way to bring employees together and feel engaged.
Benefits & HR engagement strategies
A nice salary isn’t enough to get employees engaged. In addition to money, employees are after benefits. In fact, 33% of people have turned down a job offer due to a lack of benefits.
It doesn’t stop there. One survey found 54% of employees choose benefits and paid time off as the biggest drivers for their engagement. If your benefits stop at two weeks vacation and a minimal health care package, give these employee engagement ideas a try.
41. Encourage employees to take vacation
A good way to create more balance is to make sure employees are taking enough vacation time. A survey from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that while 75% of employees say their workplace offered paid vacation days, only 35% used all of them, and even less (14%) used most of their paid days off. Plus, 17% said they hadn’t used any of their vacation days within the past 12 months.
As for why employees aren’t taking vacation, here are the top reasons:
- 60% said they wanted to save their vacation days for another time.
- 32% said there wouldn’t be enough people to cover their workload.
- 28% said their workload made it too difficult to take vacation.
- 25% said working more would allow them to get ahead at work.
When your employees are constantly working and don’t take time to unplug, they’re likely to experience burnout and drops in productivity. Encourage your team to take vacation time when they need it and they’ll be more engaged when they’re at work.
42. Offer a profit-sharing plan
Not every company will be in a position to do this, but a profit-sharing plan can be a very compelling way to engage employees. As the name implies, a profit sharing plan allows employees to get a share of the profits of a company based on its quarterly or annual earnings. Profit-sharing incentivizes employees to be more engaged since they have a sense of ownership and benefit from company growth. You can learn more about the ins and outs of profit-sharing plans in this article.
43. Provide options for benefits
Your company may provide benefits to employees, but how much flexibility do they have? You may have noticed a recurring theme in our list of employee engagement ideas of customization. Employees like options and choices in their workplace. That extends to benefits. In a survey from Metlife, 72% of employees said having the ability to customize their benefits would make them more loyal to their employer. Whether it’s various options for health insurance or extra benefits employees can opt-in for, add a level of customization to your benefits.
44. Be flexible with work hours
The standard eight hour workweek has been highly debated for quite some time. And some companies have made efforts to break free of the status quo. For instance, Dell’s goal is to have 50% of its global workforce on flexible schedules by 2020.
There have been multiple studies showing that there are benefits to working less than 40 hours a week, including this one from Australian National University. Upon examining 8,000 workers, they found that 39 hours per week is the ideal number. And since half of US workers report working over 50 hours per week, there’s plenty of room for improvement.
Get flexible by offering shorter work weeks or even letting employees choose their own hours. Not everyone is productive between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Employee recognition & incentives
Highlighting when your employees do good work and recognizing their efforts makes them feel appreciated and valued. As a result, they’re more likely to feel engaged. One survey found 90% of businesses that instituted value-based recognition saw a positive impact in employee engagement.
Here are some ideas to use recognition for improving employee engagement:
45. Recognize employees who go above & beyond
Research from Bersin found 87% of companies rely on tenure for employee recognition. While employees that stick around long-term should be recognized, that shouldn’t overshadow the contributions and efforts less senior employees put forth.
When employees go above and beyond their call of duty, make sure you show your appreciation and recognize their efforts. For instance, if a sales person exceeds their quota, share the accomplishment with your entire team. Not only will the recognized employee feel better about their work, but other employees will be encouraged to work their best to earn recognition as well.
46. Let employees know how their position helps the company
Sometimes it’s difficult for employees to understand how their work impacts the growth of the company. Showing team members how their work directly relates to the wellbeing of your company can make them feel more connected and engaged.
You can do this by sharing compliments from customers that relate to their job duties. Or if applicable, you could even show how their roles or projects they work on affect your bottomline. Even seemingly small wins can be enough to inspire employees to put up more effort and want to engage.
Teamwork & collaboration
In order to feel connected to your company, employees need to feel connected to each other. That starts with collaborating and working together. A report found 33% of employees say the ability to collaborate with colleagues makes them more loyal to their employers.
If your workplace doesn’t promote teamwork and collaboration, try these tactics to improve team engagement:
47. Rotate which employees lead team meetings
If you hold weekly or monthly meetings in your office, designate a different employee to lead each meeting. This “handing-off” of responsibilities shows your employees you trust them, increases engagement and also helps boost worker confidence.
48. Let employees shadow other teams
Many times, especially with younger team members, your employees are still trying to figure out their career path. Let them experience what other departments are like and allow for lateral movement within your company. This can be done with quarterly job shadowing opportunities. Not only will it help their individual career goals, but it’s a great tool for team engagement as well.
49. Hold a company hackathon
The origins of a hackathon stem from computer programmers, but the premise behind them can be used for any business. Gather all of your employees and hold brainstorming sessions where your entire team tries to solve a problem. Let everyone know at the outset that there are no wrong answers.
This is a great employee engagement idea that helps to build cohesiveness and team unity. Have fun with it and you’ll be surprised at all of the innovative ideas and creative solutions your employees will come up with. Believe it or not, some of Facebook’s key features such as the Like button and video came from hackathons, so it’s well worth the effort.
50. Try team-building activities
When you think of team-building activities, you probably have images of the cliche “trust fall” exercise. However, team-building activities can include more innovative and creative ideas like escape rooms or a scavenger hunt. The goal is to get your team to work together and exercise their strengths. Ideally, the experience will translate over into their work in the office as well.
Do employees know about the opportunities to engage with your company? If you offer a variety of ways for employees to engage but nobody takes you up on it, the problem could be a lack of communication. Our Q2 2017 data report found that the top three preferred methods of internal communication for employees are in-person meetings, email or an online hub.
Bridge the communication gap between your company and staff with these employee engagement ideas:
51. Share privileged information with your employees
Your staff should be “in the know” about new and exciting information that is happening within the company. By giving them this kind of inside information, they’ll feel like they’re truly a part of the team and will appreciate being a part of the circle of trust. This is an easy way to strengthen their dedication and commitment to the company while boosting overall engagement.
Just be careful not to share anything too sensitive, or it could potentially backfire. Some information that might be worth sharing are upcoming product updates and releases.
52. Let employees know that it’s ok to speak their mind
Some of the best ideas for your company can come from any of your employees. The question is, do they feel comfortable enough to share their thoughts?
In one study of over 10,000 restaurant employees, employees whose superiors frequently took action on their ideas went to them 10% more frequently than employees whose bosses didn’t represent them. Encourage your team to speak their mind by acting on their feedback when they give it, and frequently asking for their input.
53. Have company-wide meetings or all-hands
Bringing your entire team together to discuss achievements, company news or address concerns is a great way to encourage engagement. Building a bridge between employees at all levels of the company puts everyone on the same field and creates an atmosphere that inspires collaboration.
54. Use tools for remote communication
For larger companies or teams that work remotely, it’s crucial to use tools that allow everyone to be connected. Our Q2 data report also found that 22% of millennials say their company’s internal communication doesn’t work because they work remotely, so information doesn’t flow to them.
Luckily there are plenty to choose from. You can use Slack or Google Hangouts for chatting. Google’s suite of office tools makes it easy to share and collaborate on documents together.
Of course, these tools aren’t limited to remote teams. Use any of them to help your employees easily communicate, engage and collaborate.
55. Consistently ask for feedback
Giving feedback to your employer can be intimidating, so most employees won’t voluntarily give you much negative criticism. Show that you’re genuinely interested in improving engagement in the workplace by asking for feedback whenever possible. Whether it’s through one-to-ones or surveys, be proactive about getting feedback from your team.
Community-based employee engagement initiatives
Getting active in your community through philanthropy or community service brings your employees together for a shared cause. It’s also something that helps younger employees feel more loyal and engaged with your company.
Show your support for your community with these employee engagement ideas centered around giving and volunteering:
56. Support local business
The community is full of amazing local businesses your company can support. Ask employees what businesses they like and choose recommended organizations that align with your company values. Inform your company about the businesses which you’ve picked to support based on their nominations and involve your team in coming up with ways you can show your support.
Support could mean partnering up on initiatives or promoting each other somehow. Get creative with ways you can work together, and even get your whole company involved.
57. Get your company involved in volunteer work
Find out what charitable causes your employees are passionate about. Then set aside time each month to give back to different charities through volunteer work. Invite any employees that want to help out and do it during work hours to make it easier on their schedules.
This not only engages employees on an individual level, but also brings members of your team closer together while supporting a great cause.
58. Offer the skills of your employees & yourself
There are countless people, much like your staff, who want to further their career or their education. Ask staff in different departments if they’d be interested in speaking at a class or a seminar about their area of expertise. This showcases your employees as thought-leaders and can be of great value to those looking to further their education about your industry.
59. Sponsor an event
The brilliant minds at your company have a great deal to offer the community. Sponsor an all-day event where you invite individuals and other companies in your verticals. Ask departments and individuals to present to those who attend. It can be anything from a project they are working on, case studies they have done, a Q&A session or even their opinion on what direction they think the industry is going. This actively engages your employees with others and gives them a sense of accomplishment, ownership and pride.
60. Participate in a charitable event
Is there a 5K run for a charity going on in your city? Or maybe a food drive during the holidays. Even if you’re not sponsoring an event, you can still bring your team together to participate. Spread the word that your company will be participating and encourage employees to chip in if they’d like.
More ideas for employee engagement
We’ve explored a long list of ideas and employee engagement best practices. But there are plenty of other ways to motivate your team and create a more engaging workplace.
If you want to improve productivity, have higher retention rates, boost workplace morale and even increase your bottom line, give any of these employee engagement ideas a try.
How employee engagement varies among generations
The workplace is growing larger and more diverse everyday. Research suggests that we’ll soon have a multigenerational workforce so diverse, that there will be five different generations crammed into the same office space—each with their own preferences, skills and set of priorities.
Managing the spread of generational characteristics among your employees might not always be the easiest task—but it’s critical to your business’ growth. As disengagement continues to cost the United States nearly $500 billion each year, it’s up to leaders to address the concerns of the multigenerational workforce head on, and start thinking about the steps they need to take for success.
This begs the question: How do you connect with employees of different age groups? How do you respond to generational differences in the workplace, and how can you ensure engagement across such diverse personalities?
Approaching generational differences in the workplace
Before we jump head-first into steps for engaging various generations across your workforce, it’s important to remember that employees are people, not generational identities. If you focus entirely on statistics that suggest the “silent generation” (1928-1945) are always executives, or that Millennials (1981-1997) are obsessed with technology, you’ll be building a culture based on stereotypes—which we know doesn’t necessarily cultivate the most positive work environment.
The only sustainable way to maintain and manage a multigenerational workforce is to build your strategy on a solid foundation of strong communication. Integrating tools and processes that make communication across the workplace simpler and more available to everyone is critical to strong engagement levels.
Managers and leaders need to make themselves available to employees, as establishing relationships not only helps with retention, but it also increases productivity and engagement in a big way. Above all else, communication is the heart of a multigenerational workforce.
How to engage the Millennial generation
Millennials aren’t so different from the other generations in the workforce. Like Baby Boomers, 48% of Millennials feel that compensation is crucial when applying for a new job. The main difference is that Millennials are constantly seeking new opportunities. Studies show that 48% of Millennials are actively looking for new employment, compared to 44% of Baby Boomers.
Millennials are “consumers of the workplace.” They know that their skills are in demand, so they compare the offers in their industry, looking for anything that suits their immediate goals. In the past, employees were forced to battle for the best jobs, which is why much of the Baby Boomer and Gen X generations clung to their positions for decades at a time. Now, 42% of Millennial workers expect to change jobs every 1 to 3 years. To overcome the threat of a more fickle workforce, today’s companies need to find a way to properly sell themselves, while also offering Millennials what they want.
1. Use vision to drive employee advocacy
40% of the Millennials who plan to stay in their jobs for longer require value and meaning in their careers. In fact, 6 in 10 employees cite “sense of purpose” as a key reason for staying with their current employer.
Explaining the vision of your organization can be powerful in more ways than one. Sharing your values with your employees allow all workers to feel part of a unified team.
This can also help to drive employee advocacy, which is crucial to attracting new Millennial employees—74% seek referrals from current workers in an organization when looking for a new job.
2. Provide opportunities for growth
All employees expect to grow within their organization, but this is particularly true for the Millennial generation. In fact, 87% of Millennials say that professional development is essential to their work satisfaction.
HR and leaders in modern businesses should focus on implementing development and training programs that support the skill improvements of workers. Give staff room for growth, and they’re more likely to reward you with their loyalty.
3. Ensure open and transparent communication
Part of abolishing the traditional leadership environment means removing the “annual review” from the workforce. In fact, 42% of Millennials expect feedback every week. However, creating a culture of constant communication can benefit your entire multi-generational workforce.
Replace the annual review with regular reinforcement and group conversations. Make sure that every worker—no matter which generation—feels recognized. When people feel valued and important, they’re more likely to stay with their companies longer.
4. Ensure work/life balance
Finally, work/life balance and job security are the two main drivers of Millennial engagement. Everyone, no matter their generation, wants a good, stable job. The difference is that Millennials are questioning whether their career is giving them the chance to really evolve as people. Millennials don’t think of their jobs as “just a job,” they consider it a significant part of their lives. That’s why 70% of Millennials work up to 20 extra hours outside of the office each week.
As the workplace environment evolves more rapidly, and companies struggle to manage a multi-generational workforce, the easiest way to keep everyone happy might be to allow Millennials the flexibility they crave, which includes freedom in the form of versatile scheduling options, telecommuting and new technology. Creating a structure that’s flexible could help to keep all of your employees engaged.
Engaging Generation Z in the workplace
Just as we’ve started to get a handle on Gen Z in the workplace, a new wave of talent is already on the horizon. But before we tackle this next generation, managers and leaders need to get a better understanding of what it is that keeps Gen Z engaged.
By 2020, the Gen Z population will reach 2.56 billion.
Despite common beliefs, Gen Z isn’t just a next-level Millennial.
This group is actually inclined to be much more private and reserved—making them harder to engage than their Millennial counterparts. In fact, 70% of Generation Z would rather talk to just about anyone other than their boss about their problems.
Additionally, where Millennials are eager to job-hop, Gen Z-ers seek job security. Generation Z looks for an environment where they can be independent and showcase their true potential. Their competitive attitude, desire to speak out and commitment to their careers make them incredible attributes to your advocacy team. To engage them effectively, you’re going to need a strategy to earn their loyalty and bring them out of their shell.
1. Support your true digital natives
Millennials have traditionally been described as the “digital natives” of our community. However, with Gen Z in the workplace, we’re starting to see what this concept really looks like. These employees have been living in a world of connectivity and smartphones for as long as they can remember, so it’s not surprising that 92% of them have a digital footprint.
The fact that Gen Z can comfortably embrace new technologies means that they could even lead the wave of initial adoption as you introduce employee advocacy software into your business. These professionals pick up software easily, and move seamlessly between platforms, inspiring and educating other staff members along the way.
2. Embrace additional social channels
With most demographics, it’s important to introduce employee advocacy programs one step at a time, allowing your workforce to get comfortable with new practices. However, an immediate omnichannel approach might be more conducive to Gen Z in the workplace.
Research shows that 85% of this demographic learn about products and services on social media, and they’re 59% more likely to engage with their favorite brands on these channels too. Though older employees might be more comfortable with platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, Gen Z approach sharing from a visual perspective on platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat.
Employers could even recruit Generation Z for YouTube marketing strategies, as this group is 2x more likely to turn to video for help than their Millennial peers. If you want to really get the most out of your Gen Z staff, don’t just assume they want to use the same platforms as their coworkers. Ask them which channels they work best in.
3. Let them be independent
Not only are Gen Z a more competitive group than their predecessors, but they value their independence too. This demographic prefers office space to themselves, and that demonstrates some of their private nature. They’re also incredibly entrepreneurial, and ready to do whatever it takes to rise through the ranks at a firm.
Interestingly, some Gen Z staff will even skip higher education if they think it will support them better in the workforce. However, that doesn’t mean that they don’t want constant opportunities to develop their skills. Just like the millennials that came before them, they expect plenty of opportunities for training on the job.
Rather than micro-managing your Gen Z advocates, make sure that they have the training they need to implement your program, then leave them to explore their independence.
4. Provide praise & recognition
Remember, this generation is ready to work hard, but they expect to be rewarded for it. Recognition is something that’s growing increasingly important in the average business, for every demographic. With Gen Z in the workplace, it’s not enough for brands to only offer feedback once a year.
Importantly, while your staff might be willing to share their thoughts and feelings about your brand on social media, they expect a face-to-face approach from coworkers and managers. If you want to praise your Gen Z workers, then you need to be willing to look them in the eye when you’re thanking them for a job well done.
Gen Z is all about establishing real connections in the workforce. While this might mean that managers need to take more time out of their busy schedule, it also builds an affinity with employees that they’re unlikely to forget. Since the best employee advocacy comes from team members who truly love the company they work for, it makes sense to go the extra mile.
Celebrate diversity in your multigenerational workforce
While it’s important to look at your workforce as a diverse community of people with unique characteristics, rather than a group of generational characteristics, the truth is that you’re bound to notice some differences between professionals. However, that doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing—in fact, according to Forbes, 85% of large global companies believe that diversity is crucial to innovation in the workforce.
By implementing a mix of generations into your workplace, you gain insights from countless different experiences and personalities working together. What’s more, the skills of your staff can begin to grow. After all, co-workers can not only learn from each other in formal training programs, but also get together for powerful cross-generational mentoring relationships. Both reciprocal and reverse mentoring programs that pair seasoned executives and younger professionals are becoming more popular across many offices, as different generations have diverse skills to teach each other.
As a leader in a multigenerational workforce, the key to success comes from embracing and understanding diversity, and using the knowledge you gain to enhance engagement. By building on a platform of communication, you can create a workplace that’s truly inclusive for professionals of any background and any generation.
Forget bias & stereotypes
While it’s important to remember that different generations do have different preferences, that doesn’t mean that you should try to place everyone into their own stereotypical silo. Every Millennial isn’t necessarily glued to their phone or dependent on social media, just like all Baby-Boomers aren’t entirely focused on a steady wage or climbing the corporate ladder. While generational stereotypes seem to abound wherever you look, it’s important not to allow your leadership team to fall in line—nothing good comes from narrowing your view of an entire group.
Though there’s nothing wrong with opening your mind to the generational characteristics that present themselves in your office with the intention to adjust and respond accordingly, but you should also be equally as focused on bridging the gaps between your diverse communities. Rather than assuming your workers will want different things or shown preferential treatment, give them a chance to share their ambitions and concerns with you and with each other so you can strive to create benefit packages and solutions that suit everyone.
Bridge the gap in motivation
Remember, while a one-size-fits-all approach to benefits is rarely effective, these desires remain universal to any employee:
- Respect: All staff members want to feel heard, and appreciated
- Opportunities: Everyone wants opportunity for learning and growth
- Progression: Each of your workers will want to know that there’s work development available
- Recognition: Everyone wants to be recognized for their work
Ultimately, as tempting as it can be to ignore the differences within your workforce, doing so will only create dissension and disengagement. Instead, be prepared to acknowledge the differences among your team and use them as tools to create a communication strategy that’s personalized and inclusive of multiple styles and employee preferences.
Improving engagement involves a variety of factors. The most important thing to keep in mind is it won’t happen overnight. It’s more than simply setting up occasional fun activities for employees. Engagement has to become a core piece of your company at every every level.