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Employee engagement is a term that’s on everyone’s lips, from top executives to HR specialists. Considering how it relates to productivity and retention rates, it’s something that needs to be talked about - and worked on - in every organization. To do that successfully, you need a deep well of employee engagement ideas to draw from when the time comes to act!
Generally, employee engagement strategies take time to develop and implement, especially when they seek to change the company culture or to modify established managerial patterns. This can be frustrating if you’re a manager who believes that small changes can make a big difference. That’s why we’ve created this list of awesome employee engagement ideas for you!
Most of these engagement-increasing ideas can be implemented at the drop of a hat and on a shoestring budget. Read through them and pick a few that you think your employees will respond to with enthusiasm!
1. Do Something Fun Every Week
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy! To avoid having an office full of Jacks, incorporate fun into your daily routine. This doesn’t mean that you have to disrupt the workflow - instead, it means that your corporate culture welcomes a lighter attitude and that employees (and managers) don’t take themselves too seriously all the time. An occasional karaoke hour, an impromptu workout session, or a monthly stand-up comedy contest are all activities that allow everyone to let their hair down, and make office hours seem a bit less monotonous.
2. Pick A Local Charity To Support Together
What a way to do score some community points and increase those engagement levels, right? Most philanthropic organizations have high employee engagement because people like to feel that they are making a difference in the world, and are willing to work harder to do it.
Help your employees organize an event for a local non-profit that they care about. You can provide the venue, give some time off to enable employees to volunteer, and maybe even convince your finance department to partially match the donations. Both the community and your employees will appreciate and reward your involvement.
3. Thank Employees With A Handwritten Note
By the time the annual performance review rolls in, most managers forget the little (but consequential) things that their employees did. To get around this problem, give out short, handwritten “Thank You!” and “Great Job!” notes designed to boost employee engagement. They are personal, they are delivered exactly when they need to be, they build trust and rapport, and they make employees feel appreciated. Best of all, they don’t cost you or the organization a dime!
4. Turn A Prime Parking Spot Into A Reward
You don’t have to have a huge rewards pool, but one incentive that keeps on giving is that coveted prime parking spot! Instead of reserving it for yourself, use it as a perk and award it to employees that consistently deliver.
To make things more exciting, you can award it on a quarterly basis. Use whatever criteria that you want (performance-based or not), just make sure to communicate the rules clearly to avoid the game turning into a source of resentment.
5. Celebrate Wins, Both Work-Related & Personal
As the manager, you will be the first to know when someone in your team hits their monthly or quarterly goal. When that happens, celebrate with in-office drinks and cake, or take the team out early on a Friday afternoon. To show that you really care, make an effort to celebrate personal wins, too - an employee moving into their new home, having a baby, or furthering their formal education.
6. Organize A Departmental “Hack” Night
Hackathons don’t have to be reserved for programmers and designers. Regardless of what department you’re in charge of, you can organize one as well to try to get as much work done in one night - HubSpot’s marketing team ended up with 200 hours worth of marketing content that way. Employees usually appreciate the change of pace and love to see their managers roll up sleeves and get down and dirty with the whole team.
7. Encourage Employees To Switch Desks
Every six months are so, let your employees know that it’s time to shuffle things around a bit! While this employee engagement idea looks a bit out there, it’s been shown that people are more productive when they can work well with all the members of their extended team. Stronger work bonds are also more likely to lead to increased engagement. A two-week stint on a project might not be enough time for two people to create a bond, but sitting side by side for six months definitely is.
8. Always Act On Employee Feedback
Asking employees to provide feedback and then not acting on it is a sure-fire way to frustrate them and have them lose faith in the process. On the other hand, if you make even the slightest effort to change things based on feedback, you’re signaling that you’re indeed listening.
It pays off to go the extra mile in this process. After collecting feedback, share the results with your employees. Highlight the things that are high-priority and hold a meeting to decide which one gets tackled first. Send out regular updates until you have a policy in place that’s effective in handling the highlighted issues. This is less of an employee engagement idea and more of a cornerstone principle that you have to adhere to if you want your employees to care and be productive.
9. Invest Extra Effort In Making New Hires Feel Welcome
Another engagement-increasing strategy you should invest in is making sure that new hires hit the ground running. This should include personalized onboarding sessions, a mentor (if there’s an opportunity for one), and complete immersion in company culture.
But, don’t forget that new beginnings are also stressful and that people worry about fitting in with already established teams. Instruct your employees to go above and beyond when it comes to making new colleagues feel welcome. Here’s how managers over at SnackNation do it:
Make new employees feel welcomed by connecting them to your workplace community. One thing that you can do is introduce them to your employee advocacy platform. Ambassify has a lot to offer in that department so make sure to check us out!
10. Map Out The Internal Advancement Pathways
A lot of employees get disengaged when they start feeling that there’s no clear path for advancement available to them. To avoid this becoming an issue, sit down with every employee and help them figure out their 5-year in-house plan. In cooperation with your HR department, create a roadmap with milestones that illustrate what is expected in terms of accomplishments, attitude, and self-betterment for an employee to get where they want to be.
11. Give Employees An Option Of Ditching A Task
Often, employees will have one particular task that’s assigned to them that they hate doing. That one little thing can sometimes make their entire work life unbearable. Since you don’t want your employees to dread coming into the office, work with them to identify what makes them feel that way. Once you have found that one particular thing that they dislike, try to shuffle things around and see if you can give them a break from it.
A lot of times, you won’t be able to do much more than reduce the frequency of the task in question. That’s perfectly fine - the fact that you’ve put in some effort into it will resonate with the employee. But, rarely, you will be able to remove the thing that they hate completely from their to-do list and assign it to someone who loves doing that type of work. This turns it into a win-win situation for both employees, which is exactly what makes this employee engagement idea so great!
12. Give Employees A Chance To Reward Their Colleagues
It’s been shown that recognition for a job well done can seriously boost employee engagement levels. However, that recognition doesn’t have to come exclusively from managers. Employees love to feel valued and validated by their peers, which is why instituting a peer-to-peer reward program is an employee engagement strategy worth considering. After all, Google does it, and they have seen some great results with it. Keep in mind that you don’t need a considerable budget for this - the prize doesn’t have to be cash. The recognized employee can be rewarded with a week’s worth of coffees delivered to their desk, their favorite snack, or that coveted prime parking spot!
It’s Time To Put These Employee Engagement Strategies To Work!
There you have them - polished employee engagement strategies and ideas that you can use today to motivate your employees without pleading for a budget with your financial planning department!
Engaged employees are the best asset your company can have because they are productive, reliable, and trustworthy. They also make the best employee advocates. To learn about what Ambassify can do for you when it comes to employee advocacy, make sure to visit us and sign up for a free demo!