How to Improve Employee Engagement

For a business to succeed, it’s imperative that employees remain engaged and productive. But this is often easier said than done, especially since improving employee engagement usually involves careful planning and a change in company culture. There are things you can do though, and it’s sometimes possible to see results right away. 

In this blog, we’ll share our top tips for improving employee engagement and how you can implement them in your own business.

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What is employee engagement?

Employee engagement is a concept that describes how an employee feels about their job, the performance of the company and how enthusiastic they are about their work. The level of engagement a person feels at work can have a direct impact on their productivity levels, and in turn, the output and performance of the organisation. 

For example, an engaged employee is typically someone who cares about their work and takes pride in what they deliver. They feel that their work makes a difference and they are motivated to put in the effort to ensure success for everyone.

A disengaged employee, however, is not emotionally committed to their work and will not feel a sense of pride towards their organisation. They will not be productive employees, often putting in poor performance and failing to meet deadlines and targets. 

How to engage employees

Whether you’re a start-up who wants to ensure your future workers are engaged from the start, or you’ve noticed a dip in engagement levels with your current workforce, there are several things you can do to improve the engagement of your workers. Here are our top employee motivation and engagement strategies:

Communicate effectively

The first step in any engagement strategy is communication. Without good communication across your entire workforce, you run the risk of your employees feeling disconnected from one another. 

Ensuring you communicate regularly is especially important for organisations with remote or hybrid working policies, as home workers are often the first to feel disengaged or out of the loop. A Buffer survey found that the second and third biggest challenges associated with remote working were loneliness and a lack of communication. 

There are lots of things you can do to improve communication across your organisation, from circulating company news more frequently to simply encouraging ‘water cooler’ chat for your remote employees who don’t have the opportunity to catch up with colleagues in the office. As a manager or company owner, it’s also important to make sure you are accessible to your workers, whether you choose to have an open-door policy or you personally communicate with your employees on a regular basis. 

Ensuring you have plenty of lines of communication is essential too, whether you use a collaboration tool like Slack, a video calling and chat platform like Microsoft Teams or good old fashioned email. You should promote your preferred methods of communication to all your employees and ensure they can use them appropriately to keep in touch with their line managers and colleagues. 

If background noise is an issue for remote workers, the Krisp app effectively removes unwanted noise from both ends of a conference call and works with over 800 communication tools.

Invest in wellbeing

A key thing to remember when you are responsible for a team of people is that everyone has a personal life as well as a professional purpose. It’s therefore important that wellbeing plays a role in improving employee engagement, especially as the two are closely linked and have an impact on one another. 

Research has shown that when employee engagement and wellbeing work together, they can promote a more productive workplace, decreasing burnout and improving motivation. However, if the two become disconnected, it can result in poor performance and negatively impact a person’s mental health. 

Investing in the wellbeing of your employees is not only important for engagement, but can also set you apart from other businesses who simply see their employees as worker bees and don’t pay attention to their health and wellbeing. 

There are a few different things you can do to invest in wellbeing for your employees, including the following:

  • Promote healthy eating and exercise
  • Introduce wellbeing-focused benefits such as discounted gym memberships or free access to meditation apps
  • Consider introducing an Employee Assistance Programme
  • Encourage regular breaks and normalise finishing on time
  • Provide opportunities for social get-togethers outside work
  • Create a comfortable work environment
  • Offer a fair, above-average holiday allowance
  • Help employees develop their careers and meet long-term goals

Regularly check-in

Annual or mid-year reviews or appraisals are no longer enough for the modern workforce, especially for employees who work remotely and don’t benefit from on-the-fly conversations in the office. And checking in doesn’t always mean a formal conversation about work; it could just be a chat to find out how a person is feeling. 

You should make an effort to regularly check in with your employees, ask how they are and how they are managing their workload, but also ask about their plans for the weekend to make sure they are looking after their wellbeing and not overdoing it with work. 

If you have a largely remote workforce, you should also make face-to-face conversations a priority, whether you have a weekly video call with each employee or ask to meet for lunch every so often.  

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Ask for feedback

It might seem obvious, but asking your employees how they feel about work and gathering their feedback in a survey is an invaluable tool for improving engagement. But why conduct an employee engagement survey? By regularly surveying your employees, you can discover areas for improvement and find out what is making employees feel disengaged, and likewise find things that make them feel more engaged. 

Giving your employees a voice can also improve engagement in itself, by showing your workforce that you’re a forward-thinking company that cares about the wellbeing of its staff. Whether you choose to send anonymous surveys once a quarter, have a suggestions box in the staffroom or ask for feedback during one-to-one conversations, feedback is essential. 

Provide recognition and feedback

Just as asking for feedback is vital for improving engagement, regularly giving feedback and recognition to your employees is important too. Ensure you and your team leaders regularly look for a job well done and provide positive feedback to the employee who did the work. 

You could also publicly acknowledge the work they have done on your company intranet, social media or other collaboration platforms. It’s also a great idea to encourage employees to provide recognition or thanks to one another, fostering a culture of positivity and recognition. 

Feedback is particularly important for millennial workers, who currently make up a huge portion of the global workforce. A TriNet survey found that 74% of millennials feel ‘in the dark’ about how they are performing at work, leaving them feeling disengaged and unsettled.

How to measure employee engagement

While implementing the above employee motivation and engagement strategies can go some way to improving employee engagement, you need to measure their effectiveness to see how they are working in your organisation. There are several things you can do to measure employee engagement.

We’ve already mentioned the importance of employee engagement surveys and gathering feedback, but this is one of the best ways to measure employee engagement. Hearing directly from your employees is the quickest and most effective way to find out how your employees feel and what you can do about it.

Another method for measuring engagement is to calculate your employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS). You can do this when you send your feedback surveys, gathering the results and calculating the scores to find your most and least engaged employees at the end. Calculating your eNPS uses a simple formula to assess how your workers feel about work and your organisation.

Your employee retention levels can also help you measure how engaged your employees are. Disengaged employees are unlikely to stay with you, while engaged workers are more likely to stay with you for longer. Look for patterns in your retention levels to find out whether you have a problem with engagement and keeping loyal staff. 

With some employee engagement productivity statistics stating that UK workers are only productive for two hours and 53 minutes a day, this is another great measure for engagement. You can measure productivity by dividing your revenue for a specific period by your number of employees, before comparing the results and looking for trends, patterns and improvements. 

Improving your employee engagement isn’t going to happen overnight, so always be prepared to try different techniques and measure what works for your business over time. And always remember, keeping your employees happy is essential for business success!

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Your complete business toolkit

Rovva puts everything you need for your business in one place. From an accountancy helpline to a drop-in business lounge - we've got everything covered.