Whether your company has ten employees or 10,000, coming up with an employee engagement strategy can be a challenge. Keeping everyone connected is especially challenging with limited in-person activities due to COVID. It's easy to fall back on the same old engagement and training activities, but they tend to lose effectiveness with too much repetition. Don't worry; we've got your back. Here are 22 ideas that can help you improve employee engagement in 2022.
1 - Help your employees get to know each other better
People emotionally invest in other people, not companies, so creating a strong bond between team members is critical. For example, you might organize a getting to know you session with people from different departments or ask people to share fun facts about themselves. The more bonding you encourage your employees to practice, the more natural collaborative work will come.
2 - Start a mentorship program
Sometimes the most rewarding work is helping others. Allow your high-performing employees to help others grow by starting a mentorship program. Mentors should learn what they can about what the employee wants to achieve at work. Together, the mentor and mentee can work on skill development, communication styles, and subject matter expertise.
3 - Focus on collaboration
Cross-functional collaboration is essential to innovation, but it isn't something that often happens independently. One way to encourage it is to hold a training session on why teamwork is vital and how to make it happen. In most organizations, waste occurs when work moves from one functional area to another. Engage employees to develop opportunities to improve these handoffs by working together.
4 - Encourage health and wellness
It's tough to go all-in at work when you aren't feeling well. However, anything that supports your team's physical and mental well-being can help contribute to engagement, especially given today's ongoing pandemic. You might provide employees with a mental health day, organize a walking group during lunch, or pay for online health apps. Many group insurance companies offer employee wellness workshops online.
5 - Be clear about responsibilities and goals
This might not seem like an engagement activity, but it really is. One of the top reasons that employees leave their company is that they don't understand how their work fits into the purpose and objectives of the organization. Try holding regular meetings that cover how each department will help achieve the company's end goals. Make sure the individual goals are aligned with the overall strategy.
6 - Evaluate your employee's onboarding process
Start earning engagement on day one by ensuring your new hires have an excellent experience during the onboarding process. Make sure they feel connected to the team from the very start. Also, encourage team members to share ideas for improving the onboarding process. This will enhance the process for future new hires and spark engagement with current employees.
7- Increase individual market value
Today's workers know they need to constantly expand their skills to keep up. Offer opportunities to help employees move forward by providing time and budget for continuing education.
8 - Redecorate
Some businesses require a reasonably rigid workspace layout, but others don't. If your team is still working in person, let your employees have a say in how the space is arranged and decorated. Let it reflect your team's personality. Also, try refreshing the seating arrangements every so often. This will allow employees to engage with different people in the company.
9 - Encourage networking
In today's connected world, having a large network of colleagues and peers is highly valued. Encourage your employees to grow their networks by reimbursing them for professional subscriptions to sites like LinkedIn or networks like the National Association of Professional Women.
10 - Offer opportunities to serve the community
Giving back is especially important to the Millennial generation. For example, you might organize an event that provides funds for a charity, build a house with Habitat for Humanity, or allow employees to take paid time off to volunteer.
11 - Give your employees visibility
Update your employees on crucial information about the company, such as challenges facing the executive team. Employees value and respect being included in the "inside circle."
12 - Celebrate accomplishments
People on your team do remarkable things and contribute great ideas all the time. Ensure these achievements are broadcast to the entire organization to develop employee feelings of pride and appreciation.
13 - Ask for employee engagement ideas
This one's a no-brainer. If you want to know what activities will help your team stay engaged, why not ask them to share their ideas.
14 - Act on employee feedback
To ensure your employees continue to provide valuable feedback and stay engaged, you need to act on their feedback. If you put the input on the back-burner, employee engagement will decrease exponentially.
15 - Try cross-training
One way to get folks out of a rut is to mix things up by letting them work in another department for a little while. This helps break up the monotony and allows the employee to learn a new skill. Who knows, you might even find someone who would flourish in a different role.
16 - Hold a birthday breakfast or video meeting with the CEO
Face time (in person or online) with executive leadership is highly prized by front-line workers but challenging to come by without a plan. One idea is to hold a monthly breakfast or video call with the CEO and everyone who has a birthday that month.
17 - Promote from within
Seeing others climb the ladder can be very motivational. Promoting from within helps keep the promoted employee engaged and signals to others that there are opportunities for those who stretch.
18 - Hire a motivational speaker
Sometimes it makes sense to bring in someone from outside the company with a great inspirational story. Professional motivators are available in almost every market and are less expensive than you might imagine.
19 - Have a brainstorming session
While we are big fans of a formal, structured approach to daily improvement work, there may be issues that employees struggle with that don't really fit that methodology. Why not have a weekly or monthly brainstorming session with a group of team members where anyone can throw an issue on the table for ideas and support?
20 - Get social
Helping your employees amplify their social media presence is good for them and good for the company. Provide social media training for employees who are less comfortable with the concept. Feed employees links and content to post to grow their following and yours.
21 - Check your employee engagement baseline
There are several ways to quantify employee engagement so that you can see if it improves this year. If you are using employee engagement or structured improvement software, you can analyze the number of people contributing opportunities for improvement, the number of completed projects, and the impact of those improvements. Employee surveys and focus groups can also be helpful to gather more subjective engagement metrics.
22 - Involve everyone in improvement
Nothing is more frustrating to an employee than knowing how to solve a problem but being not empowered. Conversely, employees who know that their ideas for improvement will be taken seriously are more likely to offer them and exercise discretionary effort to implement solutions.
This list isn't exhaustive, of course, but hopefully, you've seen an idea or two that might work for your organization. If you've tried one of these or something else that worked well, we'd love to hear about it in the comments.