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8 Employee Engagement Strategies to Retain Top Talent

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    Employee engagement strategies are the methods and initiatives companies use to inspire employees, enhance their experience and cultivate their long-term happiness. But not every approach to higher engagement will work for all companies. To help you care for and motivate your people, we’ve narrowed down eight impactful strategies you can use to start raising engagement in your organization. Read how to foster an environment where people actually want to work.

    It doesn’t matter if you offer someone their dream job. They won’t stick around long if it doesn’t engage them.

    Regardless of what your organization does, it needs an engaged workforce to do it well. And employee engagement is an issue companies everywhere struggle to address. In fact, only 23% of employees around the world feel engaged, according to Gallup. (The U.S. doesn’t fare much better at just 33%.)

    Ready to turn the tables on a lackluster experience and foster an environment that inspires your people to thrive? We’ll start by exploring why you should prioritize engagement. Then we’ll outline eight employee engagement strategies you can start implementing immediately.

    Let’s set the stage to engage.

    What is an employee engagement strategy?

    An employee engagement strategy is the method a company uses to:

    • inspire and motivate talent
    • connect employees with their work
    • cultivate a healthy and inclusive environment
    • attract, retain and develop employees to reach long-term organizational goals

    These approaches may vary based on the specific needs of an organization. For example, a sales-driven business may find mentoring, commission and group celebrations help create a winning culture that motivates employees to compete. A health care facility, on the other hand, may instead place more of a focus on easing its workforce’s stress and preventing burnout.

    Regardless of the specific purpose the strategy serves, it ultimately exists to keep talent as long as possible.

    Why is employee engagement important?

    Employee engagement is important because it allows you to amplify your organization’s most valuable resource: people. Without engaged and satisfied workers, a company would struggle to meet goals and meaningfully grow in its sector.

    Consider these seven ways high employee engagement helps organizations flourish.

    1. Employee retention and less turnover

    Engaged workers will more likely stay with a company for the long haul. Think of this way: Why would you leave an employer that inspires and fills you with purpose?

    While it’s impossible to keep every employee forever, high engagement can boost your staff’s trust, motivation and, ultimately, retention. The more compelled people feel to work at your company, the less likely they’ll find a need to go elsewhere.

    Read this blog post to learn about other strategies for boosting employee retention.

    2. Employee happiness and well-being

    It sounds simple, but it’s true: Happy employees are dedicated employees. By engaging people with work and initiatives that satisfy them, organizations create a compelling reason for workers to stay. This applies to everything from workplace programs to even compensation. For instance, unconventional benefits — like family-forming resources and pet insurance — consider employees holistically and demonstrate concern for their sustained happiness.

    3. Increased productivity

    By engaging employees with their work, employers can inspire contributors to focus, collaborate and boost organizational output. After all, we tend to chase the things that matter to us. By instilling a sense of purpose in employees by engaging them, businesses can reap the benefit of improving the rate and quality of their products and services.

    4. Higher morale

    High engagement can offset the effects of burnout and fatigue, exciting people about their work. It can even turn the tide on phenomena like loud and quiet quitting. At the same time, engaged employees may feel more compelled to find joy in their work. They may even associate the organizational success with their own professional legacy.

    5. Higher employee advocacy

    If an employee loves where they work, why wouldn’t they share it? Engaged employees can serve as ambassadors for your organization. They could recommend their company on social media or tout their employer in casual conversation. Either way, engaged workers act like magnets by attracting potential candidates and future employees.

    6. Increased collaboration

    When engagement spikes, so does collaboration. Inspired employees tend to be more open to sharing ideas and contributing to something bigger than themselves. By prioritizing engagement, you can create more than just a workplace. You build a place where people want to work together.

    7. Organizational success

    If employees succeed, so does their employer. High engagement encourages people to align personal goals with those of the organization. Keep it sustained for long enough, and talent will find more reasons to establish a career where they work. In turn, businesses benefit from committed employees who could eventually fill the leadership roles the organization will eventually need.

    8 employee engagement strategies

    You know why high employee engagement matters. Now let’s expand upon what your business can do to cultivate it. Keep in mind that what follows are fluid strategies. Adapt them as you see fit to satisfy the specific needs of your business.

    Lean on these eight considerations as you lay the foundation or tweak your preexisting strategy for consistent employee engagement.

    1. Work-life balance

    Work may be an important part of someone’s life, but it doesn’t define their life. After all, we’re human. We need breaks and opportunities to relax no matter the level at which we perform.

    Any push to heighten engagement should keep this principle in mind. If possible, ask managers to encourage employees to use their time off. You could take this a step further by offering on-site wellness resources such as support groups and well-being advisors.

    Even people with the most motivating, purposeful jobs can risk burnout without a proper balance or at least sway with what they do. Make it clear as you build out your engagement initiative that you see employees as people first.

    2. Growth opportunities

    Few employees want to occupy the same role forever. To get ahead of stagnation, make sure it’s clear that your workforce understands how individuals can develop and advance through your organization.

    Pairing employees with mentors helps illuminate the path they can look forward to and provides them a glimpse into their future. Cross-department training can also help empower employees with new responsibilities while allowing them to see the big picture of their contributions.

    Finally, use the right learning management software to supply hungry employees with regular and engaging training. This will help them forge their own development path while allowing you to create a health culture of continued learning. Ultimately, giving employees something to aspire to will give them another reason to invest in their company.

    3. Open communication and transparency

    Employees engage with a company they know. In other words, it’s hard for any of us to feel connected to our employers when we’re left in the dark. Shine some much-needed light by encouraging open, frequent and transparent communication with everyone in your organization.

    For example, you could provide a recurring newsletter or use an internal digital experience to engage employees with updates that matter to them. You should also broadcast any major organizational shifts, such as leadership changes or new priorities.

    And don’t make communication a one-way street. Empower your people with the opportunity to ask questions and discuss the factors that impact their jobs. This can help build a sense of trust, a crucial element for sustained employee engagement.

    4. Positive culture

    You can’t expect an employee to thrive at work if they don’t feel included. Encourage managers and other leaders to actively unwind bias and prioritize a positive, equitable culture.

    Corporate philanthropy and community outreach programs offer one way for employees to feel connected to their work. They also help frame your organization as an empathetic force in the world at large. If you show employees how much your company cares, it gives them a compelling reason to care for their employer.

    And as you foster a positive culture, make sure you do it with sincerity. Follow through with the promises you make to communities your organization serves. Plus, show employees the impact of these efforts, for instance, through internal videos or testimonials from charities your company supports.

    5. Recognition and rewards

    Sure, pizza parties can be fun. But they don’t meaningfully demonstrate that you care for employees.

    In tandem with creating a positive culture, make a point to celebrate individual and organizational wins. This doesn’t always have to involve a huge spectacle, but employees should see the value of and appreciation for their work.

    Any large, recurring meetings should include an acknowledgment of recent achievements and milestones. Normalize sending kudos to employees. You could even consider broadcasting accomplishments through a company newsletter or bulletin board.

    And remember, don’t make this push for positivity overbearing. Highlight wins, of course, but don’t go overboard by making a celebration out of everything. Normalize meaningful success and take time to think about what that means at your business.

    6. Manager and employee feedback

    Employees, not assumptions, should inform any push to raise engagement. Train and encourage managers to provide insightful, constructive feedback. At the same time, employees should have an opportunity to provide feedback of their own.

    Give your people the opportunity to conduct manager reviews. Doing so will allow them to voice what they need from their supervisor and speak to the personal ways employees wish to grow. At the same time, conduct anonymous surveys or feedback sessions so workers can provide their thoughts on:

    • new initiatives
    • areas of concern
    • unclear or confusing matters
    • any issue they feel needs attention

    As you encourage an environment built on feedback, you emphasize to employees that their opinions matter.

    7. Competitive compensation and benefits

    Though all of us work for different reasons, we all do it to at least get paid. Ensure your wages and salaries at least reflect or even exceed the industry standard. And when it comes to raises and merit increases, make it clear why employees receive them.

    Also, don’t forget compensation is bigger than money. Research unique and interesting benefits that take a holistic approach to wellness. While not every perk will speak to your workforce, you should at least offer options that cover a wide array of needs. In fact, you could conduct surveys to determine which benefits speak to employees, as well as which of your current options don’t move the needle.

    Regardless, continue to reevaluate your compensation strategy and ensure you meaningfully compete with similar businesses in your industry. Think of this push as assurance to support your other engagement initiatives.

    8. Promote transparency

    Trust and engagement go hand in hand. Encourage everyone in your organization to share their thoughts at the level they feel comfortable with. Again, your company should internally broadcast organization shifts, but managers and other key stakeholders should open up about the direction of the company.

    If employees ask questions about a company’s long-term goals, answer them directly and honestly. Employees will likely see that openness as a sign that their organization cares about their concerns.

    Consider also implementing employee resource groups and other settings that allow workers to share their thoughts and learn from others with similar experiences. Transparency may feel uncomfortable at first, but it’s ultimately a catalyst for consistently high engagement.

    How to create an employ engagement strategy framework

    Once you identify your strategy for employee engagement, you can look at the angles you need to implement it. While the exact order in which you proceed depends on the priorities of your business, your approach should eventually hit as many major areas of focus as possible.

    For example, consider these areas as you build your framework for raising engagement:

    • leadership, or how employees perceive your managers, directors and executives
    • development, or how employees can expect to grow and learn in your organization
    • feedback, or how your organization provides and receives criticism to and from employees
    • communication, or how frequently and accessibly your organization broadcasts updates and other news to employees
    • employer brand, or how current and prospective employees perceive your organization as a positive workplace
    • well-being, or the way your company looks after and empowers an employee’s whole self

    And remember, boosting employee engagement won’t happen overnight. Embrace experimentation and champion innovative ideas. With enough effort, patience and commitment, you can create a workplace people genuinely love.

    Employee engagement strategies: FAQ

    What kind of training and development opportunities should seniors provide in a workspace?

    Senior employees and managers should make a conscious effort to mentor new hires and encourage them to ask questions. Doing so will normalize a culture of transparency and collaboration — a key aspect of highly engaging workplaces.

    How do you conduct surveys to check employee engagement?

    Engagement can seem nebulous, but it’s measurable through consistent internal surveys. Ask employees to provide feedback about how they feel in the workplace, and use scale-based questions to get a more accurate idea of your engagement levels.

    What employee engagement strategy is the most effective?

    The most effective employee engagement strategy will depend on the needs of your organization and the talent you employ. Collaborate with HR, upper leadership and even senior employees to determine the best route for boosting engagement.

    Explore Paycom’s resources to learn more about employee engagement, well-being and more.

    DISCLAIMER: The information provided herein does not constitute the provision of legal advice, tax advice, accounting services or professional consulting of any kind. The information provided herein should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional legal, tax, accounting or other professional advisers. Before making any decision or taking any action, you should consult a professional adviser who has been provided with all pertinent facts relevant to your particular situation and for your particular state(s) of operation.