What comes to mind when you think of your workplace? Is it positive, energetic or uninspiring? Are your employees happy and satisfied or are they simply dragging themselves to work? All these factors influence, and are representative of, your company’s culture.
“To win in the marketplace you must first win in the workplace.” - Doug Conant
In the era of job hopping, employee engagement is your key to creating a culture that attracts and retains the right candidates. So if you want to ensure your employee engagement is strong, add these 7 steps to your strategy.
1. Make Culture Fit Your Focus From the Very Start
Every new hire wants to fit in. It can be very demoralizing and frustrating for people when they don’t feel like they fit with your company’s culture. In fact, a study published by IBM revealed that 20% of new hires leave their jobs because they feel like a misfit.
A recruitment process that focuses on the culture fit from the very start makes it much easier to maintain high levels of employee engagement once people are on board. Creating activities and moments that reflect your company culture on a regular basis, helps keep employee morale high and drives engagement, reducing turnover and increasing the retention rate.
In order to do that, first ensure that the company’s vision, mission and core values are clear, and well communicated to everyone. When people understand the bigger picture and see how their role fits in, their engagement levels are higher because they have a greater sense of purpose. It then becomes easier to boost engagement through activities.
2. Involve Everyone in Team Decisions
There are many companies with great employee engagement initiatives, but one that really sets the bar high is Southwest. This affordable airline is renowned for its employee satisfaction and enthusiasm levels.
The company involves team members in every decision it makes. For example: when they were redesigning the uniforms, employees were allowed to select the fabric and colors of their choice and also vote for the final decision. This is just one example of how Southwest ensures employees feel valued and therefore engaged.
Companies that understand the importance of putting people at the centre of their decisions and their business model truly value the opinions of their employees and ensure equal participation in every vital decision. They collect honest feedback, so their employees know that their suggestions play a vital role in company success.
3. Schedule Periodic Check-Ins
While it is not possible to change your company culture overnight, HR plays a crucial role in driving it. You can do this by ensuring you have an ongoing feedback loop set up.
Periodic check-ins at both the individual and team level are needed to ensure employee satisfaction. Understanding employees’ expectations, tracking their progress, and helping them set career goals helps in motivating them to succeed.
Periodic checks also help resolve minor issues before they become major problems while promoting the morale of employees. At the same time, this means you can ensure everyone is aligned with overall company objectives, and that people have clarity on how they are contributing to success.
4. Promote Peer Recognition
Workplace recognition shouldn’t have to come from the top down. Encourage employees to share feedback and recognition with each other on a regular basis. You could couple this with a reward program for employees to appreciate and acknowledge each other and to add incentive.
But beyond that recognition should be built into your company culture. Help employees get into the habit of congratulating each other for their efforts beyond their daily work responsibilities. You could for example introduce real-time feedback, using a tool like Impraise.
5. Organize Friendly Competitions
Introduce an element of friendly contests that allows you to spur employee engagement and not animosity. Gamification is a great way to engage employees and when contests are incentivized, they motivate employees exceptionally well.
Organizing team-based competitions will deepen relationships when teammates push each other and trust each other. If any unhealthy rivalry exists, it can be easily countered by asking employees to vote for the winner.
Here are two super fun team building activities that are easy to organize and won’t break your budget:
In this game, the instructor will divide the group into 2 teams while ensuring each team has an equal number of participants. Both teams are required to plan a vacation in 15 minutes without exceeding the given parameters and are to be given the same start and end point. This game will get your employees together as a team with a common goal of planning a seamless holiday in less than 15 minutes.
Participants can choose their partner for this game where one will act as the leader and the other will be the follower. The leader is supposed to instruct the blindfolded follower when they are out for a slow 3-minute walk.
This exercise is to be done while holding hands with the partner. This ensures that the follower gets acquainted with the leader and is able to follow instructions easily. The activity can then be followed by a jog and then by a fast 15-second run. At the end of the exercise, participants can narrate their experience and share if it was easy or difficult for them to trust their partners.
6. Unite Peas of the Same Pod
People with similar likes and interests already have an inbuilt bond. You can strengthen it further with sponsored intramural teams or by forming interest-focused clubs. Organize book clubs or sports clubs and extend invites across the board. This is more likely to bring like-minded individuals together even if they have never crossed paths.
By taking the time to uncover employees’ interests and create groups, you are also sending the message that you care about the wellbeing beyond work. Once again this helps them to feel valued and engaged. It doesn’t have to be extremely costly, and can also act as a form of recognition.
7. Send Out an Employee Engagement Survey
Asking employees to take a pulse survey will help them feel their opinions are valued, all while helping your HR team keep track of team health. It doesn’t have to be overly complicated: short surveys with less than 10 questions increase your chances of a high completion rate. Use the insights gained to work on the issues that need addressing, and inform your hiring managers of what to look for in future candidates. For example this could be related to culture fit, or perceived missing skills or gaps identified in the survey.
Engaged employees are self-driven to perform, satisfied with the company’s culture and fully invested in contributing to company success. They are the most important resource any company can have. So, step up your employee engagement game with these 7 tips that can be easily implemented at little - or no cost - to your company.
About the author: Kelly Barcelos is a progressive digital marketing manager for Jobsoid - Applicant Tracking System. She is responsible for leading the content and social media teams at work. Her expertise and experience in the field of HR enables her to create value-driven content for her readers - both on Jobsoid's blog and other guest blogs where she publishes content regularly.