5 Ways to Build Employee Engagement

Are your employees excited about what they do? Probably not – only about 36 percent of people in the U.S. feel engaged at work. And that’s bad news, because employees who aren’t engaged are less productive and may be more likely to leave the company.

Fortunately, it’s not hard to create an environment where employee engagement can thrive. Try these simple strategies to boost employee engagement.

1) Foster Healthy Relationships with Co-workers

Healthy relationships are the key to strong teams. Encourage the types of events and perks that can bring employees closer together as friends. Perhaps you could buy a foosball table for the break room or organize a yearly office potluck for the holidays. 

You should also be aware that workplace bullying is on the rise. Implement anti-bullying initiatives to foster healthy interactions and productive collaboration in the workplace. Stay abreast of what’s going on between colleagues. Listen to employee concerns and deal with any acts of aggression fairly and promptly to prevent bullying in your workplace.

2) Recognize Anniversaries and Employee Life Milestones

It’s very important to have an employee anniversary recognition program. Recognizing an employee’s years of service on their work anniversary each year shows you care. You can buy them a card, get a cake, or offer them an extra day off for every year of service. Whatever you decide to do, recognizing the day gives employees a chance to reflect on their years of service. A program that rewards years of service will encourage employees to stay longer.

You should also show that you care about employees as individuals by recognizing major personal achievements and life milestones in the office. Pass around a card when someone gets married or has a baby. Bring in free food to celebrate employee birthdays. Gestures like these remind employees that you’re thinking of them as individuals, not just employees.

3) Give Employees the Tools They Need

Your employees need the right equipment if you expect them to do their jobs with any amount of efficiency. They’re also going to need access to resources like office supplies, internet, professional development tools, and corporate email accounts. Make sure they have up-to-date computer equipment and all the resources they need to do their jobs quickly and efficiently. 

Also make sure that processes aren’t overly complex or bureaucratic. Employees shouldn’t have to remember multiple passwords to get into their systems, for example. There shouldn’t be barriers or obstacles that employees have to overcome in order to do their jobs effectively. People need to be more agile in today’s fast-changing business environment. 

4) Offer Individualized Attention

One of the reasons it can be so hard to build engagement is that different approaches work for different kinds of people. You should talk to your employees to find out what will help them do better at their jobs. Most people want some level of autonomy in their job, the ability to decide for themselves when and how to do the work, at least when possible. 

But some employees want more detailed guidance, and there may be varying preferences for things like public praise and attention. Talk to employees to see what they prefer, so that you don’t make anyone uncomfortable or embarrassed with, for example, an office-wide announcement of their achievement where it’s not welcome.

5) Connect with Employee Values

Did you know that employees are willing to accept a lot less money from companies that align with their own core values? People want to work for companies that support social change, so you need a corporate mission beyond being an industry leader or filling a need in your community. You need to stand for environmental sustainability or social change in such a way that having a societal impact is part of your company mission. 

You’ll also need to show employees how their day-to-day tasks contribute to the overall functioning of the company. Everyone at your company has their own vital role to play to make everything run smoothly. The cleaner is just as important as the CEO. When employees can see how their efforts contribute to the whole, they’re a lot more likely to feel like their values align with the company’s. 

Building employee engagement can be a great move for your company. Engaged employees are more productive, and that can mean your company is more likely to do well with a fully invested staff on board. Do everything you can to get employees feeling connected to their work, and everyone will end up better off.

Adam Hansen

Adam is a part time journalist, entrepreneur, investor and father.