If you're reading this, then you probably already know how a solid employee engagement strategy can reduce things like turnover and absenteeism, and improve both productivity and culture.
But not all employee engagement strategies are as effective as they might seem. Read on for the best strategies to improve employee engagement this year. We promise they’re easier than you might think.
1. Align With Intrinsic Motivations
To motivate employees to “be engaged”, companies often fall back on extrinsic rewards like points and prizes because — well, because that's what they've always done.
But doing so overlooks an important misunderstanding of motivation: The key isn't to use carrots and sticks to motivate people to do what we want them to do (in this case “be engaged”). The key is to align engagement with their existing intrinsic motivations.
B.J. Fogg, the Founder of the Behavior Design Lab at Stanford University, has two maxims for behavior design. The first is: “Help people do what they already want to do.”
So, if you want to increase employee engagement, don't ask them to do something you want them to do. Instead, help them do something they already want to do.
Here, the good news is that those things aren't likely at odds. Most employees want to be healthy, support their families, give back to their community, help others, and contribute to a positive work culture.
Help your employees be successful at these things and you won't have to motivate them to “be engaged”.
2. Focus on Employee Wellbeing
Since most people want to be healthy and less stressed, one of the major opportunities to increase employee engagement is by focusing on wellness.
According to the latest numbers from Gallup, fewer than one in four U.S. employees feel strongly that their organization cares about their well-being. Shockingly, this is the lowest percentage in nearly a decade.
The good news is that a focus on employee wellness can mean any number of things including physical, mental, financial, and even social well-being.
The other good news is that it's not hard to weave these types of well-being opportunities into your culture. Here are a few ideas that are easy to implement:
- Empower employees to walk for charity with Charity Miles
- Encourage walking meetings when possible
- Discourage non-urgent emails after 8 PM so employees can spend more quality time with their families and get more sleep
- Offer monthly healthy cooking classes to teach easy, healthy recipes they can make at home
- Provide resources for mental health or mental health days separate from vacation or sick time
- Make sure your snack areas are stocked with fresh fruit instead of bagels and potato chips.
With a focus on overall wellness, even outside of the office, employees may feel less stressed, more valued, and therefore be more engaged at work.
3. Make it Personal
If we\'re going to align with employees' intrinsic motivations, it's important to recognize that employees have different things that make them tick.
Therefore, lean on employee feedback to learn what employees are passionate about, and then offer a variety of ways to engage that align with those interests.
If you find out a group of employees are really passionate about your city's soccer team, then maybe you offer an opportunity to go to a game together.
If you find out that a group of employees are really passionate about cooking, then maybe offer a virtual cooking class with an interesting chef.
Just don't offer the football game and cooking class on the same day. You likely have employees that would be interested in both — so having a variety of opportunities can keep things fresh too!
4. Encourage Communication
Employees may like autonomy and independence as they complete day-to-day tasks. But when it comes to boosting employee engagement, emphasize communication and community building.
Here we’re not just talking about corporate communications. The best employee engagement strategies provide an opportunity for different team members to interact in new ways and discuss things other than work. Additionally, a common goal helps to foster a sense of community, even when teams are working remotely.
When I was in high school, I interned for an event production company. Every summer, the company dedicated a day to “Summer School” where employees would teach a quick 15-30 minute class on something they’re passionate about.
One person taught a class on “The Best Restaurants in NYC You’ve Never Heard Of”. Another gave a presentation on “How to Think Like a Spy”. This day gave everyone a chance to personally shine and contribute to the company’s cultural tapestry.
When teams have the chance to communicate in an easygoing way, it can improve the employee experience at work, strengthen bonds, improve communication flows, and create an overall more positive work environment.
5. Make it Easy
Above all, it’s important to keep your employee engagement strategy simple. The best strategies to improve employee engagement are easy to participate in!
Many organizations rely on “challenges” to engage employees, but this isn’t always the best strategy.
A “challenge” implies something is difficult, no matter how fun it may seem. Even if your employee engagement strategy is fun, labeling it as a challenge can make your employees question if they have the time or energy to do it.
At Charity Miles, we can help make your employee engagement strategy impactful while making it as easy as possible for employees to participate. You don't have to be a runner or cyclist. Just walk and we help you turn every step into money for charity.
Of course, not everything can be as easy as Charity Miles. But the key point here is to minimize barriers to action whenever possible.
If you're looking for an easy, personal, meaningful, and convenient way to align with your employees' intrinsic values, improve wellness, and foster a culture of engagement, we've got you covered.