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6 Employee Engagement Strategies to Try in 2024

6 Employee Engagement Strategies to Try in 2024

The key to improving employee engagement is measuring how engaged your employees are and understanding what they want and need. 

6 Employee Engagement Strategies to Try in 2024

Keeping your employees engaged not only contributes to higher retention rates in your company but also increases your profitability by up to 23%, according to Gallup’s Q12 survey

On the other hand, disengagement among employees leads to higher turnover rates and, thus, higher hiring costs. 

This proves employee engagement is crucial to your company’s success and financial well-being. Keeping existing employees happy within their roles is more cost-effective and productive than recruiting and training new hires. 

The question remains: how do you improve employee engagement within your company? In this article, we’ll discuss some of the most effective employee engagement strategies based on research. 

How to Improve Employee Engagement

The key to improving employee engagement is measuring how engaged your employees are and understanding what they want and need. 

Once you understand the current engagement level, you'll be able to leverage the right strategies to improve it, whether it’s on your own or under the guidance of an expert employee engagement manager.

Here are some things to do to improve employee engagement.

Start measuring employee engagement 

Before you can develop employee engagement strategies that will actually make a change in your organization, you first need to understand the current engagement level. 

While intangible and hard to measure, there are ways you can use to get an approximate idea of how engaged your employees are. You can gather employee engagement data in many ways, for example, via employee surveys, 1:1 interviews with employees, HR metrics, and company newsletter open rates.

You can then use this data to gauge the existing engagement levels and persuade company leaders to invest in employee engagement strategies within a realistic budget. 

💡 Another thing you can do to understand current engagement levels in your company is to take a closer look at employee churn. A high turnover rate may indicate low employee engagement. Measuring the employee turnover rate can give you tangible proof that employees are unhappy at work and, thus, leaving the company.

Make sure your employees work in a safe environment

According to research by the Pew Research Center, 37% of employees who left their jobs cited low pay as the main reason for quitting, 35% said they felt disrespected at work, and 33% left due to the lack of growth opportunities. 

Unsurprisingly, when employees don't feel respected or feel they aren’t fairly compensated for their hard work, they disengage and leave their jobs - or “quiet quit.”

That’s why, before you even start thinking about employee engagement strategies, you must fill in basic employee needs, such as: 

  • Creating a psychologically safe environment that doesn’t induce social anxiety. 
  • Making sure there’s a work-life balance, which may include flexible working schedules or the possibility of working remotely. 
  • Compensating your employees fairly based on their roles, skills, and market standards. 

Unless you’re already covering these needs, there’s no point in investing in any employee engagement strategy. Because unless these needs are covered, nothing will make your employees feel more engaged with their jobs.   

5 areas to improve employee engagement

Identify what areas can be worked on to increase employee engagement

There are 5 areas where employees need to feel comfortable in order to be engaged:

  • The work environment 
  • The people they work with 
  • The company culture and vision 
  • Their input into the company’s growth and success 
  • Their personal goals and needs 

When one or more of these areas don't meet employee needs, their engagement can suffer. 

That's why it's crucial to take action. 

You can pinpoint the problem areas by conducting surveys and seeking employee feedback. 

This way, you can make targeted improvements rather than shooting in the dark with random strategies that may not fix the real problems.  

💡 Many employees fear sharing their honest feedback in employee surveys, so make sure to create a supportive environment where employees feel safe to be candid. Make it clear that surveys are anonymous and confidential, and assure employees there won't be any negative consequences for sharing their true thoughts.

Allocate enough resources to make a real change

Unless you’re willing to go all in and allocate enough resources to implement the right strategies, you won’t be able to make a real change in your employees’ engagement level. 

This means allocating resources for tools like idea management or employee recognition platforms, skill development training, and wellness programs. It could also involve hiring an employee engagement manager to suggest and implement these strategies while keeping a close eye on their performance.

Improving employee engagement requires a significant investment, but disengaged employees cost you even more. In fact, U.S. corporations lose $350 billion each year on disengaged employees. 

In the long term, investing in an employee engagement strategy is more cost-effective than constantly hiring new people due to high turnover caused by low engagement. 

Make employee engagement an ongoing initiative

Improving employee engagement isn’t a one-time initiative. It goes beyond hosting a single mental health event or implementing a short-term solution. It’s an ongoing movement that should become part of your company culture. 

To show your employees that you genuinely care about their job satisfaction and well-being, you must commit to creating an employee-centric workplace that prioritizes their needs. 

This means fostering a supportive and inclusive atmosphere, providing opportunities for personal and professional growth, and actively listening to their feedback. 

6 Best Employee Engagement Strategies Based on Research

Improving employee engagement within your company is easier said than done. While your first instinct might be to include more perks and benefits, doing this won’t necessarily make your employees more engaged (only more satisfied with their work conditions). 

So, here are some effective employee engagement strategies based on research.   

6 Best Employee Engagement Strategies Based on Research

Foster a culture of innovation

Research shows that having a culture of innovation within your company drives employee engagement. And vice versa, engaged employees drive innovation. 

A company that focuses on innovation should welcome all ideas from its employees. And when all ideas are heard and given an equal opportunity, employees feel heard. The drive for innovation makes them feel part of the company's future. 

One way you can foster a culture of innovation in your company is to encourage your employees to share ideas and voice concerns without fear of backlash, embarrassment, or rejection, creating a psychologically safe environment to do so. 

💡 To further encourage innovation, use an idea management tool that enables your employees to contribute their ideas whenever inspiration strikes. It will provide them with a reliable system that assures them their ideas won't be ignored or thrown away on the spot but carefully reviewed.

Encourage your employees’ personal growth

According to a survey by McKinsey & Company, 41% of employees quit their previous jobs due to a lack of career development and advancement opportunities. 

When employees feel stuck in their roles without the chance to learn new skills or take on more responsibility, they are more likely to become disengaged. 

This lack of engagement can lead to decreased performance, increased absenteeism, and even higher turnover rates. On the other hand, investing in your employees’ personal growth can result in higher job satisfaction and increased productivity. 

You can drive employee engagement by enabling employees to grow within their roles, for example, with skill training, mentorship programs, and cross-training opportunities. 

💡 You can go even further and follow the example of Google's 20% Time policy, allocating a portion of your work hours for your employees to explore their innovative ideas and passion projects. This is not only great for engagement but also strengthens your company’s culture of innovation and can lead to the creation of innovative solutions.

Foster helpful and transparent management 

Mistrust in management is one of the main reasons why employees disengage. Often, top-down management and lack of organizational support cause employees to feel anxiety and stress, leading them to shut down. 

After all, managers are key figures in every company, and they directly affect how employees feel about their jobs. 

That’s why promoting helpful and transparent management is crucial to improve employee engagement. 

For some companies, this means shifting their approach to management from overseeing every task to providing support and mentoring employees when needed and giving them room to develop their skills.

Another element of transparent management is setting clear goals and promoting open communication between employees, coworkers, and managers. 

To improve employee engagement, it's essential to build trust. This involves creating a safe space where everyone can ask questions without fear of judgment or hesitation to ask for help. 

💡 Employees who see a future within your organization are more likely to stay engaged and contribute to its success. To boost employee engagement, show your employees that there's a clear career path within the company. This means offering skill development training, mentorship, internal promotions, and the possibility to change roles.

Make work meaningful 

Research shows that meaningfulness is one of the three psychological triggers that play a big role in employee engagement (along with safety and availability). In other words, employees tend to be more engaged if they find their work meaningful. 

Thus, building a culture of meaningfulness in your company can help you improve employee engagement. Meaningfulness at work boils down to choosing the right job-person fit and making your employees feel like their efforts matter and they're making a real impact. 

To create this sense of meaning, assign tasks that are somewhat challenging, offer creative freedom, and enable them to pick up and explore new skills. 

It's also important to give employees a say in how things are done to make them feel like what they do matters. 

Work on relationships at work

Building meaningful relationships at work is one of the main drivers of employee engagement. Engaged employees have better relationships with their colleagues and managers and are less likely to create or engage in conflicts or interfere with each other’s work. 

Ultimately, better relationships among colleagues and managers lead to improved teamwork, fewer disruptions, and increased productivity.

Yet, better employee relationships don’t mean spending their work hours gossiping or engaging in long conversations about their personal life. Instead, it means that engaged employees focus on their work and build better connections with those who are equally committed to their tasks. 

It also means building trust between employees and their managers and creating a harmonious work environment where everyone feels safe. 

To build healthy relationships among your employees that lead to increased engagement, you can organize team-building activities, like icebreaker games or brainstorming sessions. 

You should also encourage open communication and collaboration through regular team meetings or workshops that focus on interpersonal skills.

Examples of team-building activities

You can organize them in the office or virtually to strengthen relationships among employees.

  • Scavenger Hunt: A fun treasure hunt where team members follow clues and find hidden items to complete tasks.
  • Two Truths and a Lie: A game where each person says three things about themselves, and the rest of the team guesses which one is a lie.
  • Escape Room: An activity in which team members work together to solve puzzles and "escape" from a locked room within a set time frame.
  • Handle employee complaints

    If you want to keep your employees happy, you must not only listen to their complaints but also act on them. 

    Collecting employee feedback will help you see things from their perspective and pinpoint issues that may easily go unnoticed in a managerial role. 

    Using a bottom-up approach to management - one that allows for key decisions to begin with the employees - can help to build a workplace culture of innovation and constant improvement. It also empowers your employees by giving them a voice, which leads to increased levels of engagement. 

    Aside from gathering employee feedback, you should also listen to customer complaints. 

    Learning from external negative feedback can help you identify and fix internal issues. It also allows you to shield frontline employees from taking all the heat from unhappy customers. 

    💡 Use Ideanote to collect employee ideas on how to improve internal processes and company culture. Ideanote provides your employees with a user-friendly and easily accessible platform to share their feedback. It also allows you to ensure that no idea slips through the cracks and that every suggestion is carefully considered and implemented when appropriate.

    Ready to engage your people?

    Do you think your company could be doing more to engage employees?

    If you're looking for an all-in-one solution for your innovation, look no further than Ideanote! With our flexible platform you can do everything from collecting ideas, engaging your crowd and analyzing your innovation performance.

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