Knowing how to keep employees engaged and productive can be tricky, but it’s super important. Sure, in the short term, an unengaged employee will still show up for work. But the long-term consequences of an unmotivated workforce can be quite serious. Unengaged employees work at a fraction of their full effectiveness, which has a domino effect on your whole company. You can easily keep your employees engaged and above with the below employee engagement strategies.
- What is employee engagement?
- How can you tell if your employees are engaged?
- 6 employee engagement strategies
- Tips for developing an employee engagement strategy
What is employee engagement?
Employee engagement measures how dedicated your staff is to its work. An engaged employee cares about their work and feels invested in your organization as a key player in the company’s success. Generally, companies with high engagement have higher productivity and employee retention rates.
Oftentimes, employee engagement is confused with job satisfaction. However, the latter has more to do with workplace contentment: A satisfied team member could feel disengaged from their job without it affecting their performance.
Keep it engaging
Have a collaborative agenda to keep attendees engaged. Assigning sections to each attendee or simply having an agenda to follow can encourage meeting engagement. Try Fellow!
How can you tell if your employees are engaged?
Engaged employees typically work harder, but more productivity isn’t necessarily a sign of a motivated employee. After all, if a team member does their job for long enough, they may move faster through their workload. To more reliably determine your team’s engagement levels, look out for these telltale signs:
- They are optimistic. Positive attitudes have an effect company-wide, so if someone routinely sees the glass as half-full, you’re doing something right. An engaged team member approaches their work with a can-do attitude and takes any sudden changes in stride.
- They are team-oriented. With positive feelings about their work, your team members can better interact with each other. Disagreements will rarely (if ever) escalate into something non-productive, and your most engaged employees most likely won’t be at the center of any issues.
- They go above and beyond. Since engaged employees feel connected to the company’s values and trust their leadership, they’re usually willing to give 110% in their work. They’re more inclined to think outside the box for creative solutions to problems and reliably turn their tasks in on time.
- They show a passion for learning. Engaged employees are motivated to do their jobs well, seek out more learning opportunities, and take on more responsibility. Since they feel connected to the company, they’re more willing to look for chances to contribute more and excel.
- They accept responsibility for mistakes. An engaged team member won’t pass the buck if something goes awry. They’ll take responsibility for any mishaps that may have occurred along the way. They’re confident enough in their work and purpose that they know apologies are the mature, meaningful thing to do.
- They give credit where it’s due. Sharing credit is key to team-building. No team member wants to watch someone else take the “win” when in reality, they only contributed a small part or maybe nothing at all. A team member who volunteers and uplifts the main players makes for a valuable, engaged team player.
6 employee engagement strategies
Improving employee engagement is about valuing your team for their contributions and connecting them to your organization’s goals instead of just their paycheck. Below are several highly effective employee engagement strategies.
1 Work from your organization’s core values
Employees who feel like they belong are typically more engaged, but that belonging won’t happen in a vacuum. It’s not enough for your team to work for your company – you need to show them the deeper meaning in the work they do.
Your organization’s core values can help here. They’re the ideals and expectations that form your company culture. Explaining them to your team can give them something to rally around, especially if team members personally identify with values.
2 Build long-term career paths for your team members
Employee development and team growth shouldn’t end once you get a new hire through the door. That’s an easy way to get your team unengaged – how can they feel invested in you if you don’t invest in them? Instead, take an active interest in your team’s professional development. Try offering education and training opportunities while giving seasoned workers a chance to earn higher positions within the company. Hiring from within can show employees that you see their work and value them.
3 Reward your best team members
There are few worse feelings than going above and beyond yet going unrecognized for your work. And if you don’t explicitly recognize your team’s accomplishments, you could accidentally create working environments where the bare minimum becomes the norm. An employee recognition program can tackle this issue and keep your employees engaged. Rewarding your best-performing team members reminds them that their work is meaningful and motivates the whole team.
4 Stay transparent
As your team works on one project, other things still happen in the background. Anything from a shift in the market to a change in leadership can directly affect the project. You should keep your team up to date on these changes and, most importantly, what caused them. This transparency goes a long way towards building trust between you and your team.
Of course, a team that trusts you will be more engaged. Think about it like this: A team left in the dark might think changes could come at any time. This worry can cause them to lose confidence in their work. And how can your team be engaged with its work when it’s not confident in it?
5 Seek feedback (and act on it)
Criticism rarely feels good, even if it’s constructive and delivered kindly. But opening yourself to employee feedback and acting on it benefits your whole team. It helps you become a better manager and adapt to your team members’ needs. It also shows your team they can take an active role in shaping their work environment. That’s a fast route to upping engagement.
To collect employee feedback, you might want to avoid what initially seems obvious: Directly asking your team for their thoughts. You might not get unbiased results simply because it can be harder to give criticism face-to-face. A more reliable method can be employee engagement surveys that allow employees to anonymously share their concerns.
6 Delegate tasks properly
The best teams share the brunt of the work equally. When team members contribute roughly the same amount, you avoid employee burnout and accusations that someone is doing too little. Both these situations can lead to unengaged employees. Can you really blame someone for feeling no motivation if they’re overworked or see someone else having a way easier time?
To keep your team engaged, delegate work fairly and hold your team members accountable for their tasks. The rest of the team shouldn’t have to pick up the slack for a single employee. You should lead by example here: When you assign yourself tasks, do them well and on time. And when your teammates see other folks pulling their weight, that can be a motivator in itself to keep up the hard work.
Tips for developing an employee engagement strategy
Some methods of engaging employees might be more or less effective than others depending on your team. After all, there’s no one reason a team might become unengaged, so treating employee engagement strategies as one-size-fits-all solutions is asking for disappointment. Here’s how to develop a strategy that’ll work for your team.
Send out an employee engagement survey
Before improving your team’s engagement, you should learn what affects it day-to-day. An employee engagement survey is a convenient way to do so. It gauges how employees feel about their workspace, and your team can share their feedback entirely anonymously. This way, they can provide unbiased feedback without fear of repercussion. Once you have your team’s surveys, find some common threads. In those threads, you’ll find ways to improve the working environment.
Set realistic goals
All teams have limits – even the best ones can burn out if you push them toward unrealistic goals. Those goals can sap your engagement since your team might stop trying if success seems impossible. To avoid this issue, try setting some smaller goals along a realistic timeline.
For example, let’s say you want to improve a team member’s efficiency by 20 percent over the next six months. You can then set a goal to increase efficiency by five percent in the next six weeks. This way, you help your team members reach goals on time without feeling overwhelmed and becoming unengaged.
Know who’s responsible for what
No one person can complete a big project on their own. That’s why you have a team – everyone has smaller tasks to complete. But it’s important to know who’s handling what. Otherwise, you risk losing track of the project and watching your employee productivity levels tank. When your team has to work more to produce the same amount, they can become unengaged.
You basically represent your whole organization to your team. Your team knows you’re in contact with leadership and that leadership funnels its vision through you. So when you’re inauthentic, your colleagues might learn to trust neither you nor the whole organization. When your team can’t trust the people they work for, they might become less willing to perform at their best. They might even leave your organization entirely.
Stay open to change
Developing an effective engagement strategy isn’t an exact science. Some methods will work, and others won’t. If you try something that doesn’t work as planned, take some of the responsibility off your shoulders and ask your team for their ideas. After all, your team members are the very people you’re trying to engage, so they’ll know what strategies will best engage them. Plus, working alongside your team to improve their work environment shows that you value them – a direct route to engagement.
Give your team members autonomy
You’ve hired your team because they have the skills to contribute to your work, so you should trust them instead of looking over their shoulders. Hovering over them or changing their work can show a lack of trust in their abilities. Instead, try assigning tasks to your team and letting them work with minimal supervision. Doing so demonstrates confidence in their abilities, and as they pick up on this trust, they’ll likely feel more engaged.
Engaged employees, superior results
Encouraging employees to have more passion for their work isn’t always easy, but the results often speak for themselves. A more engaged team can more effectively collaborate to make a top-quality product. And though a motivated team can typically communicate well, Fellow can help take your discussions to new heights. Holding highly engaging team meetings has never been easier with Fellow’s shared agenda tools, real-time note-taking features, and peer feedback tools. Engagement is just a few clicks away.