The simplest approach to increasing employee engagement is not to gift them a VR headset. Improving employee engagement takes time but might not be as complicated as you think.
According to Gallup's State of the Global Workplace: 2022 Report, "Employee vital signs — engagement and well-being — remain stable but not great". With only 21% of employees engaged at work around the globe. That leaves room for improvement.
Employee engagement was increasing globally before the pandemic, but now it has stalled. Good news: Improving employee engagement doesn’t have to be exceptionally difficult. Here are 24 tips that can simplify your efforts and boost employee engagement in 2023:
1. Dismiss your dress code
Do the leaders in your company encourage employees to "dress up" for work, even if they're working from home? Are t-shirts and sweatshirts looked down upon in your organization's zoom meetings? Unless, of course, your company requires a formal business dress code to be successful, you should reconsider. Encouraging employees to express themselves through their choice of clothing can spark conversations and create friendships that make work more enjoyable for all parties.
2. Adopt flexible schedules
Instead of requiring your employees to be in the workplace for a set period of time each day, let them make their own schedules. As long as they continue to do their jobs well, does it really matter when they get the work done?
3. Recognize your employees’ efforts
Every single one of your employees is going through a lot. Between sick kids, financial stress, holidays, and everything else everyone's mental health has taken a toll over the last few years. If you want to increase engagement, recognize them for their efforts on a regular basis.
4. Let employees wear multiple hats
Doing the same thing over and over again can become monotonous. If your workers want to get involved with projects that other departments are tackling, let them. It's important for employees to feel purpose in their work and generally, if someone is volunteering to help in another area, they're interested in it!
5. Encourage collaboration
Two minds are often better than one. In addition to helping your employees form tighter bonds with one another — which increases engagement — collaboration usually results in a better final product.
6. Invest in team-building activities
A huge component of employees liking their jobs is their colleagues. Make team-building activities a top priority, and engagement will increase.
7. Devote resources to professional development
Employees care deeply about opportunities to develop professionally. Yet only 25% of employees feel as though there are enough opportunities at their jobs, according to our employee engagement report.
8. Pay your employees well
When it comes to compensation, be generous. Cutting corners by always opting to pay employees at the low end of your budget could come back to haunt you when you see high turnover and onboarding dollars headed down the drain.
9. Treat employees equally
Want to disengage your staff? Show favoritism. To keep your employees engaged, treat them all with respect. No one gets special privileges.
10. Give your employees the tools they need
Your employees won’t be psyched to show up to work if you’re still using decade-old technology. Invest in modern tools that make work more productive.
11. Ask for feedback regularly
Instead of waiting until the end of the year to check in with your employees, utilize pulse surveys to find out how they’re feeling in real-time.
12. Allow your employees to work from where they want
Countless studies show that remote workers are happier than their chained-to-the-desk peers. Since happier employees are more productive, letting your work from where they prefer might be the best way to go.
13. Distribute workloads evenly
Don’t let certain members of your staff get away with barely pulling their weight. Everyone else will notice, and they won’t like it. You can check in with employees regarding their work capacity in your pulse surveys.
14. Invest resources in building an awesome work culture
Work culture is strongly correlated with employee happiness. Build a strong culture, and work hard to maintain it.
15. Redecorate your office occasionally
Looking for a team-building activity? Have your employees redecorate your office (within reason) once a quarter. Is your organization mostly remote? Encourage work-from-home employees to switch up their environment too.
16. Celebrate employee birthdays
Make birthdays extra special by celebrating. It can be something small like a shout-out at company meetings or an afternoon off. A little goes a long way!
17. Communicate with disengaged employees
If you have an employee who’s causing problems or not performing, don’t let that behavior continue. Address it in a 1-on-1 check-in and see how you can fix it.
18. Be transparent
You can’t expect your employees to be brutally honest if you hide things from them. Whenever possible, be transparent and have consistent communication.
19. Lead by example
Nobody likes a boss who expects so much out of their staff but refuses to work hard themselves. In the same breath, no one wants a boss that preaches "work-life balance" but is constantly overworked. Lead by example, and your employees will follow.
20. Have a (virtual) open-door policy
The easier it is for your employees to approach management, the more likely they’ll be to do so. Keep your office door open, and encourage your staff to stop by and chat. If your team is remote or hybrid, encourage an open inbox. Let employees know they can always reach out to you or any leader directly.
21. Reexamine your onboarding process
A lackluster onboarding process turns out new hires who aren’t completely engaged and never will be. Especially in remote-first organizations, getting hired at a new company can be stressful. Start your employees off on the right foot with clear communication, consistently asking them for feedback, and checking in with them.
22. Stress the importance of well-being
Employees can’t reach their full potential if they’re exhausted or sick. Support your team's holistic well-being by giving them the tools to be well and encouraging them to use them. According to a blog by Limeade, "All employees have a role in creating a well-being culture that supports healthy behaviors". Well-being should be a part of the workday, not a separate initiative.
23. Laugh on a regular basis
According to Forbes, more executives should "lead with laughter". Your company has work to do. But that doesn’t mean people can’t have fun. Infusing humor into the workday can have dramatic positive impacts.
24. Care more
"Care is about those day-to-day human interactions. It’s about being flexible and understanding when an employee needs to leave work early to pick up a sick child or fostering positive manager-employee interactions over a cup of coffee.” - Dr. Laura Hamill on the HRD Live Podcast in 2022. We're all human and want to be treated with care.
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