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13 Employee Engagement Best Practices to Implement in 2023

Engaged employees are vital for organizational success and managers must understand how to cultivate a culture of engagement within their […]

Mark Jackson

President at SwagDrop

Engaged employees are vital for organizational success and managers must understand how to cultivate a culture of engagement within their teams.

That’s because a culture of engagement can lead to better employee morale, job satisfaction, and overall job performance. 

Today’s post discusses 13 practices that leaders can implement to improve the overall employee experience. 

So let’s dive in.

Table of Contents

1. Build Open and Honest Feedback Loops

2. Have a Clear Company Culture

3. Check in Regularly

4. Offer Professional Development Opportunities

5. Allow Space for Creativity and Experimentation

6. Prioritize Employee Health and Wellness

7. Reward Performance and Successes

8. Lead by Example

9. Keep Track of and Optimize Processes 

10. Encourage Employee Ownership and Empowerment

11. Knock Down Silos 

12. Foster Collaboration and Inclusion

13. Offer Flexible Work Arrangements

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Build Open and Honest Feedback Loops

When employees feel like they can speak up and share their thoughts and concerns without fear of reprisal, they’re more likely to feel valued and engaged. 

This is important because it has increased employee retention and improved overall job satisfaction. 

Gallup states that having actively engaged employees leads to an 18% decrease in staff turnover

Although it may be impossible to eliminate employee turnover, creating a loyal workforce where employees stay with the organization for a long time is achievable.

Here are a few tips for building open and honest employee feedback loops in your workplace:

Make feedback a regular part of your team’s culture:

Schedule regular sit-downs with your employees to discuss their progress and gather valuable feedback on specific areas such as job satisfaction, team dynamics, and overall work environment. 

A simple monthly team-wide feedback session or an employee engagement survey can go a long way in identifying areas for improvement and fostering a positive work culture.

Use feedback to drive continuous improvement: 

Take the feedback you receive from your employees seriously and use it to make positive changes in your team. 

For example, if an employee suggests that team meetings start at a later time to accommodate their commute, consider changing the meeting time to see if it improves attendance and productivity. 

This will show your employees that their input is valued and help to build trust.

Make it easy for employees to give feedback: 

Providing various channels for employees to share their thoughts and suggestions – such as anonymous suggestion boxes, pulse surveys, or online feedback forms – matters.

It allows employees to voice their opinions and ideas safely and securely without fear of retaliation, and it creates a more inclusive work environment where employees feel heard and valued. 

2. Have a Clear Company Culture

A transparent company culture helps employees understand what’s expected of them and how they can contribute to the organization’s success.

One way to achieve this is by clearly defining your company values and communicating them to your employees. 

This helps them understand what’s important to the company and how they can align their work with those values. 

To further reinforce your culture, you can create a mission statement or code of conduct, share stories about your company’s history and values, or host team-building activities

As an employer, it’s also essential to lead by example. 

If you value collaboration, then collaborate with your employees, and if you value open communication, be approachable and transparent. 

Furthermore, involving your employees in shaping the culture is crucial as they are the ones who will be living and breathing it every day. 

So, encourage them to share their ideas and feedback on improving the culture.

3. Check in Regularly

As a manager or employer, it’s important to regularly check in with your team to ensure they’re on track, motivated, and supported. 

This can be done by scheduling regular one-on-one meetings, collecting feedback through employee surveys, and addressing any issues impacting team performance or morale. 

Regularly checking in helps build trust, improve communication, and foster collaboration within the team.

A real-life example of this is Adobe; the company uses special check-in dashboards and pulse surveys as a way to gather feedback. 

Based on one of their pulse surveys, the company implemented regular days off every third Friday during the pandemic to give the employees a chance to rest and recharge. 

Additionally, they provided access to mental health resources, such as counseling and meditation apps, as well as financial assistance for wellness and work-from-home expenses.

4. Offer Professional Development Opportunities

Giving your team a chance to grow and succeed in their career paths is super important. 

One great way to do this is by providing professional development opportunities. 

The CIPD’s Professionalizing Learning and Development report revealed that while 98% of L&D practitioners desire to establish a learning culture, only 36% feel they have succeeded.

To remain competitive and adapt to a rapidly changing workforce, workplaces must invest in their employees’ ongoing learning and development. 

A supportive and encouraging learning environment is essential for equipping employees and the organization as a whole with the skills necessary to respond flexibly and efficiently to challenges.

For example, in-house training and workshops can involve hosting seminars or bringing in external trainers to teach new skills and knowledge. 

This can include subscribing to industry publications, providing access to online learning platforms or courses, or setting aside a budget for employees to attend conferences or other professional development opportunities. 

Encouraging self-directed learning is also essential.

This means encouraging your employees to take charge of their professional development by seeking learning opportunities independently.

This helps support employees who want to earn certifications or take courses outside work hours.

5. Allow Space for Creativity and Experimentation

Allowing space for creativity and experimentation in the workplace can contribute to engagement initiatives in several ways.

Providing employees with the freedom to think creatively and experiment leads to greater job satisfaction and a stronger sense of purpose, as they feel more invested in the company’s success.

Second, creativity and experimentation can lead to innovation and problem-solving. 

Per an insight by Great Place to Work, companies that build an “Innovation By All” culture generate 5.5 times the revenue growth of peers with a less inclusive approach to innovation. 

By encouraging all employees to develop new ideas and approaches, businesses can foster a workplace culture of continuous improvement and drive the company forward, resulting in more high-quality ideas, greater speed in implementation, and increased agility. 

This helps to keep the company competitive and relevant in today’s fast-paced business environment.

6. Prioritize Employee Health and Wellness

According to a recent report, 63% of organizational leaders agree that mental health is among their Human Resources department’s top-five priorities. 

Also, 75% of HR professionals reported that employee wellness had become more of a priority.

If a company doesn’t prioritize employee wellness, it might be at a competitive disadvantage.

According to Statista83% of employers in the United States reported that their company’s wellness program had a positive impact on workers’ health. 

In addition, a positive work environment created by happy, healthy employees leads to reduced staff turnover, decreased absenteeism, and increased business performance.

That’s why companies should create a supportive environment where employees can set boundaries and communicate their well-being needs.

7. Reward Performance and Successes

Rewarding performance in the workplace has been shown to have a significant impact on employee engagement and motivation. 

Deloitte found that organizations implementing recognition and reward programs saw 14% higher productivity and performance than those without recognition

Therefore, linking perks to performance creates a culture of excellence that encourages employees to strive for their best work and fosters competition among employees. 

Moreover, according to Achievers, 69% of employees feel more motivated to stay at their jobs when their efforts are recognized and when they get incentives and rewards for their input. 

This recognition creates a sense of accomplishment, increasing the desire to continue performing at a high level.

8.  Lead by Example

Leading by example in the workplace means setting a good example for others to follow, through your own actions and behavior. 

This can be particularly important for leaders, whose actions and behaviors are often closely watched and emulated by their team members. 

When leaders lead by example, they demonstrate their commitment to the organization’s goals and values and show that they’re willing to roll up their sleeves and do the work that must be done. 

This can inspire and motivate employees to do the same.

Leading by example can also help to create a positive and supportive work environment, as employees are more likely to feel motivated and engaged when they work with approachable, supportive, and fair leaders.

9.  Keep Track of and Optimize Processes

Optimizing processes related to onboarding, new employee orientation, and exiting corporations can positively affect engagement. 

For example:

  • Efficiency: By streamlining and optimizing these processes, organizations can create a more efficient and effective work environment and reduce employee frustration and stress.
  • Support: By giving clear guidelines and using tools and technologies to make processes easier, organizations show they support their employees. This can create a sense of appreciation, employee recognition, and employee satisfaction.
  • Fairness: By tracking and measuring the performance metrics of these processes, organizations can ensure that they are fair and consistent, fostering a sense of equity and fairness among team members.

10. Encourage Employee Ownership and Empowerment

Encouraging employee ownership and empowerment is crucial to creating a healthy work environment, as it creates a sense of trust and respect within your team.

When employees feel a sense of ownership and control over their work, they’re more likely to be invested in their job and the company’s success. 

This sense of ownership can also lead to increased motivation, productivity, and job satisfaction.

One way to encourage employee ownership is by giving employees decision-making power and allowing them to take on leadership roles. 

This can involve assigning them tasks or projects that allow them to use their skills and expertise or allowing them to make decisions about their work processes and methods. 

Another way to empower employees is by providing them with the resources and support they need to succeed. 

This can include training and development opportunities, access to necessary tools and equipment, and a supportive work culture that values their contributions.

11. Knock Down Silos 

Knocking down workplace silos can be achieved by various methods, such as creating cross-functional teams, encouraging open communication, promoting transparency, and sharing information and resources. 

It can also involve breaking down physical barriers between different departments or teams and creating a more open and collaborative office layout. 

For example, instead of having separate departments working in isolated areas, creating a shared open space where employees from different departments can interact and collaborate on projects can break down silos.

Removing silos promotes collaboration and communication between different parts of the organization and leads to a more efficient and productive work environment. 

Additionally, employees feel connected to their colleagues and have a sense of community within their organization, which leads to increased motivation and engagement levels in their work.

One example of a company that has successfully broken down silos in the workplace is Spotify. 

Spotify’s organizational structure is based on cross-functional teams, known as “squads,” which consist of individuals from different departments and backgrounds.

These teams are encouraged to work closely together and share information and resources.

Spotify also has an open office layout with no assigned seating, allowing employees to move around and interact with different teams. 

Image Source: Spotify

Spotify’s seating displays their concept of ‘’separated but connected.’’

This helps to break down physical barriers between different departments and promotes a sense of unity and community within the organization.

12. Foster Collaboration and Inclusion

Collaboration and inclusion are vital for a thriving workplace. 

To foster those qualities, it’s key to encourage teamwork by setting up projects and tasks that require collaboration. 

This helps employees learn from each other and build stronger relationships. 

Additionally, creating opportunities for employees to connect with each other outside of work, such as company events or team-building activities, can build a sense of community. 

Providing equal opportunities for all employees to participate in decision-making processes and contribute to the company is also crucial. 

Furthermore, offering training and resources to help employees understand and appreciate diversity and inclusion is necessary. 

According to the 2021 Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Transparency Report, companies that prioritize DEI not only achieve higher financial returns but also have more innovative ideas and better decision-making. 

The report also found that organizations with inclusive cultures are more likely to attract and retain top talent. 

That’s why companies need to invest in DEI initiatives to improve business outcomes and create a more equitable and inclusive work environment for all employees.

13. Offer Flexible Work Arrangements

Offering flexible work arrangements can increase employee engagement as you’ll be helping employees strike the right work-life balance.

This is supported by data showing that employees are over 20% more engaged when they have a healthy balance between their work and personal lives. 

On the other hand, employees who don’t feel like there’s a balance are 2.5 times more likely to be hostile and 2.7 times more likely to go through feelings of disengagement.

By offering flexible work options, such as the ability to work from home or adjust start and finish times, organizations can help employees find the balance they need to be more productive day-to-day.

Now Over to You

Adopting engagement practices in your organization can increase motivation and drive long-term success. 

So why wait? 

As a leader or manager, it’s important to take an active role in implementing practices and investing more time in employee engagement programs. 

If you want to learn more about employee engagement strategies and team-building activities, check out our blog for great tips and ideas. 

See you soon!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. Employee engagement vs. employee commitment: what’s the difference?

The main difference between employee engagement and employee commitment is that engagement is how employees feel about their job and company now, while commitment is how they feel about the company over time and their willingness to put in the extra effort.

Q2. What are the three C’s for employee engagement?

The three C’s for employee engagement are commitment, connection, and culture.

Q3. What are the 4 pillars of engagement?

The four pillars of engagement are meaningful work, supportive management, growth opportunities, and a positive work environment.

Q4. What are some factors that can lead to a disengaged employee?

Some factors that can lead to a disengaged employee include:

  • Need for more meaningful work
  • Need for recognition programs
  • Lack of support from management
  • Involvement in a negative work environment

Q5. How does employee engagement affect performance?

An engaged workforce is more likely to stay with the organization for longer, reducing turnover and resulting in cost savings for the company. 

On the other hand, disengaged employees can be less productive and less likely to go the extra mile for their organization. They may also be more likely to leave the company, increasing recruitment and training costs, and highly affecting employee retention rates.

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