You don’t want to imagine how catastrophic disengagement can be to your business. Things can quickly take a negative turn for the worse, from lower productivity to a dip in profitability. According to the global Gallup study, only 15% of full-time employees are engaged in the workplace, while a higher percentage is not very enthusiastic or deeply involved in their work.
Ouch, that’s gotta hurt.
The HR department is an active partner in measuring and solving issues with employee engagement, but one department can’t make an organization all sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows; it takes everyone.
Here’s an analogy for you; Let’s see the leadership team as the maestro to the orchestra, and the HR department is the percussion section that helps keep everyone on pace and on course while the rest of the organization, the ensemble, plays their parts of the melody.
Here are some strategies HR can deploy to help drive and re-ignite employee engagement that will help get everyone on the same note.
1. Communicate More…But Don’t Lose The Fun
It’s natural for teams and departments to become disconnected as the business grows. You will need a committed internal communications team to keep communications up to date so the organization is aware of what’s going on at a pretty frequent pace, or else soon, key stakeholders start to feel out of the loop.
This can be quarterly financial updates, new acquisition or product announcements, or new hires on the team – all of this is key information to share to ensure your teams don’t wake up and not recognize the company they once knew. Now that remote work is the order of the day, more effort will be needed using digital tools and regular check-ins.
Getting on a weekly Zoom call with your teams or using a platform like MS Teams or Slack for quick questions and social interaction are great and easy tools that make the connectivity of the day more manageable and a bit more fun too. Who said you couldn’t make it to a breakfast meeting, where everyone gets their own personalized order of pancakes? Sign me up! Examples like this have a way of building more comradery amongst the staff and gets them involved.
2. Bring Some TLC To Wellbeing
It’s no surprise that employee engagement and wellbeing have a connection. They go together like cookies and milk (if that is your fancy). Working virtually and staring at a screen for 8 hours a day doesn’t do anyone any good. From employee assistance programs (EAPs) to mental health awareness and promoting fitness and mindfulness, these are all ways to improve the wellbeing of employees. When working from home, it’s easy to keep working without any breaks, especially when the workload is high. It’s essential to encourage working hours and when you see team members working beyond that to step in and assist. The last thing you want is burnout on your team, am I right?
3. Build A Feedback Culture
Your employees’ voices matter. They know the day in and day out of your business and have great insight on improvements to make business operations work better. Employees want to add value and be listened to, especially when it comes to the workplace that they love.
So don’t miss out on an opportunity to get that feedback (the good and the bad) to ensure you have your blind spots covered and are taking advantage of opportunities that could be real wins. With the wonderful world of technology today, surveys can be 100% anonymous, so even those who don’t like to share can share freely without name-dropping.
You can’t be at 100 places at once, and creating a culture of feedback allows you to get in on the ground floor on what is going on with your employees, clients, and the market, which all affects your business.
4. Have A Well-Defined Mission Statement
Question for you- ever follow a map where you didn’t know the end destination? Exactly. The same goes for your employees. Your teams will be better positioned to understand how their roles and actions align with the organization’s objectives when the mission and vision of the business are clearly defined.
As a business grows and pivots, so do mission statements and direction, which is part of the journey. So you need to monitor and measure the mission statement at least yearly to ensure your employees have aligned their efforts to the proper outcomes.
Taking on the habit of an annual objective and goal-setting exercise with your leadership and the management team is a great practice to ensure everyone starts off the year on the same page. As they say, it all starts from the top.
5. Employee Empowerment Is Never A Bad Idea
We’ve all been there. The pressure is on, lots of work and not enough time to do it, so what do you do? Naturally, you micromanage and oversee every little detail to ensure that nothing goes wrong and that you meet your deadline.
It’s tempting to think micromanagement is the way to go when there’s a lot of pressure, but when you are a chronic micromanager, employee engagement takes a toll. Employees will lose motivation, but they will also stop taking the initiative, have lower confidence, and top it off, work bottlenecks are created.
End result – turnover. Ever hear the saying, employees don’t quit jobs they quit managers – yeah, we don’t want that. To avoid this, you need to empower, support, and trust your employees to work independently and create a safe space for them to ask questions.
6. Acknowledge Excellent Performance
Recognizing outstanding performance and hard work is important when building an engaging culture. Now, do rockstar employees need to get a standing ovation at every team meeting? No – but we should take the time to recognize what appreciation for employees looks like to acknowledge and appreciate them in the right way.
Some employees like public displays, while others like a nice thank you email – it’s all in the details. Regardless of how your employees like to be recognized, you must take the time and show how their hard work has paid off and that you and the team genuinely appreciate them.
Want to celebrate virtually? Many virtual communication tools have social channels where you can dedicate conversation to celebratory moments and recognition. With us not being in the office, you can send over a nice bottle of champagne and cake. Now, who doesn’t love champagne and cake? Yeah, exactly.
Although HR represents the custodian for all things employee and the workplace, it is the whole organization’s responsibility to drive optimal performance and engagement. The best of employee engagement comes from the collective effort in the organization. When everyone sees engagement as everyone’s business, then we will start to see genuine and authentic accountability and trust, which is at the heart of the best companies.