According to a report by Zenefits of more than 600 US businesses with 50-500 employees, 63.3% of companies say retaining employees is actually harder than hiring them.
That is one of the top reasons why employee engagement is important to your organization– it drives retention (the other is that it drives performance!). When employees feel valued, appreciated, and supported in their roles, they are more likely to stay with your company. Additionally, employee engagement promotes productivity and creativity and can help to create a positive, innovative, and collaborative work environment. On top of that, engaged employees are more likely to be brand advocates and ambassadors, which can help to attract top talent. Finally, employee engagement can help to create a culture of excellence within an organization.
There are many ways to improve employee engagement.
Some methods include conducting employee engagement surveys, implementing action plans based on survey results, offering career coaching and development opportunities, promoting diversity and inclusion, building out recognition programs, creating mentorship programs, promotion process and readiness, and succession planning. I will go deeper into some of these so you can start implementing a few for your own organization.
By implementing even just a few of these employee engagement initiatives, companies can see a significant improvement in getting people involved and committed and retaining top talent.
One of the most important things to keep in mind when implementing these initiatives is that they should be tailored to fit the needs of your specific company and your specific workforce and culture. What works for one organization might not work for another. For example, a small company might not have the same resources available as a large corporation, so they need to be creative in how they implement these programs.
Some examples of employee engagement initiatives that have been proven to work are:
- Employee recognition programs: These can include things like awards, bonuses, or other forms of acknowledgment for a job well done. Other ideas include: acknowledging the length of service with awards, bonuses, or other perks, and creating employee-of-the-month programs. Hosting regular company-wide or departmental meetings to recognize top performers is also beneficial, as are sending handwritten thank-you notes to employees, featuring stellar employees in company newsletters or on social media, inviting employees to suggest recognition ideas themselves, showing appreciation for employees’ families with holiday gifts or other gestures, and planning fun company-wide events to celebrate everyone’s hard work.
- Employee engagement surveys: Asking your employees for feedback on a regular basis lets them know that their opinions are valued and helps you identify areas where improvement is needed. Make sure you acknowledge their feedback with specific points and let them know the actions you plan to take based on their feedback, along with the timeline. This way they are heard and know that their words make a difference.
- Promoting diversity and inclusion: Creating employee resource groups, offering training on unconscious bias, and microaggressions, handling sensitive topics such as acknowledging privilege, increasing transparency around hiring and promotion decisions, and setting up cross-cultural mentor pairings are great ways to promote a culture that embraces diversity and inclusion.
- Career coaching and development: Providing employees with guidance and support as they navigate their careers can help them feel more engaged and motivated. Creating a personal development plan (PDP) allows employees to map out their ideal career paths, which gives them a sense of direction and purpose. These can include goals, action items, and timelines for employees to work on in order to improve their skills and knowledge.
- Succession planning: Having a plan in place for when employees retire or leave the company helps ensure continuity and can help reduce turnover, so identifying top talent and readying them with the promotion process by ensuring they are familiar with the criteria and expectations can help them feel more engaged and motivated to reach the next level of their career.
It’s important to involve employees in the planning process as much as possible. After all, they are the ones who will be most affected by these initiatives!
By getting their input and feedback, you can ensure that the programs you implement are ones that they will actually find valuable and helpful. So make sure you continue to collect, collect, and collect feedback through surveys, short 1-on-1 interviews, and assessments. By even requesting feedback, you are increasing engagement!
Employee engagement initiatives are an important part of keeping your workforce happy and productive. By taking the time to tailor these programs to fit your company and workforce’s needs, you can create a work environment that employees will be excited to be a part of.