Five strategies to improve employee engagement

With the year coming to an end, companies are now analysing their 2018 performance and most mapping out strategies to enhance growth come the New Year.

An often underrated part of a company’s upward trajectory is their employees’ engagement.

This is an employees’ emotional commitment to what the firm wants to achieve, its goals and mission. 

An engaged employee is willing to put in extra effort, like working into the night and beyond for a client, to make a difference for the company.

They are enthusiastic about their job and are dedicated to their day-to-day activities because they understand how their work fits into the overall mission of the company.

They believe in the overall mission of the organisation. Employee engagement differs from satisfaction - the measure of how happy and satisfied an employee is at work - in various ways.

While satisfied employees enjoy coming to work every day, engaged staff will be genuinely interested in improving your company’s products and services, and bring in the energy to promote innovative thinking.

So, what can you do to inspire this emotional commitment and achieve employee engagement in your company? The five tips to improve employee engagement include:

Promoting a learning culture

Do your employees feel you have an interest in their career growth and personal development, beyond just a focus on profit-making for the firm?

There are many ways to promote a learning culture, from trainings in areas that will help your employees grow and develop such as training on giving and receiving feedback, mentorship programmes where younger employees can benefit from the advice of more tenured members to giving employees opportunities to try new things and learn on the job.

One idea from a client that we particularly love is once a month inviting outside speakers to lecture on a topic that is interesting for their team.

Positive work environment

Is your office the kind of place your employees look forward to being each day? Is it comfortable? Is it accessible to eliminate the hassle of getting to work, or do you have flexible hours to account for different commutes and family obligations?

These are among the things you should ask yourself as you think about your office space. The environment your employees walk into daily has a tremendous impact on engagement levels and productivity, and even how they go about their work.

For instance, open floor plans encourage more collaboration across members, while cubicles encourage more individual work.

Empowered decision making

Giving your employees autonomy about how they structure their work and approach their projects goes a long way in promoting ownership, job satisfaction, and engagement. 

When an employee knows they can get things done without you breathing down their neck, they will put in the extra effort to ensure things are done and in the right way.

Freedom also boosts the confidence of your employees - when employees feel they are trusted and valued by management, they are more likely to creatively problem solve and develop in their roles.

Of course, not every role and not every individual will thrive with full autonomy.

Understanding each employee’s needs and how that maps to their role within the organisation will help you determine who needs extra support and who is at their best with minimal guidance.

Clarity on career advancement and incentives

Both potential and existing employees want to see how their career path could evolve while at your organisation. We recently conducted a survey for over 6,000 job seekers which revealed the top reason for candidates to apply for a job with a company is to look for opportunities for career growth compared to competitive salary, responsibility in the role, reputation for stability, and a well-known brand name.

Career paths can look at different organisations; what matters most is clarity for employees on how they might grow and develop within your company. When someone appreciates the firm’s rewards structure, they are more likely to work hard and do all it takes to get to the next level, all contributing to levels of commitment, loyalty, and engagement.

 It is also crucial to communicate clearly what an employee needs to accomplish to get a promotion within your organisation. This way, employees are more likely to trust you with their career growth and will work smart to ensure they meet what it takes to get promoted.

 Performance Reviews

One of the best ways to set clear expectations with teammates and evaluate their success is through performance reviews.

It is also a great way to ensure that employees feel they are being grown and developed in their work.

Research shows that feedback is best given in two main ways: first, in the moment, and second, at planned performance reviews.

During performance reviews, you should look back at past performance compared to performance goals, as well as forward-looking towards expectations for the next quarter.

The writer is the Managing Director at Shortlist and was recently named to Forbes’ 2019 list of 30 Under 30 Social Entrepreneurs

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