6 methods for boosting employee engagement
27th April 2023
Employee engagement can be challenging – some people love to engage from the offset whilst others don’t want to get involved immediately or at all. In this article, uncover our six actionable methods for boosting employee engagement within your organisation.
What is employee engagement and participation?
These terms have become interchangeable in recent years as they’ve grown in popularity. However, employee participation and engagement are different. We think Total Wellness Health sums this up well:
“The difference between employee engagement and participation is an employee’s mindset. Participation is simply taking action, while engagement is making an investment.”
Employee participation is likely to be someone who will take part (e.g. by signing up to an initiative) but are only likely to put in minimal focus or effort. However, employee engagement goes significantly beyond this as the employee is likely to fully invest their time and energy to get the most out of their workplace. They’re likely to take part in optional and extra activities and if they experience positive results, they’re inclined to consider how they can elevate other aspects of their lifestyle outside of the workplace.
Why is employee engagement important?
A recent study found that employee engagement in the UK workforce is 8% lower than before the pandemic, suggesting this is a bigger challenge than ever. So, how can employers encourage employee engagement?
It’s important to highlight that boosting employee engagement is a process; therefore, it could take time to see results.
1. Get relevant stakeholders on board
The first stage in boosting employee engagement is ensuring key stakeholders understand the difference between employee participation, engagement and the key benefits. Once conversations with stakeholders begin, it might be useful to understand current engagement levels to pinpoint the scale of the project. Throughout this process, it might be useful to regularly check in with stakeholders particularly if they work in different departments, teams or locations as they may offer varied insights, observations or perceptions.
2. Establish open communication
It’s important to review your organisation’s communication methods to understand what is working well and what could be improved. At this stage, you may want to open the floor and ask people for feedback, however it might be worth considering how this feedback is gathered and how psychologically safe people feel about speaking up and sharing their honest thoughts.
Once feedback is collated, create a plan with relevant stakeholders to understand how people communicate in the workplace. For example, here at Trickle we use our own Trickle platform internally, just as our customers would, so we use Shout Abouts to spread company wide announcements.
3. Engage employees from day one
With any communication project it’s important to keep your people in the loop from day one so they understand what’s going on, which in-turn can encourage engagement over time. When communicating with people, don’t be afraid to ask people to get involved – either for their thoughts on how to make things better or feedback on an idea. Internally at Trickle, we always talk about ‘active listening’ which may lead to you concentrating on what is actually being said by your people.
With 69% of employees likely to stay with an organisation for three years if they’ve experienced great onboarding, it’s also important to consider future team members. Inspire and motivate them to get involved from day one by introducing them to your organisation’s two-way communication culture. When someone joins the team, notify your colleagues and invite them to say hello to your new recruit. Facilitating conversations across departments can help new employees feel more comfortable and engaged.
4. Organise workshops
As well as asking for feedback throughout the process, host dedicated sessions where people can find out more about an idea and have a space to share their thoughts and feedback.
It’s important to encourage participation from both leaders and wider teams — especially when it comes to implementing new processes or procedures. Whilst hosting workshops can seem like safe, welcoming spaces, you should also consider how people can get in touch with you afterwards if they don’t feel comfortable speaking up in the session. For example, can they speak to you privately or share their written thoughts?
5. Approach employee participation like marketing
An organisation always wants to keep their customers up-to-date. So, when it comes to employee engagement, it’s key to communicate with employees. For example, you might have an update that impacts everyone in the organisation or good news to share about an upcoming project or team. When giving updates, it’s useful to reassure people that they can ask questions at any point.
You might want to go further by identifying team members who are proactive about improving their working culture and harness their enthusiasm to launch positive, community-building initiatives that encourage other employees to participate.
6. Reward the right behaviours
Recognising when employees help the business reach its goals will reinforce its commitment to your vision and mission. Give leaders and colleagues a centralised spot to share company-wide kudos, peer nominations, and promotions.
For example, Trickle has a simple tool called Fist Bump, which is a fun and quick way to share praise and say ‘thank you’ for a job well done. Recognising people’s efforts fosters a culture of appreciation and may encourage them to keep participating.
Trickle is a psychologically safe platform that can help improve employee participation and engagement by:
- Giving your people the choice to remain anonymous so they can confidently speak up when sharing feedback, making suggestions or asking questions.
- Identifying areas where your company culture could be improved, allowing you to make positive, meaningful changes.
- Regularly checking in on how your team feels about something.
- Provide you with data that can demonstrate improvements in engagement, culture and team sentiment.
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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.