Engaged employees are crucial to any successful organization. Employees who feel invested in their work and aligned with company goals tend to be more productive, provide better customer service, and have higher job satisfaction. However, with the many distractions and pressures of the modern workplace, activating and maintaining employee engagement can be challenging. Leadership needs to get creative about fostering involvement at all levels of the company. Here are some innovative tactics to ignite engagement.
Promote Cross-Departmental Collaboration
Silo mentality can be an engagement killer. When employees only interact with their immediate team, they can lose sight of the big picture. Therefore, consider bringing down barriers between departments by organizing cross-functional projects and committees. Something as simple as a companywide book club can get people mingling. Shared goals and experiences build understanding and camaraderie. Employees who see how their role connects to others are more invested in the overall mission.
Implement Self-Managed Teams
Empowering employees is motivating. Self-managed teams are employees given autonomy and authority over certain tasks and decisions. Leadership defines the goals, but the team plans and manages the work. They make choices about achieving objectives, solving problems, and allocating resources. With this level of involvement, employees feel a sense of ownership. Studies show that self-managed teams have higher job satisfaction, commitment, and productivity.
Create Employee Resource Groups
The purpose of employee resource groups (ERGs) is to promote a welcoming and diverse work environment in line with the organization’s core values. Workers with similar interests, experiences, or demographics can network in an ERG. Leadership can empower ERGs to use their perspectives to improve company policies and programs. For example, an ERG for working parents could provide valuable insights into family leave policies or childcare benefits. By giving groups like these an official role and voice, employees become actively engaged.
Institute Open Communication Policies
Nothing de-motivates like feeling out of the loop. Frequent, transparent communication is essential for an engaged workforce. Create open channels for employees to ask questions and share ideas. Consider weekly staff meetings, monthly all-hands sessions, or an anonymous virtual suggestion box. Encourage managers to have regular one-on-one check-ins with direct reports. Make sure communication goes both ways, with leadership listening and responding to employee concerns. When people feel heard, they are more invested.
Offer Learning and Development Opportunities
Employees who feel stagnant and bored tune out. A learning culture keeps engagement high by letting people continuously develop new skills. Offer access to online courses, workshops, mentorships, and tuition reimbursement. Promote from within and provide stretch assignments. Even small things like hosting a weekly Ted Talk at lunch can stimulate growth. The more chances people have to learn, the more likely they’ll stay engaged.
Use Team Building Activities
Bringing employees together in fun, informal settings builds camaraderie and strengthens relationships – both key for engagement. Think beyond the typical happy hour by getting creative with team-building activities. Volunteer events align people around a shared cause. Outdoor adventures like scavenger hunts or obstacle courses get people working together. Or host competitions like trivia or video game tournaments for some friendly bonding. Make sure activities appeal to diverse interests. When employees genuinely like and care for each other, they’re more invested collectively.
Conduct Stay Interviews
“Stay interviews” uncover why loyal employees stick around. Have managers regularly check in with team members about what motivates them and makes them feel appreciated. Ask how they feel about growth opportunities, work-life balance, and company culture. This proactive feedback allows leadership to double down on what’s working well. When an organization actively listens and responds, employees feel their voice matters.
Stay interviews provide ongoing insights, but annual employee engagement surveys are still important. Surveys give leadership quantitative data and feedback on a larger scale. The employee engagement survey purpose is to measure key workplace factors like job satisfaction, organizational culture, manager effectiveness, and more.
The survey results identify strengths to continue building on as well as problem areas that need improvement. When paired together, stay interviews and engagement surveys give a comprehensive picture of both broad trends and individual motivations. This helps leadership boost engagement across the entire company.
Leverage Technology for Engagement
With remote and hybrid work on the rise, technology is key for keeping distributed employees engaged. Use digital tools to recreate the social connections and culture of the office. Create virtual watercoolers through messaging apps like Slack where people can chat casually. Host meetings over video conference so teammates can see each other face-to-face. Send out regular company newsletters and videos to keep everyone informed.
Share wins and employee spotlights on the intranet or social media. And don’t forget the power of fun: online games, quizzes, and contests bring some healthy competition. The more you can foster human interaction through technology, the more engaged remote workers will feel.
Make Recognition and Rewards Meaningful
Recognizing employee contributions is a proven way to boost engagement, but it only works if it’s meaningful. Avoid superficial awards or random perks. Instead, take the time to understand what truly motivates each individual. Some may appreciate public praise, while others prefer private acknowledgment. Celebrate wins big and small, from landing a new client to exemplifying the core values.
Empower managers to hand-write thank you notes when they notice exceptional effort. Consider rewards like choosing a charity for the company to donate to or an extra day of paid time off. Get creative with peer-to-peer programs where employees can recognize each other. Tailoring appreciation to the individual shows employees their work is valued.
The key to activating employee engagement is involvement. Rather than issue top-down policies, collaborate with employees at all levels. Promote transparency, communication, and empowerment. When people feel invested in goals and connected to the team, they’ll be motivated to do their best work. What innovative engagement strategies will you try?
Paula Newton is a business writer, editor and management consultant with extensive experience writing and consulting for both start-ups and long established companies. She has ten years management and leadership experience gained at BSkyB in London and Viva Travel Guides in Quito, Ecuador, giving her a depth of insight into innovation in international business. With an MBA from the University of Hull and many years of experience running her own business consultancy, Paula’s background allows her to connect with a diverse range of clients, including cutting edge technology and web-based start-ups but also multinationals in need of assistance. Paula has played a defining role in shaping organizational strategy for a wide range of different organizations, including for-profit, NGOs and charities. Paula has also served on the Board of Directors for the South American Explorers Club in Quito, Ecuador.