4 Powerful Tips to Drive Sustainable Employee Engagement
6th April 2021
What is employee engagement?
Employee engagement is defined as a person’s willingness to ‘go the extra mile’ in their work and the extent of their emotional commitment to the organisation they work for.
To put it simply, engaged employees are the ones who care about their work and genuinely want the organisation to succeed.
Rather than just showing up and giving a perfunctory performance, engaged workers will add value to their tasks in the form of added energy, drive and focus.
When employees feel engaged they bring their ‘A’ game with them to work.
Research into the impact of low engagement levels found that an engaged employee is 125% more productive than a satisfied employee and over 150% more productive than a dissatisfied employee.
An engaged workforce is one of the biggest assets an organisation can have, particularly during a crisis like the coronavirus pandemic, when the loyalty, enthusiasm and creative thinking of a workforce can tip the balance in the organisation’s favour.
How engaged your people feel will greatly influence how they interact with your customers, deliver services, collaborate with colleagues and their sentiment towards the organisation.
Why you should be measuring employee engagement
“To win in the marketplace you must first win in the workplace,” – Doug Conant, Former CEO of the Campbell Soup Company
Measurement is key to improving employee engagement; gaining a deeper understanding of what drives employee engagement can help you craft a better company culture that both aligns with your organisational goals and enables your people to thrive in their role.
During the process of gathering data you will also uncover opportunities to make things better and more efficient, enabling you to identify precisely what’s boosting your operation and what’s hindering it.
It will also help you to understand your employee engagement level and establish a benchmark. This will help you track whether your interventions are having the desired effect whilst also alerting you to any sudden fluctuations that may require immediate attention.
How to measure employee engagement
How engaged your people are is based on how they feel in their role: tracking and identifying patterns in employee sentiment will enable you to determine how engaged your workforce is.
Continuously capturing employee sentiment will provide you with a wealth of data that will give you a deeper understanding of what encourages your employees, what helps them have a positive work experience, and what has a negative impact on them. You should look to:
- Continuously gather employee sentiment
- Track patterns and fluctuations in employee feedback
- Gather data in real-time
- Remove traditional barriers to communication
- Make interventions that are based and backed by data
When gathering this data it’s important organisations take measures to remove bias and ensure everyone’s sentiments are included. To gain a true picture of overall employee engagement, all voices need to be heard and taken onboard.
At ground level, things can change and evolve at a rapid rate, particularly during a period of uncertainty like the Coronavirus pandemic; so, to get the most accurate picture, data capturing should be an ongoing process that occurs in real-time.
4 Tips to help boost employee engagement
Tip 1 – Find out what really matters to your people
Generating long-term sustainable employee engagement is not a one-off project with the quick goal of “making employees happy” before an annual survey.
In fact, sporadic, short-lived or poorly thought out engagement initiatives can potentially leave your people feeling disengaged and lose you their trust.
The same can happen when you assume, or worse, guess what it is your people need to feel engaged. Getting it wrong can make your leadership look incompetent and detached from your workforce’s reality.
Quick-fixes and half-hearted efforts that taper off are not enough to nurture the type of meaningful strong bond that is needed to foster great employee engagement.
After the fleeting feel-good vibes from pizza party Fridays or the annual bonus wear off (although they do provide a boost), people can easily become disengaged again.
Studies have shown that the true drivers behind engagement tend to be deeper and more personal, such as;
- A sense of purpose
- Feeling valued as a person
- Learning opportunities
- Good work relationships
- Highly committed leaders
So, when approaching engagement it’s important you find out what really matters to your people, as this will enable you to deliver more relevant evidence-based initiatives that are most impactful.
Give your people a voice and space to speak up openly and to engage in two-way open dialogue with you. Ensure that you regularly invite your people to use their voice to offer their input about what’s going on in the organisation, to share how they’re doing and to contribute to how things could be better.
Tip 2 – Make sure your people feel heard
When you give your people a voice, it’s important that you listen to and respond to that voice. Active listening is a key part of understanding what generates engagement.
Speaking up and being vulnerable at work can be challenging for people, so ignoring their input or dismissing their ideas without acknowledgement or thoughtful consideration is likely to leave them feeling discouraged and unwilling to be vulnerable in the future.
- Practice active listening
- Give relevant responses to feedback
- Action suggestions where possible
You can show your people that their voice is heard and valued by recognising, reviewing and responding to what they have to say in a timely and relevant manner.
If appropriate you should try to act on their suggestions; your responsiveness can greatly boost engagement if timely, relevant and effective.
Simple changes or small adjustments e.g a redraft of a form or easier access to support, can be hugely beneficial for your people. The little things can make a big difference, so it’s important you are listening so that you don’t miss out on these opportunities for quick wins.
Tip 3 – Give meaningful praise and recognition
Employee appreciation, recognition and praise play a vital role in boosting employee engagement.
People feel encouraged and more invested in what they’re doing when they believe that their effort is valued and they can see how they are contributing to the success of the organisation.
Without proper positive acknowledgement or authentic gratitude, people can quickly start to feel invisible within the organisation and that their job is a thankless one.
- Praise should be personal and authentic
- Make gratitude and recognition habitual
- Encourage peer-to-peer praise
People who feel undervalued and overlooked are unlikely to care about their job or feel any sense of loyalty to the organisation.
Global studies have revealed that 79% of people who left their jobs cited a lack of appreciation as their principal reason for leaving.
Over half of respondents (53%) to Glassdoor’s Employee Appreciation Survey said they would stay longer at their company if they felt more appreciation from their boss.
Organisation leaders, such as managers, should regularly reach out to their people and say “well done” or “thank you”.
Leaders should take advantage of opportunities to offer public praise to individuals, teams or departments, thereby setting a good example for others to follow.
To make it easier, you can put in place platforms that facilitate and encourage your people to offer peer-to-peer praise.
It only takes a minute to reach out and this small but powerful connection can really boost the recipient’s mood, motivation and engagement.
Tip 4 – Support the wellbeing of your people
Employee engagement and wellbeing go hand in hand; people cannot stay engaged or excel at work if their wellbeing is neglected.
When employee engagement is high but wellbeing is low, organisations are more likely to experience higher levels of employee burnout and face the high costs associated with poor employee wellbeing, such as increased absenteeism and high employee turnover.
It’s important to:
- Facilitate two-way open dialogue
- Regularly reiterate the organisation’s commitment to wellbeing
- Nip problems in the bud early
- Provide a safe and confidential environment for employees to seek support
When wellbeing is high but engagement is low, people may be feeling generally satisfied but feel unconnected to the organisation or its goals.
It can be hard for people to admit when their wellbeing is suffering or to admit they need more support at work; therefore, you should provide your people with a secure and private way to flag problems up discreetly in a way that is comfortable to them.
By enabling people to speak up, you can nip problems in the bud and support your people before they are struggling.
At the same time, it’s vital that your organisation consistently champions a culture of wellbeing and regularly communicates that value to your people.
If your organisation already offers wellbeing support e.g. flexible working options or access to counselling, ensure that existing guidance is clearly sign posted and regularly reinforced.
How Trickle can help!
Trickle lets you drive employee engagement, wellbeing and recognition from one dynamic app. Trickle works by enabling organisations to take a more collaborative and proactive approach to employee engagement.
Trickle continuously captures employee sentiment in real-time and automatically analyses and ranks issues according to their importance.
Trickle will highlight the top five issues that matter most to your people, which means you can take more evidence-based and relevant interventions.
You can give your people a voice and a safe space to use it with Trickle: using the platform they can actively reach out for guidance or support at any time in a way that’s comfortable to them.
The inclusive and universal nature of Trickle enables organisations to break down silos and bring voices from across the organisation together in one place, where everyone is able to contribute to, and vote on, solutions democratically.
Trickle offers users optional anonymity so that your people can have the confidence to be authentic in their responses, giving you the most accurate picture of the health of your organisation.
Trickle’s Fist Bump feature for example, is a fun and quick way for your people to send individual praise that can be used by managers and others to offer peer-to-peer appreciation in a more personal way.
Find out more about how Trickle can help your organisation improve employee engagement and make each workday better for everyone.
Get in touch for more information or to book a short 20 minute demo.
Alternatively you can trial Trickle absolutely free for 30-days.
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By giving your people a place to voice their suggestions & concerns when they need to, you’ll inspire a happier, more productive and loyal workforce.