July 25, 2017

Why employee engagement matters, and how to improve it

As your business grows and the workload grows with it, it’s important to make sure that your employees are engaged. Employee engagement might sound like a fluff feel-good metric — but focusing on engagement often results in a strong ROI and increased productivity, which is always a good thing as a business owner. Here are four ways to get (and keep) your employees happy and engaged.

Keep your employees informed

Everyone loves surprises…except when they don’t. Even though practicing transparency can be difficult, it can help your employees trust you more. That trust, in turn, can lead to higher engagement. In a recent Quantum Workplace report, the most important factors for happiness and engagement were trust in the leaders and senior management of the company. And a survey from TINYpulse found that transparency was the #1 factor in employee engagement.

Be upfront with your employees, even when it’s bad news. Nobody wants to hear about a project failing (or impending layoffs) through the rumor mill instead of from their boss.

You should also be clear with employees about more positive aspects. Share rewards or incentives for achieving specific metrics, or what the career development paths are in your company. Employees like to know what kind of results they can get from putting in the work. This makes them more likely to want to do that work.

Create a strong culture

That same TINYpulse survey also found that only 42% of employees know their company’s vision, mission, and cultural values. That’s a big missed opportunity — having a shared company culture and vision can help unite and engage employees. Make sure that your brand manifesto, goals, and values are easy to remember and something that your employees will actually want to get behind.

When creating these goals and values, try to focus on the end result of your brand or company. In copywriting terms, you want to frame them around benefits, not features. Instead of looking for the best cakes in the area (yum), you can focus on how your food brings employees and teams together during good times.

And make sure that your company values are actually carried out in the day to day work. If your company values empowerment, but your actual policies teeter on micromanagement, there’s a disconnect there — and your employees will be able to tell.

Let people have a stake

It’s hard for employees to feel like their input matters when decisions are passed down from on-high. Make sure that you’re involving your employees in major decisions that will affect the product, the team, and their workload. There are a few ways to implement this. You can have regularly scheduled (biweekly or monthly) 1:1 meetings with their team lead where they can offer and receive feedback. Even anonymous feedback submitted to management via surveys or email will help engagement.

Research shows that employees that have a stake in their physical environment are more engaged, too. Gallup found that employees who have a personal workspace are 1.4 times more likely to be engaged at work. Employees who are allowed to move around to different areas at work are 1.3 times more likely to be engaged. The best balance of the two might be an open office workspace with common areas, where each employee also has a designated area that they can control the look and feel of.

Always offer (and share) recognition

Last, but not least, make sure that all of your employees receive recognition when they’ve done their job well. And that it isn’t just heaped upon their team lead or 1-2 star players. Getting recognized (whether it’s in the company Slack channel, or even in their biweekly one-on-one) for their hard work will make them feel more invested and motivated to stay at it.


How does your company boost employee engagement? We’d love to hear in the comments below!

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