An engaged employee is a happy and fulfilled employee. Company loyalty doesn’t happen because you pay someone to do a job. We have witnessed the opposite with the great resignation in the last year.
If you want to create longevity and loyalty within your company’s ranks, you will have to increase your employees’ engagement.
An engaged workforce is a loyal workforce. They are driven to make things better because they like what they do while experiencing results that satisfy their inner need to be part of something bigger than themselves.
Suppose your company wants to see better productivity, a higher quality of work, and a more potent team atmosphere while having the ability to retain your top talent. In that case, you will need to consider prioritizing employee engagement.
Team members who feel cared for and engaged are team members who will grow your business from a place of passion instead of need. So, here are ten employee engagement ideas for 2023.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of employee engagement ideas. Yet, it lists some of the top ideas that will engage your employees, build a healthy culture, and create an environment that people want to come to regularly.
1. Welcome Employee Feedback
When you invite someone into the process, they take ownership. The greater sense of ownership a person has, the greater engagement they will produce.
Think of it this way: your greatest feedback, evaluations, and ideas will stem from the people who work the system daily. If the team doesn’t have a way to improve their work, they will never take ownership of the job.
If you want the most significant levels of engagement, you’ll have to welcome employee feedback.
2. Have Fun With Your Team
One of the most effective engagement strategies we have in our toolbelt is the ability to have fun with our team.
As a child, the most productive, innovative, imaginative, and engaged time in my youth was when I was at play. We would spend hours coming up with ideas and seeing if we could get them to work. This type of play reduced stress, helped us create deep social bonds, made a pathway for more robust relationships, and boosted productivity.
Somewhere along the line, children are told to grow up. As children grow, they are made to go to a job they don’t like to create a career they never wanted, all to live the “dream” life. In reality, instead of an exciting adventure full of wonder, creativity, and fun, the children are relegated to a dull and unproductive life that oddly resembles prison life.
If we reintroduced play back into the workplace, it would cause employees to love coming to work. When employees love what they do, employee engagement increases, innovation happens, and the company benefits.
3. Remove Roadblocks
Everyone hates detours. Detours are roadblocks that cost us time, energy, and effort. In other words, it forces us to exert more effort over a more extended period to get to the intended destination.
When we apply this metaphor to the workplace, we have to ask ourselves, “What hinders our employees from reaching their destination?” This is a critical question for employee engagement.
Employee engagement is down when it takes longer, greater effort, and more energy to reach the intended destination. If the employer can start to remove roadblocks—real or perceived—employee engagement will increase and so will innovation and creativity.
4. Tangible Tokens of Appreciation
There is power in appreciation. As someone who has developed leaders over the last 20 years, I have noticed a trend where the organizations that showed tangible appreciation had greater employee engagement. When you realize that people engage the most where they feel the most cared for and accepted, you start to invest in ways for people to feel appreciated.
Small, inexpensive, but thoughtful tokens of appreciation can create a massive impact. An employee who feels honored, cared for, and appreciated will be an employee who develops a deep loyalty and high engagement.
On the other hand, an employee who doesn’t feel appreciated can become a disgruntled employee that changes the environment from productive to toxic.
The key is to show appreciation through tangible means. A simple card, a gift certificate to their favorite restaurant, or something meaningful will demonstrate how valuable the employee is.
Tokens of appreciation are never company expenses. They are always company investments into employee morale and engagement.
5. Empower Them, Not Just Delegate to Them
One of the most frustrating and possibly demoralizing things we can do to employees is hiring them for a specific task without giving them the authority to do it. If you are looking to increase employee engagement, give the employee the required authority to do the job they were hired to accomplish.
The concept of ownership applies here. Employees are most engaged when they feel a sense of ownership over the project or job they are working on.
I don’t know about you, but I have a sense of pride when I know that a job I was in charge of was well done. When we couple that sense of owner’s pride with tokens of appreciation, you create an environment where the employee looks forward to engaging each day.
The quickest way to increase employee engagement by utilizing the principle of ownership is through empowerment.
Think of it this way: if an employer delegates to you, they give you their to-do list. How would that make you feel, knowing that all you were suitable for is checking boxes on someone else’s list? Would you want to engage in the work?
No, you would not. Your engagement would flatline.
On the other hand, give people the authority to make decisions in the job they were hired for. You will increase employee engagement, and ultimately, create a culture of loyalty and leadership.
6. Lunch Time Training (Hosted by Employees)
There is untapped potential found in the people we hire. Each hire comes with a specific skill set for the job, but many have other skill sets that can bring a powerful dynamic to your team.
If you want to increase employee engagement, learn to tap into this stream of knowledge. The employees will be involved through training their peers they will also be able to showcase their expertise.
Next, to increase employee engagement, you will want to provide a platform for your team to train their peers. Using the Lunch and Learn model is one of the best models for this type of training.
In essence, you are creating a working lunch where instead of working on a project, you allow your employees to show their expertise as they train their peers. As a bonus, provide them lunch. You are not only giving them a platform for engagement, but you are also feeding them. It is a no-lose situation.
Your employee engagement will increase when you pull from your team, give them a platform, and provide a meal!
7. Have a Motivational Speaker
When an employee is unengaged, they are often unmotivated. This lack of motivation can be rooted in personal life, job satisfaction, uncertainty, or a myriad of other challenges.
As employers, we are not expected to be the employee’s counselor or life coach. They were hired to do a job, and the expectation is that they complete what they were hired to accomplish. Yet, an unmotivated employee is an unengaged employee. This lack of engagement will tank productivity.
It is our job, as employers, to measure morale and create a company culture that supports the employee and their personal goals. Having a motivational speaker come to your office is one way you can supercharge your morale and increase engagement.
As a frequent conference speaker and attendee, I can say that a good motivational speaker will supercharge the attenders to the point where they feel like they can take on the world and win. That energy can be brought into your office for a private conference.
The employees will appreciate knowing that you care about their well-being. They will also benefit from the excitement and energy that the speaker will bring. Thus, the in-house speaker will motivate you and your staff with the added benefit of increasing employee engagement.
8. Promote Mental and Physical Well-Being
Have you ever had a car break down on you? Long before the car was about to breakdown, there were signs. These are warning signs indicating a problem that will create a bigger problem down the road if not fixed immediately. The same goes for the human body and psyche.
There are warning signs long before a system crash. When motivation and engagement decrease, these are warning signs of a possible incoming system failure.
To give you a better picture of this, we only have to look at the rising cases of mental illness, obesity, and other medical conditions. Now is the perfect time to take the focus off what is wrong with the world and start changing the direction towards optimizing our personal mental and physical well-being.
Wisdom dictates that we, as business owners, focus on promoting mental and physical well-being. Offering perks, such as gym memberships or a limited number of sessions with a licensed counselor, will show our employees that we care about their wellbeing.
A cared-for person is a productive and engaged person. In addition, offering continuing education around mental and physical well-being gives the employees access to help them understand their journey towards fulfillment.
As we encourage employee health and wellness, both mentally and physically, we call them to take responsibility for their journey. Our commitment is to provide the opportunity and tools for health. It is their responsibility to take ownership of their journey.
Together, we can create a culture of health and wellness that will increase employee engagement while creating an environment of growth.
9. Gamify Goal Completion
I love escape rooms. They provide an experience where a group of individuals must come together to solve complex issues so that they can escape. Depending on which room you are working in determines its level of difficulty. The more complicated the room, the more complex the problems you have to solve.
The key to meeting the goal of escaping is working as a team. What is so unique about escape rooms is that they gamify the entire project. Even though you utilize complex problem-solving skills with your team within a set timeframe, you never feel it is work.
What if you used this model and found a way to place it within your organizational structure? How much more would your employees be engaged when they knew it would be a game towards a goal and possible prizes?
I, for one, would love to work in an environment that promotes fun and will gamify their tasks. Adding a scorecard where the employee could win prizes would be the cherry on top of a fantastic idea.
Gamify it if you want to increase employee engagement around tasks and goals. It may feel like a bit of work to set up, but it could be why your organization becomes the most sought-after company to work for.
10. Start a “Distraction” Jar
When I worked as a school teacher, I had a “Brain Break” jar. In essence, it was a jar with many popsicle sticks. On each stick was a task that could be completed in under five minutes, with most of them being completed within one to three minutes.
Students would come and pull a random stick, do the task, and then go back to work. The only time they could pull a stick was when the tasks in front of them became overwhelming and they needed a “Break Break.” This break allowed them to refocus to finish the job at hand.
People naturally get distracted. It is part of our nature to need different stimulation. Working on one thing for too long can kill creativity. Taking a break is not a chance to be distracted but an opportunity to renew creatively. It is an opportunity to step back and get fresh eyes on the project.
A tired mind is a feeble mind which lowers engagement and productivity.
Instead of fighting distraction, allow your employees an opportunity to be distracted. When they look tired, down, or need a change, enable them to take a distraction break.
Like the classroom example, have a way for your employees to draw random activities from a centralized location. Each activity should have a maximum time of completion set to five minutes. The expectation should be to get back to work once their distraction task is complete.
Everyone wins when you work with people’s natural tendencies instead of fighting them. Your energy redirects to more engagement and productivity instead of consequences.
Know Your Company, Your Culture, and Your Context
If any of the provided employee engagement ideas are to work, you have to know your company, culture, and context. Putting the right idea in the wrong context may hinder you instead of help you.
Having a positive idea in a toxic culture will demoralize you even more. While you are learning to apply these ten employee engagement ideas for this year, make sure you are also working on the overall health of your organization. Health plus engagement will transform any average company into an impactful and productive powerhouse.
Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com
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