Boost Employee Engagement with These Strategies

The record quit rates and labor market shortage that make up what is now called “The Great Resignation” continue to present challenges to businesses and HR professionals across the nation. 4.5 million Americans quit or changed jobs in March of this year, according to The Washington Post. Furthermore, U.S. employers posted 11.5 million job openings, matching the record highs of 2021. This statistic demonstrates a lack of movement in the labor market, which is overwhelmingly tipped in favor of job seekers. Job seekers’ current bargaining power is not only forcing employers to offer higher pay and better benefits; it requires companies to prioritize company culture and retention efforts. 

What is Employee Engagement?

Building and sustaining an engaging and healthy company culture is paramount to finding and retaining talent amid the labor shortage. Company culture involves more than excellent benefits and competitive pay. One of the most effective ways to foster company culture is to boost employee engagement. 

Employee engagement is a Human Resources (HR) term and measurement tool that delineates the level of enthusiasm and dedication an employee has toward their position. Engaged employees care about company performance and take pride in their work, making them more productive than other employees. Because team productivity increases with exceptional performance on an individual level, employee engagement is crucial to company success. Employee engagement statistics show that highly engaged employees lead to higher retention rates, increased profitability, and reduced absenteeism. 

Ways to Boost Employee Engagement, According to Experts

Although remote work has posed challenges to employee engagement and culture building, companies are finding innovative ways to overcome them. Below are several strategies companies use to boost their employee engagement and strengthen their culture.

Let Your Employees Know They Are Valued 

Employee engagement is deeply linked to job satisfaction and company morale. Engaged employees tend to have higher job satisfaction levels and are 87 percent less likely to leave their company than unengaged employees, according to a report by Divvy Engagement Solutions. One of the ways companies can increase job satisfaction and boost employee engagement is to practice consistent and personalized employee recognition

Logan Mallory, Vice President of Marketing at Motivosity, an employee engagement software company, comments on the importance and efficacy of employee recognition.

Increasing recognition is an easy way to boost employee engagement. Employees are more engaged when they’re happy, and they’re happiest when they feel appreciated at work. Recognition is free, so be generous with your praise.”

Giving praise and recognition to employees is a simple, inexpensive way to actively boost employee engagement and strengthen your workplace culture. 

Offer Professional Development Opportunities 

Trevor Larson, CEO, and Founder of Nectar, an employee recognition HR software company, comments on the importance of offering employees opportunities for professional development and growth.

By providing training, mentorship programs, or other learning opportunities, we can encourage our team members to invest in their development, which can lead to increased engagement.”

Just as employees wish to have their voices heard, they want their employers to support their professional development. A recent LinkedIn Study shows that 68 percent of employees prefer to learn at work. Moreover a whopping 94 percent of employees said that they would stay at a company longer if it invested in their career. Offering professional development opportunities to employees not only increases employee engagement; it also increases retention and strengthens morale, and transforms culture. 

2018 Workplace Learning Report by LinkedIn

Build a Culture of Transparency

When employees feel comfortable asking questions and providing feedback to their employers, employee engagement levels increase. Sarah Livnat, Head of People at NorthOne, a small business banking technology company, says that boosting employee engagement is a “muscle that organizations need to learn to exercise” and speaks on the value of building a transparent culture. 

We have a regular series of town halls and all-hands where we collect our employees’ questions in advance, and then we dedicate time in the town hall to talk through those questions. We want to build a transparent culture here, so we ensure that employees can ask whatever question they want, and we assure that it’ll be answered. It’s a great way to keep everyone aligned.”

Regularly checking in with your employees and asking for feedback is an essential part of the culture building process, as employees tend to be more engaged when they feel like their voices are being heard. Companies can provide a platform for employee feedback by hosting company-wide meetings, making frequent one-on-one meetings between employees and their supervisors a standard, and by administering employee engagement surveys

Prioritize and Downsize Team Building 

Many companies host virtual team-building events and happy hours, understanding its importance to company morale and success. Lucie Chavez, Chief Marketing Officer of Radaris, an online public records database, provides insight into optimizing team building. 

One thing I believe can be powerful is splitting your staff into smaller groups to help them socialize individually, rather than have them feel isolated in a larger group. Especially if employees were remote and are now back in the office, it can be difficult to communicate and get to know other people.”

The strategy of splitting staff into smaller groups for happy hour is especially valuable when it comes to virtual happy hours and team building exercises—something employers are beginning to implement as a result of hybrid or remote work policies. Although virtual meetings serve as a sufficient communication tool for employees, they are relatively new territory in the workforce and still restrict connection. 

Employers are actively overcoming the challenges of remote work by prioritizing, brainstorming, and investing in new ways to approach virtual team building exercises and happy hour. Reducing the size of your meeting rooms is an excellent way to ensure employees have the opportunity to really get to know each other.

How Online Optimism Boosts Employee Engagement

From weekly remote company-wide meetings to our employee-led Culture committee, Online Optimism is always looking for ways to Optimize employee engagement. Check out our company handbook to see how we stayed engaged and sustain a healthy company culture.