The Ultimate Guide to Boosting Employee Engagement at the Workplace: 3 Strategies
Business owners and HR managers understand the importance of building a strong team that is not only capable but also motivated and determined to push the company forward and grow together with it. After all, in the business world, an enterprise is only as good as the employees that make it up.
However, many struggle to appreciate what exactly it entails to build a productive team of motivated individuals and do not know how to achieve this. Focusing on employee engagement is one of the most effective ways for businesses to boost the performance of their staff.
In this article, we will define employee engagement, discuss its benefits, talk about measuring it, and go through the most successful strategies for getting employees to be engaged and actively contributing to the common good.
Table of Content
- What Is Employee Engagement?
- Why Is Employee Engagement Important in the Workplace?
- How to Measure Engagement by Employees?
- How to Improve Employee Engagement with 3 Top Strategies
What Is Employee Engagement?
Employee engagement refers to the level of involvement, dedication, enthusiasm, and even passion that an employee feels towards their job and their workplace. In other words, this human resources (HR) concept evaluates how excited employees are about their work and company.
The employee engagement definition implies that this is directly related to the morale of both individual workers and the entire team. The level of involvement and satisfaction among individual team members and entire teams is crucial for the success of the business as happy employees are more likely to be driven to contribute to the common success.
Why Is Employee Engagement Important in the Workplace?
For many businesses with well-developed HR departments, high employee engagement in the workplace is one of the core company values.
But why? What are the benefits of employee engagement?
Let’s take a look at the main benefits of having your employees engaged from a business point of view:
1. Employees Are More Motivated and More Dedicated
Workers who feel more engaged within the company exhibit higher levels of motivation and dedication. As they feel a part of something bigger, they are happy and devoted to contribute to this thing so that they can grow, develop, and succeed together.
2. Employee Engagement Boosts Collaboration
Excited employees are looking for any opportunity to contribute to the company growth, so they are actively looking for chances to work together and cooperate with members of their own team as well as with employers from other teams within the company. This creates a company culture of in-team and cross-team collaboration which can bring to fruition many previously impossible or even unimaginable ideas and projects.
One of the best things about engaged employees is that their enthusiasm and excitement tend to be “infectious” and can easily spread over to other team members. The spillover positive impact might be quite considerable.
3. Employees Experience Less Stress and Less Burnout
Employee engagement is also associated with lower levels of stress at the workplace, and once staff feels less stressed about their job, they are more likely to engage and dedicate more effort to not only fulfilling the basic requirements but also going above and beyond. This turns into a positive cycle where engagement and a stress-free work environment reinforce each other, creating a generally more positive workplace.
The American Institute of Stress reports workplace stress to cost $300 billion per year in losses to businesses in the US alone as a result of absenteeism, declines in productivity, and workplace accidents. Boosting engagement can help eliminate this loss.
Moreover, employees who feel devoted and who experience less stress tend to reach burnout less frequently. Work-related burnout is characterized by exhaustion but also by lack of motivation and dedication. Focusing your HR efforts on improving engagement among employees can help prevent reaching a state of burnout which is really hard to fully recover from.
4. Company Productivity Is Higher
Engaged employees are more productive as they have the drive and the motivation to move forward and to push the company forward. Also as they experience stress and burnout less often, they don’t have any major obstacles on their way to achieving their full potential.
As employees who feel more engaged collaborate better with their co-workers, this in turn improves team productivity too. Ultimately, the entire company's productivity benefits from a positive push.
5. There Is Less Employee Turnover and More Employee Retention
Employees who experience a strong connection to the objectives and goals of the company are more likely to stay in the long run and work towards reaching these objectives. This translates directly into a lower employee turnover rate and a higher employee retention rate.
For many businesses, employee turnover can quickly turn into one of the highest business costs, especially for startups that suffer from notoriously high turnover rates. The last thing you want as an enterprise is to spend your limited financial and human resources on onboarding and training new employees only to lose them a few short months down the road because of failure to engage them and let them feel as part of the company.
Thus, you should not underestimate the benefit of engagement for employee retention.
6. Customer Service Is Improved
Happy employees who feel engaged with the company and its core values are more likely to work hard to deliver the necessary services to customers. This has the potential to lead to improvements in product as well as in direct customer service. The positive impacts of increased employee engagement can easily spill over into many different aspects of the business.
7. The Company Reputation Is Enhanced
Engaged employees can turn into your brand ambassadors - you don’t have to rely on loyal customers and influencers for this only. When workers feel happy, motivated, and satisfied at their workplace, they are very likely to mention this to friends who will mention it to friends, etc. As you probably realize, the business community is a small one (especially within a market or an industry), so your brand reputation can grow in no time.
Your reputation as a business that cares about employees’ wellbeing and work life balance can lead to more interest from new customers as well as more interest from new potential employees. Younger shoppers like Generation Z are showing an increased consideration for various ethical and social practices, including how workers are treated. In addition, in the current tough hiring market, it doesn’t hurt to have a positive reputation as an employer when you struggle to capture limited expert resources before competitors do.
8. New Partnerships Might Kindle
Last but not least, employee engagement is important because it might sparkle new business partnerships, albeit indirectly. As already mentioned above, employees tend to talk to their friends who might be employees or managers or even owners at other businesses. As engaged employees are devoted to helping move the business forward in any possible way, they might end up in a situation where they have a chance to bring a new partner on board. This can be someone from their own network or someone they don’t even know but that they felt encouraged to reach out to because of thinking that a partnership can benefit both parties. The increased creativity and motivation of engaged employees should not be underestimated.
How to Measure Engagement by Employees?
Since employee engagement has the potential to bring so many positives for businesses of all sizes and industries, it’s important to understand how this concept can be measured. Companies need to use some quantifiable metrics and specific tools for this purpose.
Employee Engagement Measurement Tools
One of the most popular tools for measuring how engaged employees are is the employee engagement survey. This is a standard questionnaire which asks a few short questions to try to gauge how involved and dedicated team members feel to be. A survey provides plenty of space for companies to accommodate the exact questions that they’d like to have answered.
The main benefits of a survey are that it is easy to implement (online), does not take much time (usually just a few minutes), does not require much coordination (it’s an individual activity), and gives full freedom of expression (as it’s usually conducted anonymously). Businesses should circulate an employee satisfaction survey at least once a year, preferably once every quarter.
Another tool to measure employee engagement is in-person interviews. Individual managers or HR representatives can sit with each employee and try to have an open conversation about how engaged they feel. The drawback is that employees might be less open and honest as this is not an anonymous survey, so they might feel that things they say might affect them adversely.
On the other hand, if conducted in an effective and professional manner, personal interviews might reveal much more than a limited survey. The conversation can really go in any direction, so employees have the freedom to express what exactly makes them feel engaged and what makes them feel disengaged.
In large corporation environments, it might even make sense to have employee focus groups by departments where you have a broader scale discussion on employee engagement and satisfaction.
Employee Engagement Metrics
There is no single metric to measure how engaged employees are. After all, this is somewhat of an abstract concept which cannot be simply quantified on a scale from 0 to 10. Nevertheless, there are various metrics that HR uses to measure employee engagement directly or indirectly:
- Employee turnover rate: The percentage of employees who leave the company over the period of one year. This can be both voluntary employee turnover (because employees choose to leave as they no longer feel motivated to stay at this workplace) or involuntary turnover (as they were forced to leave due to low performance, resulting from weak engagement). A high turnover rate might be a strong signal of poor employee engagement, among other potential problems within the organization.
- Employee retention rate: The proportion of employees who stay within the company over one year or another specific period of time. A high employee retention could be a good indicator of high engagement and commitment.
- Employee satisfaction: Usually this measures on a scale from 0 to 10 how satisfied workers feel with their job, workplace, and employer. Of course, this can be somewhat subjective at the individual level, but the company-level results are an excellent indicator whether employees - on average - feel connected to the company or not.
- Employee net promoter score: Similar to the net promoter score (NPS) implemented among customers, the employee net promoter score (eNPS) measures how likely your staff is to recommend the company products to their network. This is a pretty good measurement of employee satisfaction. After all, a distractor - someone who’s not willing to say good things about the product they themselves work on - is most probably highly dissatisfied and highly disengaged.
How to Improve Employee Engagement with 3 Top Strategies
In the current business environment of more frequent remote work, achieving satisfactory levels of engagement among employees is becoming increasingly more difficult. Getting workers to feel motivated and driven has always been a challenge for companies, but it’s even more challenging when it has to be done with no personal communication and interaction. In remote working circumstances, opportunities for meaningful team building activities are limited.
Moreover, many business owners and leaders make the crude mistake of assuming that improving employee engagement is a purely HR responsibility. The truth of the matter is that company owners and leaders have just as much to contribute to this crucial piece of company culture as their HR departments, if not more.
So, now more than ever, businesses need to put efforts into launching effective employee engagement programs to get - and retain - everyone on board.
Let’s take a look at a few online employee engagement strategies that have proven to deliver results, especially in the expanding remote work environment:
Though many have negative associations when they hear about quizzes as they start thinking about school examinations, quizzes at the workplace can actually be a fun strategy to engage employees.
During the onboarding and training process, you can integrate short quizzes which aim to retain the attention of new employees and make sure that they learn everything they need to know about the business, the company culture, the team, and their basic responsibilities. Knowing exactly what you are getting into is a prerequisite for feeling comfortable and involved.
The role of quizzes as one of the best employee engagement ideas does not end with this. After the training stage, you can periodically send quizzes to your team members to distract them from their everyday routine and let them have some fun. You can have personality quizzes, pop culture quizzes, or even a small competition “Who Knows Our Product Best Quiz”.
The trick is to make these quizzes fun and to use them to promote a healthy dose of competitive spirit among the team that everyone uses to improve. The goal is to get everyone to know each other better, to know the company and the management better, and to feel more related and connected.
Another proven strategy on how to increase employee engagement is through the usage of video at the workplace. This is particularly important and beneficial for remote teams that rarely - if ever - see each other in person.
Again, there are many different ways in which you can make use of video to gamify processes at work and make everyone feel more involved and dedicated. During onboarding, you can include videos with C-levels who personally welcome the new employee. This will already make them feel important and appreciated and will immediately boost their engagement.
Throughout training, video manuals are more effective in delivering knowledge than simple written texts and images. This holds true both for initial training and continuous on-the-job skill improvement opportunities.
A recent trend in employee engagement activities is to also incorporate videos in quizzes. Employees are much more likely to take part in something that promises to be fun and engaging rather than a standard multiple choice quiz.
A must-have aspect of a successful employee engagement strategy is gamification. This is a recent tactic that has already gained a lot of popularity and traction because of its effectiveness. Gamification refers to using a digital setup to encourage employees to achieve a specific goal in a competitive environment.
Online games for employee engagement might aim to collect points, unlock rewards, improve their status, and reach milestones. The ultimate goal is to boost loyalty and engagement through fun, rewarding activities.
Gamification can be implemented throughout the employee journey, from onboarding on.
Getting Started with the Best Employee Engagement Platform
While the benefits of launching an employee engagement program are clear, how to go about this in a practical way might be less clear.
How do you start improving the engagement of your employees in a fun, non-intrusive way yet effective way?
With the help of an employee engagement tool like Core Team.
With a simple subscription to Core Team, you get unlimited access to all the tools that you need to engage your employees in an online environment through quizzes, videos, and gamification. All of these products are highly customizable so they fit the needs of businesses of all sizes and in all industries. You can decide which employees, at what frequency, and how exactly to engage while analyzing results and adjusting your strategy dynamically.
Click here to sign up for a free demo of Core Team.
AI and Personalization
Daniela has 6 years of experience in digital marketing for ecommerce businesses.
Aws is the Co-Founder of Coretava, a complete retail ecommerce growth platform. He has 6+ years of experience in managing and growing ecommerce businesses.