We know that HR teams need no convincing: employee engagement is important! But sometimes, the world of engagement can seem complex and implementing new employee engagement strategies can feel like an uphill climb.
So many positive outcomes are born from engaged teams. We’re sure you’ve heard it all before; increased performance and productivity, better collaboration, stronger working relationships, improved health and wellbeing, lower employee turnover, higher quality customer service.
But you’re not here for a list of benefits. You’re here to find a little inspiration from strategies that are proven to improve employee engagement—and we’ve got plenty of those!
What exactly is employee engagement?
What is employee engagement? That’s quite a big question—employee engagement is a very difficult thing to define, but the essence of it is a bit of a combination of:
- Job satisfaction
- Motivation to perform
- A sense of belonging
- Intent to stay
- An emotional commitment to organisational goals
At Hive, our People Scientists measure engagement based around three key drivers: loyalty, pride and advocacy. But because engagement represents something slightly different for different organisations, some choose to add in other drivers as well.
So it’s important to take the time to figure out exactly what an engaged employee is for your organisation!
Employee engagement strategies
Since you’re here, the big question you’re likely asking is: what can we put in place to raise levels of engagement?
When it really comes down to it, employee engagement is just the output of something bigger—the overall employee experience at your organisation. So, with that in mind, your employee engagement strategies should focus on what creates truly great working experiences for your people.
Thankfully, we’re packed with internal expertise on how to do exactly that, from our People Scientists to our Product specialists—so settle in for seven of the most effective employee engagement strategies, proven to boost engagement across plenty of organisations!
1. Focus on learning and career development
It’s no secret that learning and development (L&D) can be a key driver of engagement; 80% of people reported feeling more engaged at work when they had great L&D opportunities. But it’s not just the employees seeing the benefit; it’s a win-win situation for your organisation too! With business benefits ranging from improved retention to higher productivity to better collaboration, it really is a no-brainer.
But these things don’t happen on their own; you need processes in place to make sure you’re enabling people to really learn and develop their skills. So, here are some employee engagement strategies focused around learning and development for you to consider:
- Create individual personal development plans
- Invest in online L&D platforms
- Enable career coaching, internally or externally
- Make use of internal expertise through knowledge shares
2. Nurture a culture of recognition
Recognition matters—and can often be the difference between staying and leaving. 66% of people would quit their job if they felt unappreciated, jumping to 76% among millennials.
The issue with many employee recognition schemes is that they can be standalone, often isolated from real day-to-day achievements. What’s needed is a holistic view that looks at bigger-picture initiatives—like bonuses or appreciation days—but also embeds recognition into everyday culture.
Here are a few suggestions to work into your employee engagement strategies:
- Use peer-to-peer recognition tools (like Hive Fives)
- Make sure managers give regular, positive feedback
- Celebrate successes publicly with organisation-wide announcements
- Align recognition to organisational values
3. Create transparency at all levels
Transparency at all levels builds trust across your organisation—from the front-line to senior leaders—which leads to happier and more engaged teams.
Above all else, transparency helps people to understand how their role contributes to the bigger picture—your organisation’s mission and purpose. That level of transparency aligns and empowers your people to work in collaboration towards a shared goal, bringing diverse teams together as a unified front.
And when people work together with a shared purpose, engagement soars and your organisational values will sit right at the heart of your culture. Transparency at all levels is about leading by example, so here are just a few employee engagement strategies to help you achieve exactly that:
- Offer face-time with leaders and execs across the organisation
- Share results and progress on both organisation-wide and departmental goals—inspired by Hive Deeks (our quarterly, company-wide meeting!)
- Have open communication channels
- Involve people in the decision-making process
4. Take a holistic approach to employee wellbeing
Gone are the days of ad hoc employee wellbeing initiatives, welcome to the era of holistic wellbeing strategies that people very much expect from their employer. Workplace wellbeing has become one of the biggest priorities for HR, which is no surprise.
Disruption and forced organisational change have recently brought wellbeing front and centre for those who didn’t focus on it nearly as much in the past—definitely change for the better.
Ultimately, employees who feel mentally and physically well are more likely to be engaged at work and be less prone to burnout. But that’s no surprise, is it? Here are just a handful of wellbeing ideas to factor into your employee engagement strategies:
- Paid volunteering days
- Headspace subscription
- Mental-health first-aiders
- Improved holiday and leave policies
- Personal-resilience training
5. Empower employee voice (and act on it!)
For years now, large baseline surveys have been many organisation’s tool of choice when it comes to measuring and improving engagement; and while baseline employee engagement surveys still have a very important place in the engagement world, we need more!
Continuously listening to what your people have to say is vital to understanding where you need to take quick action with your employee engagement strategies, solving problems before they have a negative impact. Here are a few ways you can empower employee voice to boost your employee engagement strategy:
- Always-on listening tools (like Hive Open Door)
- Employee engagement groups
- Pulse surveys for specific and targeted feedback
- Focus groups to support action planning off the back of feedback
6. Offer flexible working options
Dare we build yet another argument for the benefits of flexible working? Absolutely! And we always will; the age old “bums in seats” approach no longer has a place.
Allowing your people to choose how they work and when they work promotes so many different benefits. Everyone has unique home lives and personal circumstances to take into account, and so giving people the freedom to do their work creates more committed employees with excellent work-life balance.
Of course, ultimate flexibility isn’t always an option. From construction to teaching to customer relationships to internal team meetings—and everything in between—there’s always an element of control on the organisation’s side. But, that doesn’t mean you still can’t offer flexible benefits to your people, in a way that works for them.
Here are just a few flexible working options to consider as part of your employee engagement strategy:
- Hybrid working options
- Reduced or part-time hours
- Staggered hours with flexible start and finish times
- Compressed hours, like 4-day working weeks
7. Create effective and motivating managers
We’ve all heard the saying before, “people don’t leave organisations, they leave managers”.
That’s likely because line managers are one of the biggest differentials when it comes to employee engagement. 70% of variance in engagement scores, to be exact.
Line managers have a direct impact on motivation, productivity, job satisfaction and working relationships (to name a few)… but the reality is that many managers—58%, according to one study—have never received any form of management training.
So, here are a few ways you can upskill and support your managers to help boost levels of employee engagement across your teams:
- Focus on team building
- Improve conflict management skills
- Train to have difficult conversations, especially around wellbeing
It’s time to start thinking strategically
While all of these employee engagement strategies are great, what really drives engagement will be unique to your organisation and people.
So, to really get strategic with your new employee engagement strategy, you need the right approach to measuring, tracking and analysing employee insights in place.
Our employee voice platform and flagship feedback tools are designed to give you the full view of what matters most to your people, right now. From baseline and pulse surveys to always-on listening tools and two-way messaging, our confidential tools give your people the freedom to speak up about anything and everything, instantly!
Alongside our dashboard, reports and plenty of other handy features, our People Scientists are on hand to help uncover the real story behind your data, discover your organisations engagement drivers and drive meaningful change.
We’d love to tell you more about it! For a quick overview of Hive, our platform and partnership, just reach out here and we’ll do the rest.
In the meantime, grab your free pulse survey below, packed with questions proven to track employee engagement 👇
7 Survey Questions Proven to Track Employee Engagement
Inside this guide, you’ll find 7 scale survey questions that are proven employee engagement trackers; making them awesome core questions for surveying.