8 Employee Engagement Ideas
By Robin van der Meulen | June 1, 2017
Employee engagement is a complex topic. And at the same time, it’s not. It’s not easy to find and maintain a system of engagement and motivation that works for your organization, but there are a lot of things you can do to make improvements. I’ve been looking into the topic for a while now and there are a few ideas that keep showing up with good reviews. I thought it would be useful to put them in an overview and share it with everyone.
1. Act on feedback
There are many reasons to make sure that you act on feedback from the team. And show them that you do. Firstly, the feedback generally contains valuable information and ideas that are worth doing. But secondly, and perhaps even more important, it sends a message of involvement. It shows that it’s worth your while to think about the way you work and raise awareness for your ideas. If you are interested in this, perhaps my previous post Will feedback change the way we manage could be interesting.
2. Onboard like a champion
You never get a second chance for a first impression. Always true, definitely true when it comes to employees. You can assign a buddy for their first month, give them a small gift on day one, there are a lot of things you can just do to make your new employee a promotor of your company from day one. Here’s a cool list of real life examples to make onboarding a great experience.
3. Promote personal development opportunities
Most companies offer various ways and means for personal development. But just having them is not enough, you should sell them to the employees. Actively promoting the personal development opportunities in your organization is a great way of showing that you care about them. And employees will make better use of the personal development programs you offer. This blog post about getting employees on their road to personal development offers some perspectives I find interesting.
4. Celebrate effectively
Some people like hats. I do. But I’m not everyone. Whether it’s olives or chips, a high five or a picnic, find out what way of celebrating works for the team and try to do it often. In the article “The power of small wins” you will find how important it is to create a sense of making meaningful progress – celebrating small wins is a very powerful way to boost employee engagement.
5. Create ownership through involvement
Few things are more engaging than being involved in decision making. But decision making isn’t easy and should be handed over with care. When empowering someone to take a decision, make sure to set clear parameters and provide the necessary information and resources to do a good job. An interesting case in this field is the Advice Process introduced by Dennis Bakke.
6. Support social activities
Social cohesion is a strong driver of employee engagement. Team members that do sports, celebrate birthdays or undertake other social activities together are much more likely to be highly engaged. If you have a budget to spend on employee engagement, I would recommend saving some to support social activities that co-workers choose for themselves. The HBR article We all need friends at work contains some great examples.
7. Use ‘free percent time’
If you haven’t seen the video on intrinsic motivation by Daniel Pink yet, you definitely should. It contains surprising insights in what motivates people to work to the best of their ability. It also mentions Atlassian as an example of a company that uses “free percent time” successfully. The concept is that you carve out a percentage of working hours in which the employee is not managed. Meaning he or she can work on anything they choose as long as it adds value to the company and they present the outcome at the end of their “Free % time”. Few things are more motivating as being trusted to choose yourself how you want to add value to the organization.
8. Purpose makes the difference
Aligning actions in the organization with a higher purpose is, for a lot of people, the very essence of feeling engaged. Especially for the younger generation of employees. To achieve a sense of purpose in the organization, it’s not enough to simply define a mission statement and paint it on the wall. In all management communication, from strategic communications to the assignment of tasks, you should look to underline the contribution it makes to the higher purpose of the organization.
I hope you found these Employee Engagement ideas useful and that it will inspire new experiments and initiatives. If you are experimenting with one or more of these options, or planning to do so, please leave a comment below or get in touch! I’m always interested to hear and share experiences.