When employees feel like they’re part of the team, the company, their enthusiasm for what they’re doing, and their commitment to their role and the organization as a whole increase, and this is what we call employee engagement.
But employee engagement goes above and beyond employees just performing their respective roles. And it’s beyond just responsible team members and reporting to work to submit deliverables on time.
Many business managers associate employee engagement with the terms “employee satisfaction” or “employee experience”, but there’s a more profound meaning to employee engagement. In essence, employee engagement cultivates a happy and productive workforce, even in a remote work setup.
So how can you boost employee engagement? The seven basic principles look like this:
#1 – Set Clear Goals and Objectives
Establishing clear plans and courses of action is the first and most important step for enhancing employee engagement. Everything your company or team needs to achieve must be unambiguously presented to your employees. There’s a good reason you have your vision and mission statement published in the company handbooks.
Just like the vision and mission statement, short-term and immediate goals must also be made clear to everyone that plays a role within the organization.
When you clearly state the goals and objectives, you’re emphasizing the role everyone plays and highlighting the importance of each team member fulfilling their obligations. By being clear on goals and objectives, you’re setting an invisible target or “finish line” that creates a sense of achievement whenever objectives are reached and tasks are completed.
Many businesses were forced to adopt new ways of working due to the COVID-19 pandemic, relying on remote teams to still get the job done during some of the most uncertain times. But even during challenging times like these, you can keep your teams motivated and stimulate a deeper involvement in the company’s affairs by being transparent, setting goals, and highlighting the importance of every team player’s respective role.
#2 – Exchanging Feedback
By encouraging your employees to provide feedback, you’re tapping into one of the most potent ways to raise employee engagement. When you make it clear that everyone has the right to voice their thoughts on work-related matters, you’re equipping them with a morale-boosting tool.
When employees feel like their ideas and opinions matter, it instills an idea that they’re valuable to the organization. It also motivates them to work harder and ensure they do what’s expected of them.
Feedback from employees helps address and solve problems and increasing operational efficiency. It also helps prevent anyone harboring ill will or discontent. When your team members are all allowed and encouraged to express their concerns and reactions to decisions or proposals freely, disgruntlement is much less likely to occur.
#3 – Social Gatherings
There are few better ways to engage people than bringing them together on a social level. Yes, there’s a growing prevalence of non-personal communication, but there is a lot of power in personal interaction. Social interactions create connections that are much stronger than video calls and instant messaging.
The experts say that just 10 minutes of in-person socializing is worth 20 hours of Zoom calls and up to 300 messages. Even remote team members and teleworkers can benefit from occasional social gatherings with fellow employees and management.
Not only will your employees get to know each other better, but it also sets the stage for teams to clear out any issues and encourages cooperation.
#4 – Collaboration
Collaboration in the workplace is the completion of a task by more than one employee or team. While some tasks are perfect for individuals or smaller groups, some projects can be more efficiently undertaken and completed with the help of more heads and hands.
Market studies and surveys are a perfect example of where collaboration can make a huge difference. A team’s combined effort ensures that the task is carried out faster and more efficiently, but collaboration doesn’t stop at just making tasks easier. Collaboration also offers opportunities for employees to bond and forge positive relationships. It encourages teamwork and can also be used as a cost-cutting measure for specific projects.
Collaboration aims to stimulate harmonious working relationships within the workplace to help employees become more than mere co-workers.
#5 – Mentoring
Helping employees identify their weaknesses, work on their strengths, and boost their efficiency is a brilliant way to keep them engaged. Some managers tend to have the misconception that all they need to do to have a good team is hire the best people and give them the standard orientation for their job.
They then let them proceed with the job with minimal intervention. Worse, they only resort to admonishment and punishment to “correct” their employee’s mistakes or attempt to boost productivity.
Many managers fail to recognize the value of mentoring. Some may have close to valid reasons, as they may be overwhelmed by their own workload, but it’s important to exert utmost effort to become a mentor.
Mentorship, by the way, does not necessarily mean babysitting your employees or spoon-feeding everything they need to know to do a better job. It’s more about guiding employees to the most effective methods of doing things.
Instead of reprimanding employees for struggling over a task or imposing penalties for errors, a mentoring mindset entails that a manager helps employees address the problems that hinder them from working at their optimum capacity. Mentors can also reprimand their mentees, but they always try to rectify mistakes or missteps first before rebuking or imposing punishments.
Their primary goal is to help improve the situation instead of finding faults and making employees suffer negative consequences.
#6 – Promoting a People Culture
Emphasizing that every person with the team deserves to be treated as a human being (and not just a worker) is essential for boosting employee engagement. While it is imperative to recognize the potential of your employees, you also have to acknowledge their limitations. Your employees are not automatons or machines that exist only to work for the company.
There’s no such thing as a perfect employee that always meets every single expectation. Illness and accidents are an inevitable part of life. We all go through occasional mood changes, and emotional problems can easily affect our work. Nobody is immune to personal problems and unexpected problems. And when dealing with employees, you need to take this all into account. Try to help employees achieve a better work-life balance.
Some of them may no longer be productive because of circumstances that prevent them from delivering their optimum performance. It would be great if you can offer alternative work arrangements. Consider allowing employees to telecommute if it makes life a little easier for them. The daily commute coupled with extreme cases of traffic congestion could be taking away a lot of their time and energy (having to wake up way earlier than usual to make up for the lost time on the road).
Don’t forget to show appreciation and gratitude. This applies to both the employees and management. If employees do well, take the time to acknowledge their accomplishments. If the management is actively doing measures to help employees work at their best, it’s only proper for the management to get credit for it.
#7 – Competitions
This strategy does not always work, but when it does, it paves the way for a positively competitive work environment. Making employees or teams compete can motivate them to work harder. Be cautious in pitting people or teams against each other, though, as the competitive sense may adversely impact relationships among employees.
Intense competitions, especially when there are significant prizes and penalties involved, may compel some to cheat or resort to deceitful and unfair tactics.
The key here is to develop schemes that truly boost motivation instead of doing something like a carrot stick approach to solicit the preferred responses. Minimize the use of short-term rewards or punishments when trying to create a competitive workplace.
Focus on making everyone appreciate the fulfillment of having done their best to advance the company’s success. More importantly, make sure a loss (in the competition) becomes a learning experience and emphasize that you believe a losing team or employee can do better next time and become the next winner.
Employee engagement is incredibly beneficial in achieving greater productivity. It establishes a sense of belonging, which motives everyone within your team to put in their best effort.
It promotes teamwork and the mentality of working together for everyone’s
benefit. It only makes sense for companies to try the strategies discussed above to boost employee engagement. And thanks to the significant tech advancements we’ve seen lately, no team member is too remote to reach.
Employee engagement is still something companies can focus on during the pandemic, and if done well, it’ll help your employees emerge as a more robust workforce in a post-pandemic world.