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10 Employee Engagement Ideas to Improve Teamwork

10 Employee Engagement Ideas to Improve Teamwork

The expectations of jobs have shifted towards a more personal approach. In the past, high pay and health benefits were the motivating factors for workers –as long as they were paid well, it didn’t matter what kind of job they were doing. However, the needs of employees have changed, and workers are now looking at engagement and fulfillment as significant factors when considering job opportunities.

So, what is engagement? Simply put, engagement in the workplace comes from having the right conditions that allow employees to maximize their potential.

The difference between an engaged employee and an unengaged one is quite visible. An unengaged employee is not invested in the company; they do the bare minimum and work just enough to get paid. However, an engaged employee goes above and beyond for the company because they are invested. They see potential in their work and the impact it can have on the company. In other words, an engaged employee sees value in the company and is willing to invest their effort and time beyond what is expected of them.

Having engaged employees could mean the difference between being an average company and an exceptional company. According to Forbes, companies with high engagement outperform those without by 202%.[1] Knowing this, it’s no wonder why employers have suddenly started paying attention to employee engagement.

Like diversity, engagement can be challenging to include in the workplace, despite the consensus agreeing on its benefits. For those looking to increase engagement in the workplace, consider these 10 ideas:

1. Set Expectations and Provide Orientation for New Hires

A study done by Jobvite stated that 33 percent of new employees quit in the first 90 days of working.[2] Of those employees, 43 percent left because the role wasn’t what they expected or led to believe. Having an engaged workforce requires actual workers; and if your new hires keep leaving, you won’t have a workforce.

Here is how Alden Tseng from Wayfindr, a software company focused on streamlining the job application process, describes this issue in his latest article on how to remedy it:[3]

“Sometimes, job descriptions fail to convey key information or are unable to describe the full scope of certain job openings. Before posting a job listing, make sure you are describing the position in detail. Include essential information like what an average day looks like, key skills that are required, and what you expect your employees to learn while on the job. Offer a new hire orientation that enables individuals to acclimate to the company culture and their peers.”

It is vital to ensure that an employee’s first impression of the company is favorable. A study done by the Wynhurst Group reported that employees were 58 percent more likely to be with an organization after three years if there were on-boarding (orientation) programs.[4]

2. Constantly Communicate with Employees

Feedback is crucial in encouraging worker engagement. Employees want their opinions to be heard, especially when it is directly impacting how they work. Opening channels for employees to provide feedback creates chances for management to re-evaluate their decisions and allows them to improve the workplace.

However, it isn’t just about receiving feedback from employees. Feedback goes both ways, and it is important for managers to provide feedback to employees.15Five’s research into employee engagement yielded these staggering statistics:[5]

  • 98% of employees who received little to no feedback are disengaged
  • Employees who received feedback on their weaknesses were 20x more likely to be engaged
  • Employees who received feedback on their strengths were 30x more likely to be engaged

Feedback between the two parties is a sign that each party is invested in the other’s success. For employees, giving and receiving feedback means they are part of the team –not just another invisible worker that has no voice in the company. For employers, it shows that employees are invested in the company’s wellbeing and want to share their opinions on how to better the workplace.

The other part is of course the type of language you use with your employees. The funny part is that the way you communicate with your customers often translates into how you communicate with your employees.

Jeremy Boudinet, a Marketing Manager at Nextiva, a VOIP phone system, CRM, chat and all inclusive communication suite for businesses puts it the following way:

“We see a TON of overlap in how a company communicates with its’ employees and how it communicates with their team. The language that you use, the frequency of communication, the type of communication – a ton similarities here. I’ll say even more – an influx of new angry customers usually correlate with employees leaving from a company.”

3. Highlight Employee Achievements

Workers now want to work for a place where they matter. Research done by Penna concluded that 43% of workers cited having an opportunity to contribute to the success of the company created a positive work environment.[6]

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Employees want to know their work is impactful to the company. One of the factors causing disengagement comes from when a worker feels like their work is meaningless. They may see their job as more of a chore than a chance to improve the company. Employee recognition can be anything from a simple thank you letter to a feature on the company website.

Adam Legas, founder of Nanohydr8, a fitness drinks company, spends 1-2 hours per week making sure his employees are properly recognized, here is how he describes it:

“Recognizing an employee’s achievements shows them that their work is crucial towards company success –it gives their work meaning.”

4. Incorporate On the Job Training

While the requirements of a job may have many similarities, each company has its own procedure and expectations. New employees need to be trained in order to perform the functions of their jobs correctly and in a way that is in line with the company. Without training, it would be impossible for new hires to produce quality work.

A recent survey found that 40 percent of new hires that receive poor job training leave within the first year.[7] It would be counter-productive to replace an employee if all it takes to help them succeed is training. Hiring a replacement is an expensive and time-consuming process –one that could be avoided by merely training the workers at hand.

5. Provide Support for Out of Office Learning

With the rise of automation, the future of the workforce depends on up-skilling and adapting to technology. A report done by McKinsey predicted that automation could destroy up to 73 million jobs in the United States by 2030.[8] Workers will need new skills and training to be successful in a post-automation world.

Investing in your employees’ learning and up-skilling is essential to keeping engagement up. By supporting their learning initiatives outside of work, it shows them that the company is actively supporting their individual growth.

As an employer, providing learning opportunities for workers also increases brand awareness and favorability among job-seekers. With 42 percent of millennials citing learning and development opportunities as a deciding factor when choosing jobs,[9] employers that encourage learning will have bigger talent pools to choose from.

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Employees want to work for companies that support their learning and development. It’s a widely held misconception that investment in employee training is riskier than it once was. In fact, since the 1980s, median job tenure has increased (from 3.5 to 4.6 years) and we are spending more time at work each year (1,638 to 1,811 hours per year).[10]

As labor markets tighten and the half-life of skills shrinks, more employer-funded training is a win-win. Employers increase their appeal to new employees, as well as the engagement and productivity of current staff, and individuals enhance their skills, value and future employability.

6. Be Open-Minded with Experimentation

Experimentation allows employees to flex their creative muscles and offers them an opportunity to try something new. Experimentation doesn’t always end in success, but it is an opportunity to consider alternatives and new forms of thinking.

Experimentation builds trust between employers and employees by showing employees it’s okay to fail. Employees are more willing to apply new ideas and try new things if they know the company is supporting them –opening the opportunity for innovation.

7. Venture Out of the Office

Workplace engagement, at its core, is about humanizing the workplace. Aside from the brief time during interviews and reviews, management rarely has time to get to know their workers. The workplace environment leaves very little time and room for employees and employers to form relationships. Increasing engagement at work may require an approach that doesn’t include the workplace at all –a company trip.

Company trips are the perfect medium where management and employees can learn more about each other. The more people know each other, the more invested they will be in each other’s success. For employees, this is an opportunity to see managers in a different light –as humans.

Furthermore, company trips reward employees for their service and increase morale. It shows employees that their contributions do matter, resulting in higher engagement.

8. Offer Flexible Working Conditions

Working remotely has long been attached to the stigma of a lazy, unmotivated worker. However, this idea couldn’t be further from the truth. Remote workers carry the same responsibilities on-site workers do.

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Working at a desk in an office every day isn’t ideal for productivity. Different people prefer different environments, and remote work fills that need. A study done by Stanford concluded that remote workers were 13.5 percent more productive than their peers working in an office and 50 percent more satisfied with their job.[11]

9. Promote a Healthy Lifestyle

Health is wealth, and nowhere is it more apparent than in the workplace. An engaged workforce must be healthy, both mentally and physically. It is important to encourage a healthier lifestyle because healthy workers are capable workers.

A survey done by Virgin Pulse found that 85% of companies say wellness programs support engagement.[12] Unhealthy factors such as the lack of sleep, poor diet, and stress all play a role in determining how successful a worker is in the workplace.

Healthy initiatives can range from providing healthy snacks to providing stress management classes. It is essential to keep these initiatives because high stress is one of the most significant factors in causing disengagement. Promoting healthy initiatives prevents workers from being overworked and overstressed at work, creating a more engaged workforce.

10. Make a Positive Impact

Employees want companies that are positively impacting the world. Volunteer options to better the community not only builds brand awareness but also increases engagement and worker empowerment. Working together as a team to bring good into the world can be a valuable team-building exercise and creates an atmosphere of positivity.

Volunteer initiatives and philanthropic work enable workers to get involved with the community. It makes them feel good knowing that their company is standing for something positive. A recent report stated that participation in corporate social responsibility initiatives increased productivity in the workplace by 13 percent.[13] In the same report, the authors also concluded that engaging in volunteer work reduces employee turnover rates by 50 percent.

Final Thoughts

Employee engagement is a glimpse into a more human side of the workplace. In the past, we saw employees just as workers and companies as faceless entities –and it worked for a long time. However, the new generation of workers and the future of the workplace is more human than that –they want to change the world.

Engaged employees happily go to work knowing they’re positively impacting the world. It isn’t about the money –it is about being human and providing a place where workers can grow and learn.

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More About Team Management

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

Reference

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Dmitry Dragilev

Single-handedly grew a startup from zero to 40 million page views, Dmitry is a role model for aspiring entrepreneurs.

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Last Updated on September 28, 2020

How to Change Careers Successfully When It Seems too Late

How to Change Careers Successfully When It Seems too Late

The wake-up call often comes when you least expect it. Maybe you’re enjoying a relaxing get-together with your old college buddies when someone turns to you and says, “Wow, I never thought you’d become an investment banker. I always thought you’d write a novel!” If this leaves you wondering how to change careers, you’re not alone.

Before you know it, you find yourself remembering your old dreams—and comparing them to the career field where you are now. Life rarely goes according to plan. Marriage, kids, and grandkids often come earlier than imagined—or later.

Maybe you pursued one career path because you were considered the breadwinner, but now someone else in the family is the breadwinner. Conversely, maybe you landed a job, thinking you’d stay for six months, and now you’ve been there for sixteen years.

A recent report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics pointed out that “baby boomers held an average of 12.3 jobs from ages 18 to 52″[1]. For millennials, who are more technologically apt, that number is likely to be much higher.

As this proves, it’s perfectly normal to change careers and begin a job search even when it seems too late! Steering your way through a career change is part calculation, part chance, and part leap-of-faith.

If you feel stuck and are ready for a career change, take these steps to guide you.

Step 1: Be Mentally Prepared

These points can help you master the psychological aspects of a career change at any age.

Now or Never Is a Fallacy

For most professionals, there is no cut-off age for striking out in a new direction. People do it at all stages of their careers.

If you’ve ever dreamed of leaving a large company to start your own business, you are not alone. Similarly, thousands of entrepreneurs and people working for one-man shops decide each year that they’d like to work for larger organizations.

You’ll find hordes of baby boomers looking for a redo alongside mobs of GenXers and Millennials—especially as the boomers now remain in the workforce longer than their predecessors.

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Your Career Is not a Straight Line From A to B

You don’t have to have your career trajectory completely decided from the start. In fact, that’s an unrealistic expectation, no matter how methodical you are.

People change. Industries merge, morph, and in some cases, disappear. Careers rarely follow the straight and narrow.

Many careers can be compared to journeys—there are the adventurous patches, boring patches, downright scary patches, and the hills and valleys, too. The trick is to try to have a little fun while you’re charting out your various careers.

Don’t panic if you find you need to change your career. It may take some work as you sort through job posts, write cover letters, and pursue your dream job, but you’re up for it.

Career Changers Are Among Good Company

Consider these well-known trailblazers whose careers took a radical turn:

Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon.com, studied computer science and electrical engineering at Princeton, went on to establish himself as a Wall Street prodigy, then quit to launch Amazon.com.

Sara Blakely, a billionaire businesswoman, was a fax machine salesperson before creating her signature slim wear line, Spanx.

Jonah Peretti, co-founder of the media sites Huffington Post and BuzzFeed, initially taught computer science to middle schoolers.

Be Ready to Take on the Naysayers

Expect plenty of advice—usually of the discouraging kind—from friends and family when they learn that you’re exploring a career change. Those you know best are often the most vocal in trying to thwart your plans.

Be prepared to field a flurry of pessimistic conjecture and doomsday scenarios. Know, though, that when your loved ones question your judgment, they’re not necessarily doubting your talent but trying to look out for your wellbeing. Stepping out of your comfort zone will make anyone close to you uncomfortable.

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Keep in mind that pessimists avoid the unknown, while optimists invite new challenges. Above all, believe in yourself and follow your instincts. Don’t let your fear of change paralyze you from seeking out your new career path.

Project an aura of enthusiasm, energy, and passion. You’ll find it’s contagious.

Step 2: Be Proactive

These tips can help you master the practical aspects of changing careers at any age.

Take Baby Steps

Ease into your new direction. Start building the skills you’ll need to make the switch.

Find out what skills you will need, and do whatever it takes to add them to your skills arsenal. Make the time to invest in additional training.

Start by devoting a half-day each week to your new pursuit until you’re ready to confidently make a move.

Clearly define where you want to go and what you’ll need to do to get there. Take an inventory of your strengths. Read trade magazines, and study up on industry trends.

Volunteer

Charitable organizations are often looking for volunteers to help them with their outreach, social media, and engagement. You can show up without the requisite skills and learn as you go in a fun, convivial, low-pressure environment, which will help you expand your experience and skills.

Take Online Courses

Today, LinkedIn and many other providers offer online courses in everything from accounting software to time management to mastering Excel. For extra credit, see if you can find classes that award online badges for completing each course.

Don’t be shy about adding these certificates to your online profile. Keep your profile fresh by adding more and more skills to it.

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Take a Temp Job

Depending on your field, it may be possible to freelance at a company where you learn on the job.

Remember that you can’t just show up at a potential employer’s claiming you have the skills. Taking a temporary job that allows you to polish your skills is proof that you’re serious about your career change.

Network!

Build a family tree of contacts. Explore beyond the main branches of your work acquaintances, industry groups, and social contacts. Join your alumni organization. Tell everyone.

Ask friends and friends-of-friends to meet you for coffee to explain what it is they do and tell you which skills you’ll need to succeed in your chosen field[2].

When you want to learn how to change careers, start by networking!

    If you have friends or associates with ties to the organizations where you want to work, ask your contacts to make an introduction. The majority of today’s jobs are found through one’s own networks. When jobs open up, companies invite informal recommendations from internal and external channels.

    Step 3: Take It Online

    This last step can help you master the online aspects of a career change at any age.

    Develop an Online Presence in the Field of Your Dreams

    Reconfiguring your online presence will be a critical step in your career change. Fine-tune your digital identity to reflect your new direction, tailoring your profile to the role and industry you’re after. Include keywords that are relevant to the industry so that recruiters can find you.

    Craft a clever personal statement that states your interests, your values, and your dreams. Once you’ve zeroed in on your message, also pick and choose which outlets make the most sense for it.

    Will your personal statement resonate on LinkedIn? Or is it highly visual—making it a better fit for Instagram?

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    Polish your sites until they gleam, then get active so others take notice. Add insightful content to your social media pages that goes deeper than the information on your resume, such as commentaries on something taking place in your newly chosen field.

    For more on how to build an online presence, check out this article.

    Final Thoughts

    Americans spend 1,800 hours or more each year working. That’s nearly one-third of your life, and it goes without saying that your job satisfaction and career goals have a great bearing on your life’s happiness barometer.

    Set out to intentionally pursue career satisfaction, looking for opportunities to fine-tune your working life so that you find fulfillment.

    If playing the piano is your personal bliss, could you meld your love of music with your clinical psychology background and find a job using music to promote healing? Perhaps there’s a foundation that would fund you in a multiyear study.

    Or, if you’re a movie buff for whom every encounter has the makings of a screenplay, why not sign up for an evening class and see if your years of writing advertising copy could morph into a career move into the film industry?

    Achieving your career change successfully will occur when you mentally prepare, take a proactive approach, and mine your personal and online networks. The pay-off will be in a life well-lived in a successful career.

    More Tips on How to Change Careers

    Featured photo credit: Jason Strull via unsplash.com

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