According to Gallup, 70% of U.S. workers are not engaged at work. Disengagement results in higher employee turnover, an unproductive workforce, and a lack in growth, all of which are estimated to cost U.S. companies up to $550 billion per year. The key to driving engagement starts with implementing concrete solutions to engage employees and get the whole company on the same page.
Employee engagement starts before an employee’s first day of work
Getting a feel for a prospective candidate and making sure they’re going to be a good fit for the team and with the company culture leads to making a successful hire. Tools like RoundPegg offer a culture DNA assessment that helps employers decide if a candidate is going to be a good fit by giving them a “culture fit score.” The same sort of assessment can be given to existing employees to measure engagement throughout their lifetime at a company.
Another solution, Culture Amp, offers similar insight with its’ Lifecycle Surveys, measuring engagement and perceptions as people transition from candidates, through onboarding and exit. Alexis Croswell from Culture Amp explains, “data can be used to create a more diverse and inclusive work environment, if companies are willing to embrace both the positive and negative sentiments they find,” Sounds like a win win for employees and companies alike.
An organic way to drive engagement from the get-go is to link new hires with a buddy. This can be someone outside of their immediate team that will connect them to another sector of the company and offer insight ranging from how to connect with your new manager to where the best nearby coffee shops are. Buddying sessions shouldn’t be forced; employees should volunteer for this role.
Keeping Up with Your Employees
Gaining feedback from employees is a great way to keep up to date with changing feelings. Surveying is a great tool for companies, as tangible data makes tracking engagement much easier. Companies like CultureIQ and Decision Wise give employees the chance to give internal feedback about the happenings of the company. It’s then the HR team or company’s job to respond to this feedback by activating positive, measurable changes. This cycle of feedback and change needs to be constant for companies to keep up with their employees’ needs.
As Steve Jobs once said, “It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do, we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.” Virtual brainstorming sessions give employees input in decisions, therefore increasing engagement. This input can be virtual, as there are now many platforms that offer opportunities for companies, managers, or anyone on the team to ask questions on an open forum. As Matt Haughey from Slack puts it, “The trick is fostering a culture (and developing a process) where ideas can come from anywhere, and the best ones can bubble up.” POPIn is one example of a micro social network, giving employees the opportunity to answer a single question, only open for a limited amount of time.
Source a solution from your company’s thinkers, that’s what they’re there for. Hyphen and 15Five are other social network platforms giving employees the option to post and answer polls and vote on trending questions. These networks offer both private and public groups, making it easy to get feedback on ideas from a small team or the entire company. The quick and easy nature of these systems makes them great options to increase engagement painlessly. Giving an employee voice is one of the biggest ways to fuel a more positive employer-employee relationship.
Everybody likes a good old-fashioned pat on the back. With networks like Jostle, Beekeeper, and Slack, you can loop the right people in on live team feeds, share team news, and most importantly congratulate coworkers on their success. While instant messaging applications are commonplace, using them for team bonding purposes is a great way to increase engagement. Create different feeds on things like birthdays and accomplishments to give shout-outs where they are due. Even silly streams for things like funny office GIFs and cute puppy pictures can keep an employee involved in a group setting offering a more fun, social interaction during the workday.
As Andrea Nazarian from Jostle says, “Building a strong sense of community around your organization is both a rewarding and fruitful experience. When employees feel as though they’re working within a community of committed coworkers and management, their work becomes more meaningful and their purpose as a company becomes more defined.”
Companies don’t need to look too far to create ways to engage employees. Outside of the dozens of engagement based HR platforms, there are easy DIY solutions to the engagement situation at the workplace. Having a weekly or bi-weekly all-hands company meeting loops in all levels of employees on new strides, goals, and quarterly plans for the company. Transparency leads to trust, and trust is key in employee engagement. Companies can also host brainstorming sessions on important issues or have Q&As for employees to voice opinions and ask questions. Everybody needs a chance to step away from the computer during the workday. Breaking up the monotony of the day with a daily 15 minute company “coffee walk” or a monthly happy hour can give employees the opportunity to socialize and talk about things other than work.
We spend more time at work than we do at home. Helping employees be engaged and enthusiastic about your organization is important. When questions arise as to how you can engage your team members, pull these tips and platform ideas out of your toolbox to drive engagement and keep the company on track.