Employee engagement is an often undervalued measurement of business health. When employees are engaged, they’re more productive, more invested in their companies’ success, and stronger advocates for the business. Read on for an effective 8-step checklist on how to increase employee engagement…
Gallup, one of the world’s leading business analytics firms, documented 10 outcomes that businesses experience when they increase employee engagement, including:
- 23% increased profitability
- 18-43% lower turnover rates
- 81% higher attendance rates
- 18% increase in productivity
- 64% fewer safety incidents
- 10% higher customer loyalty
The costs of employee disengagement
Lack of engagement results in the exact opposite—high turnover rates, chronic absenteeism, a spike in safety incidents, and low productivity, to name a few.
The associated cost is staggering. Perkbox (an employee benefits platform) estimates that employee disengagement costs UK businesses more than £340bn each year in lost training and recruitment costs, sick days, productivity, and more.
With so much on the line, businesses simply can’t afford to ignore this critical metric.
8 ways to increase employee engagement
Much of an employee’s experience is influenced directly by their individual work, career path, and direct manager. So unless that person reports directly to you, their day-to-day reality may feel beyond your control. However, there are lots of approaches HR and leadership teams can take to create a culture that fosters employee engagement.
Here are eight proven steps, beyond training and professional development, that can help you create a happier and more engaged workforce.
1. Listen to your team and take action on feedback
Everyone wants to be heard. As such, you need to give everyone opportunities to provide both solicited and unsolicited feedback.
This typically starts with annual or quarterly surveys to gather input from employees. Those surveys are a great start. You may also want to think about creating an open anonymous comment form where anyone can share thoughts or suggestions any time something’s on their mind.
Don’t stop at just gathering feedback. Be sure to share this feedback with your HR fellows, executive leadership, and the company as a whole. Take it to heart. Learn from it. And figure out how the business can adapt to address it.
2. Bring everyone into your strategy
Strategy shouldn’t be a secret. The best way to get everyone pointed in the same direction is to share the company strategy openly. Give the entire company a line of sight into where the organisation is going. And make sure everyone–from finance to operations to maintenance–understands how their work is directly connected to the company’s strategic vision.
3. Be mission- and values-driven
People are seeking meaning in every area of their lives, including their work. Nearly 90% of employees want their companies to double down on purpose. It’s important to them that the business has a clearly defined purpose; they want to know what that purpose is; and most importantly, they expect you to walk your talk towards that purpose in open and transparent ways.
The company mission and values can be a great rallying point to connect your team to this purpose. If you’ve already defined your mission and values, think about how to really bring these to life for your team. And if the business hasn’t yet done this work, consider involving employees in their creation people are generally more invested in things they have contributed to.
4. Support local communities and non-profits
People want to see their companies take real and meaningful steps to make a difference in the world. They want to see the companies’ value statements brought to life and put into action to enact real change.
Supporting socially valuable projects is an effective way that businesses can do this, and is a proven way to increase engagement and decrease staff turnover. In fact, 59% of employees say they are more engaged when their companies support charity initiatives. In a recent survey of ESG leaders, 86% of companies report higher employee engagement, and 50% of companies report a lower employee turnover rate.
There are lots of ways to support non-profits. One of the easiest and most effective is to set up a fund on ActionFunder and get matched with non-profits in your area who need your financial support. You can even let your team vote on which causes to support and follow the impact of your donations. The stories and videos that you receive from non-profits create help employees to feel connected to the cause, campaign, and community.
5. Bring your customers to life
Some teams, like sales and customer service, work on the front lines with customers every day. These team members know your customers by name, connect with them regularly, and understand their goals and objectives. Other teams, like engineering, operations, IT, and finance, are further removed from the customer. This can make it more difficult to understand the real-world application of your company’s products and result in less meaningful daily work.
Think about ways to bring the voice of your customer to life. This can be done through testimonials and video interviews, by asking customers to speak on all-hands calls, or even by inviting key customers to attend in-person business events so your team can meet them face-to-face.
6. Make volunteering more meaningful
Done right, corporate volunteering is great for team building and can help boost company pride. However, many companies find it hard to engage employees through traditional volunteering models.
By integrating company volunteering with non-profit funding programs you can provide more engaging and strategic volunteer opportunities. Use follow-on volunteering with your non-profit partners to build on the impact you’ve created through funding.
This has more impact than a standalone volunteer day and can feed into wider purpose strategies. By meeting community partners and getting stuck in, employees get to see with their own eyes the impact the non-profit partnership is creating. This brings it to life, increases buy-in and instils company pride.
On ActionFunder you can find non-profits who need both volunteers and funding for specific projects that align with your purpose strategy and brand values.
7. Celebrate your team
Recognition programs are a great tool to help hard-working employees feel appreciated. Many companies structure awards programs around revenue and performance metrics (like most sales, highest renewal rates, etc.). This approach can certainly incentivise sales teams to work harder and sell more, but employees who don’t directly contribute to revenue can feel left out.
Consider developing a program that gives everyone ample opportunity for acknowledgement. One way to do this is by building an awards program around your company values and allowing everyone to nominate their peers. This route can go a long way toward increasing engagement, boosting morale, and strengthening company culture.
8. Offer more autonomy
Employees have drastically changed their expectations over the last couple of years. They want and expect more say in where they work, how they work, and what work they do. You can meet these expectations by creating a more autonomous working culture.
Autonomy can show up in many ways. For many, it looks like flexible schedules and remote work options. For others, it’s the ability to make strategic decisions about how to best accomplish a goal. Some companies are even introducing fully customisable benefits packages where employees can decide how their benefits packages are shaped. However you approach this, the end goal is to empower your team to make work-related decisions in a way that best aligns with their personal needs.
Every step counts
If your employees are tuned out, every day may feel like a struggle with complaints and conflicts filling your inbox. But you know the old adage… “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” It doesn’t matter which step you start with. Just pick one from this list and give it a go. They’re all proven to be effective.
Find out how ActionFunder can amplify your employee engagement. Get a no-obligation demo of the platform.