Boost Morale With These 6 Employee Engagement Activities
Today’s professionals look for more than just attractive compensation and benefits when deciding whether to accept or remain in a job. Employee engagement is more vital than ever to successful hiring and retention.
Gone are the days when people clocked in and out of their 40 hours a week to pick up a check and head home to the family for a 6 pm dinner. ‘Going to work’ has been replaced by the search for purpose via the workplace, and modern work culture means people are spending more time in the office than they were 20 years ago.
If they’re giving so much of themselves to the company, it’s in your best interests to ensure that your employees are engaged and actually want to be there.
The Engagement Institute estimates the cost of employee disengagement to be around $550 billion annually. That includes lost productivity, information and customers, as well as the cost of replacing unhappy talent. That’s over half a trillion dollars in expenses incurred just because companies don’t make the effort to help their people forge meaningful connections with their work.
Here are six ways you and your HR teams can help leaders boost employee engagement and nurture an environment in which people truly feel like they belong.
1. Have your own little TedX. Innovation and creativity are the lifeblood of any successful organization. But assuming that only managers or senior leadership offer those qualities can put a quick stop to that success. Your organization is full of people with inspirational, innovative ideas. Give them a platform to share these with an in-house edition of TedX. This is a great way to give your people a day off from their usual tasks while still building employee engagement. They’ll inspire themselves and each other, gain confidence and come out of it knowing that their employers are listening. And Salesforce has found that employees who feel that their voice matters are 4.6 times more likely to perform at their best. Just don’t forget to put at least a few of the better ideas into practice!
2. Make them part of your planning. For most professionals, nothing is quite as disheartening as being told what to do without being told why. When that happens, the search for purpose in the workplace is already lost and many employees start questioning their worth to their employers. Which is exactly why you should include your people when figuring out your strategy for the next quarter or financial year. Enterprises and larger organizations may need to adjust the scale at which they involve their teams, but the truth remains the same. According to Gallup, a highly engaged team yields a 21% increase in profitability. And nothing builds mutual trust and confidence better than turning to your employees and asking, “Where do we go from here? Why? How?”
3. Promote health and wellness. With the average work week now crossing 40 hours in many regions and health issues hitting people at a younger average age, it’s never been more important to look after one’s mind and body. Unfortunately, many people don’t have the time, resources or energy to prioritize them alongside the demands and pressures of work. By taking responsibility for their employees’ health and wellness, organizations send out the message that they actually care about their people. Willis Tower Watson found that only 70% of employers take steps to improve employee engagement with initiatives like healthy food options and appropriate lighting.
4. Respect the other roles they play. We’ve all seen it before: an organization so swept up in the pursuit of success that they forget their employees are people too. Fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, parents, caretakers – the roles our people play are many and varied. Some of them might even come with responsibilities that crop up at inconvenient times but still need attending to. Work-life balance is everything to employees, with the majority citing it as a leading factor in deciding to accept a role or look for a new one. In fact, a Glassdoor survey found that 87% of professionals expect their employers to actively work with them to balance work and personal commitments. By offering flexible timings or encouraging the use of vacation time, organizations can see a considerable rise in employee engagement.
5. Celebrate wins and special moments. One way to really make your people feel connected to where they work is to instill a sense of community by making progress, milestones and achievements a shared experience. Hitting targets, announcing new hires and promotions, and closing won deals are all great reasons to celebrate with your entire company. Turning routine achievements into milestones worth celebrating can go a long way in showing employees that their workplace can connect with them on an emotional level. And with Forbes reporting that 96% of employees believe that organizations need to prioritize empathy yet 92% feel that it remains undervalued, there’s never been a better time to make achievements feel like collective success.
6. Make feedback mean more. Just as most employees want to be recognized when they get something right or go beyond, they also want to know when they’re moving off-track or underperforming. Constructive feedback is key, but there’s one effective (and simple) way to amplify the effect it has on employee engagement. By connecting feedback to your organizational values and vision, you reinforce your employees’ belief that they’re working for a purpose greater than profits and dividends. A survey co-authored by SHRM found that while most HR leaders (89%) believe ongoing check-ins lead to positive outcomes, adopting a process that’s tied to an employer’s core values leads to a more supportive feedback environment.
Like all great workplace initiatives, employee engagement isn’t built overnight and must be carefully nurtured through consistency and genuine intent. Team-building activities, off-sites and annual Christmas parties only go so far when organizations fail to follow up by weaving employee engagement into the fabric of their work culture.
For more ideas be sure to check out this list of 59 employee engagement activities from SnackNation, one of the most common names on multiple ‘best places to work’ lists.