11 Employee Engagement Ideas To Boost Productivity

Boost Productivity With These 11 Employee Engagement Ideas

It’s no secret that you no doubt already understand that engaged employees are happier, more productive and less likely to leave their jobs. But even though there is a lot of management advice on how critical employee engagement is, few businesses are succeeding in this area of talent management. As the Gallup Daily Employee Engagement poll [1] shows, more than half of workers describe themselves as not engaged and as looking for their next job opportunity. What managers really need are practical, actionable employee engagement ideas they can use today.

Before launching a new employee engagement initiative, start by understanding what engagement means for your company, specifically. Do you want employees to take more ownership over their roles? Are you trying to boost retention? Are you trying to attract better talent to your team?

Once you understand what you’re trying to achieve, you’ll have a better sense of how to achieve your goals. Remember that employee engagement ideas don’t need to be pricey or edgy to be effective. The best simply involve treating your employees with respect and giving them more flexibility over their jobs and career trajectories.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

1. Assign A Mentor For Every Newcomer

You can up employee engagement from day one by building good relationships during the onboarding process. After all, becoming part of a team means connecting with people.

One tactic to build relationships is to assign a mentor or buddy to every new hire. A mentor is usually someone with more experience who can help guide them through the company culture and answer any questions they might have. Having a mentor will not only make them feel more connected to the organization — it will help build the relationships that make coming into work more enjoyable.

Related reading - The New Hire Checklist — Your Guide to Onboarding New Employees

2. Recognize Innovation

People stop engaging when they feel they’ve run into a company culture that’s resistant to change or to new ideas. You can influence that perception by encouraging your employees to think outside the box in big and small ways and by recognizing innovation when you see it.

Whether they’re suggesting improvements to an existing process or coming up with a brand new initiative, innovation is a sign that your employees are truly engaging with their jobs.

3. Celebrate Achievements

Make it a point to celebrate achievements [2], whether they are major milestones for the team or everyday individual wins. It helps reinforce that the work your team is doing has meaning, which will give them the motivation to tackle the next big thing.

Celebrations don’t have to be massive. Even a simple email to the entire team mentioning one member’s contribution can be the boost of recognition that person needs.

4. Encourage Personal Projects

Google is famous for its 20% time policy [3] that encouraged employees to use one day a week on projects of their choosing. In practice, Google has had to roll back the policy, but the spirit behind it —let people find their passion— is still important to keep in mind.

Smart employers boost employee engagement by allowing people time to connect their work with their personal interests. Give employees regular windows of time to pursue their own projects, either alone or with other members of the team. This can foster creativity and maintain energy through the rest of the work week.

5. Support A Charity

Everyone wants to feel like they’re making a difference in the world. Choose a charity that’s aligned with your company’s mission, and empower employees to raise money for the cause. You could even turn it into a team-building event by creating a friendly competition over who can fundraise the most or by organizing a specific fundraising event.

There are many other models for engaging your employees with your company’s philanthropy. You can divide your charitable pool by the number of employees and have the select a charity to support. For example, many United Way workplace giving programs are organized to match what individual employees contribute to charities of their choice.

6. Host A Volunteer Day

Along with charitable contributions, encourage employees to give back with their time. Organize a team volunteer day [4] to do something good in the community, or allow employees to come up with their own ideas and donate company time to helping them with a cause they support.

When employees feel like their values are aligned with those of their employer, they’ll be more engaged. These kinds of volunteer activities also help your team bond with another.

7. Emphasize Work-Life Balance

Even the most dedicated employee will start to burn out if he or she doesn’t have a good mix of work and personal time. Work-life balance can be a serious drag on employee engagement. As a 2015 EY survey [5] found, more than a third of full-time workers say managing work-life balance is becoming more difficult and that this is a major reason they change jobs. Even more important for managers, the millennial workforce just entering the career pipeline is more likely to say this than older workers.

This can mean something different to each employee. One employee may prefer a flexible schedule, while another may prefer a cleaner separation between the work day and home life. Speak with your team to learn how your company can help enhance work-life balance.

8. Open The Lines Of Communication

Humans want to feel heard. Let your employees know you’re listening by encouraging them to give you feedback in a safe, productive way. Whether you set up weekly strategy meetings or hold regular office hours, communicate to your employees when, where and how they can share their thoughts with you.

Most importantly, be sure to act on that feedback. Otherwise, your employees will stop bothering to share it with you.

9. Provide Ongoing Professional Development

Learning shouldn’t stop after the onboarding process concludes. Companies need to take talent development seriously if they want to see more employee engagement. Meet regularly with employees to discuss their career goals and provide targeted coaching.

Use your company’s Learning Management System (LMS) to deliver team training, and help employees continue to improve their skills.  If your company or business unit doesn’t currently have an LMS (or is still using a legacy system without cloud hosting, modern course authoring tools, integrations, mobile access and analytics), be sure to check out our free 14-day trial.

10. Start A Learning Club

Learning at work doesn’t always have to be related to job skills. Empower employees to expand their minds outside of professional development with a learning club. This could take the form of a book club, a Brown Bag lunch with speakers and TED talks or even taking field trips.

Another tactic we’ve seen used effectively is regularly scheduled learning days where everyone takes the day off from their responsibilities (or afternoon) to work through online courses of their choosing. The key here is to let people develop their own interests but in a way, they can bring back to share with the team.

11. Host An In-Office Pecha Kucha

Pecha Kucha [6] (from Japanese slang for chit-chat) is a high-energy form of show-and-tell that has become popular in the last decade, hosted by community groups in cities around the world. The great thing about the Pecha Kucha format is that it has the flexibility to permit a wide range of interests and topics. It’s kind of like a demo day, except not limited to your engineers and product managers, and is easily adapted to the workplace.

The other characteristic of Pecha Kucha is a strict format that makes the scheduling manageable. Every presentation is exactly 20 slides, and every slide is on the screen for exactly 20 seconds, so each presenter is limited to 6:40. It turns out a lot of creativity is possible within those limits [7].

Connect Employee Engagement Ideas With Your Company Culture

Before implementing any of these employee engagement ideas, consider how they fit with your company’s culture and needs. What kinds of employees do you want to attract to your organization? Will they respond best to a culture of mentorship and professional development? Passion projects and innovation? Volunteerism and social responsibility? In a sense, you are encouraging a growth mindset that boosts confidence, permits experimentation and helps people connect their personal passions to their daily activities they and their teams are working on.

Making sure your employees understand your company’s values is one of the best ways to engage with them, especially if you want to create a team of people who share those values. Sharing a commitment to those values will strengthen the bonds between your employees and your organization.

Footnotes:

  1. Gallup Daily: U.S. Employee Engagement
  2. 4 Ways Innovative Companies are Celebrating Their Employees
  3. Google gives employees 20% time to work on diversity
  4. Giving Workers Paid Time Off to Volunteer Will Help Your Company Succeed
  5. Study: Work-life challenges across generations
  6. PechaKucha.org
  7. PechaKucha - Watch

 

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