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Published on September 27, 2019

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

More by this author

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 January 13, 2020

Is It Time for a Career Change? (And How to Make the Change)

Is It Time for a Career Change? (And How to Make the Change)

Are you challenged at work? Do you regret career decisions? Are you happy? If the answer to the questions leads to a negative feeling, it is time to determine next steps.

Many people settle for a career that no longer brings satisfaction. Most will respond by stating, “I am surviving” if a colleague asks them “How’s work?”

Settling for a job to pay bills and maintain a lifestyle is stagnation. You can re-direct the journey of a career with confidence by taking control of future decisions. After all, you deserve to be live a happy life that will offer a work-life balance.

Let’s look at the reasons why you need a career change and how to choose a career for a more fulfilling life.

How to Know if You Need a Career Change?

The challenges of dissatisfaction in a career can have a negative impact on our mental health. As a result, our mental health can lead to the obvious appearance of stress, aging, weight gain and internal health issues.

You deserve a career that will fulfill the inner desire of true happiness. Here are common factors that it is time for you to change your career.

Physical Signs

Are you aging since you started your job? Do you have anxiety? What about work-related injuries?

It feels amazing to receive a pay cheque, but you deserve to work in an environment that brings out the best of you. If the work environment is hazardous, speak to your boss about alternative options.

In the case that colleagues or your boss take advantage of your kindness, feeling the anxiety of fear of losing your job because of a high-stress environment may not be right for you.

Mental Signs

One out of five Americans has mental health issues, according to Mental Health America.[1] In most cases, it is related to stress.

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I remember working at a job in a work environment where harassment was acceptable. I had to walk on eggshells to avoid crossing the line with colleagues. My friends started to notice the difference in that I seemed out of character. It was then that I knew that changing a career to freelancing was the right decision.

Here is a list of mental signs of workplace unhappiness:

  • The tension in your neck
  • Difficulties with sleeping
  • Unable to concentrate
  • High anxiety
  • Depression

If you start to feel your self-esteem is diminishing, it is time to consider if working in a high-stress industry is for you. The truth is, this negative energy will be transferred to people in your life like friends and family.

Are You Sure You’re Not Changing for the Wrong Reason?

Most people that feel they need a career are frustrated with their situation at work. Do you really understand your current situation at work?

The reason it is important to think about the work situation is some people decide to change career for factors that are insignificant. Factors that can potentially change if the person works in a different department or new organization.

Here is a list of unimportant factors to think about before you decide to make the transition:

Desire for an Increase of Salary

The desire for a higher income can persuade some to believe they are in the wrong career. The issue with this is more money requires more time in the office or taking on several positions at a time.

At times, pursuing a high-income role can be the complete opposite of what one is expected. It is what happens when a colleague leaves a company to a new one and returns several years later.

Overnight Decision

Let’s face it. We make overnight decisions when stressed out or disappointed with situations at work. The problem with a quick decision is the negative and positive points is overlooked.

Rejected for a Promotion

I have heard stories of managers that applied ten times for a position throughout a 5-year period. Yes, it sounds to be a lengthy process, but at times, a promotion requires time. Avoid changing a career if you do not see the results of a promotion currently.

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Bored at Work

Think deeply about this point. If you work a job that is repetitive, it is normal to feel bored. You can spice it up by changing the appearance of your desk, socializing with new employees in a different department, joining a leadership committee at work or coming to work with enthusiasm. Sometimes, all it takes is you to change jobs into a fun situation.

A career change can take time, networking, education and the job search process can be a journey. Here is a list of things to consider before making a final decision:

  • How long have you worked in your career?
  • What is the problem at work? Do you work well with the team?
  • Do you receive recognition?
  • Can you consider working in a new department?

If after reviewing your work situation and none of the above recommendations can help, then it’s time to make a career change.

How a Career Change Will Change Your Life

I have a friend that works in the medical industry. She was once a nurse working directly with patients in one of the top hospitals in her area. After five years, she started to internalize the issues with her patients to the point where she felt depressed after work hours. It impacted her relationship with her family and she almost lost herself.

One day, she decided to wake up and take control of her destiny. She started applying for new medical jobs in the office. It meant working on medical documentation of patients which is not an ideal career based on what society expects a medical professional to perform. But she started to feel happier.

It is a classic example of a person that was negatively impacted by issues at work, stayed in the same industry but changed careers.

A career change can fulfill a lifelong dream, increase one’s self-esteem or revive the excitement for one’s work.

You know a career change can be the right decision to make if you experience one or all of these:

  • Working in a negative workplace: Don’t be discouraged. A negative workplace can be changed by working at a new organization.
  • Working with a difficult boss: The challenges of working with a difficult boss can be stressful. All it takes is communication. You can address the issue directly with a manager professionally and respectfully.
  • Feeling lost about what you do: Most people stay at their jobs and settle for mediocrity because of the fear of failure or the unknown. The rise to success often comes with working a tedious role or stepping outside of one’s comfort zone. If you fear the idea of being involved in activities that are new, remember that life is short. Mediocrity will only continue to make you feel as if life is passing you by.

How to Make a Career Change Successfully

The ultimate key to success is to go through a career transition step by step to avoid making the wrong decision.

1. Write a Career Plan

A career plan has a dead line for action steps that includes taking new courses, learning a new language, networking or improving issues at work.[2] A career plan should be kept in your wallet because it will motivate you to keep pursuing the role.

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You can learn how to set your career plan here.

2. Weigh Your Options

If you have a degree in Accounting, write down five positions in this industry of interest. The good news is diplomas and degrees can be used to a variety of roles to choose.

You don’t have to stick to what society holds a top job. In the end, choosing the right role that will make you happy is priceless.

3. Be Real About the Pros and Cons

It is time to be honest about strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in the job market that are impacting the current situation.

A SWOT Analysis of a career can include:[3]

  • Economic factors
  • Direct competition: Is this role in high demand?
  • Location: Do you need to move? If the goal is to work in tech and living in Cincinnati is not realistic, consider moving to San Francisco.
  • Achievements: To stand out from the competition achievements like awards, committee involvement, freelance work or volunteering is a recipe for success.
  • Education: Do you need to go back to school? Education can be expensive. However, online courses, webinars or self-study is an option.

    A career blueprint is the first step to creating realistic goals. A person without goals will be disappointed without a clear direction of what to do next.

    4. Find a Mentor or Career Coach

    A mentor or a career coach that works in the desired position can share the pros and cons of working in the role. Here is a list of questions to ask a mentor:

    • What is required to be successful in the role?
    • What certification or educational development is needed?
    • What are the challenges of the role?
    • Is there potential for career advancement?

    A chat at a coffee shop with a mentor can change your mind about the desire for a career change.

    Find out how to pick a good mentor for yourself in this article: How to Find a Mentor That Will Help You Succeed

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    5. Research Salary

    Some people decide to change careers for a role that pays less or perks like benefits to make up for the difference in previous to potential salary.

    It can reveal the cities throughout the country that offer a higher salary for those that have an interest in relocating for work.

    6. Be Realistic

    If your goal is to move up into an executive position, it is time to be honest about where you are in your career.

    For example, if boardroom meetings, high-level discussions about financials or attending weekly networking events are boring, an executive role may not be right for you. If you are an introvert and working with people every day is nerve wrecking, you need to reconsider a job in sales.

    Ask yourself if you can work in this role for the next five years of your life. If other benefits that come with the role are enticing, other roles are fit that will make you happy.

    7. Volunteer First

    A person that wants to become a manager should take on volunteer opportunities to experience the reality of the position.

    Becoming a committee member to pursue a presidential opportunity can provide a perspective on leadership, maintaining a budget and public speaking.

    Volunteer in a role until you are certain that it is the right opportunity.

    8. Prepare Your Career Tools

    I recommend asking a boss, colleague or mentor for career tools. If you prefer professional assistance, you can seek out resume writing assistance. Here is a list of things to consider when preparing career tools:

    • Online search: Search your name online to see what shows up. I recommend searching images that are on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat or other sites on a personal account. The last thing you want to realize is the job search is unsuccessful because there is unprofessional content you posted online.
    • Be LinkedIn ready: Recruiters conduct a LinkedIn search to see if the work experience is the same on a resume. Remember to change the wording on LinkedIn from the resume, or it will appear there was no effort put into creating the profile.
    • Portfolio: A portfolio of work is recommended for people that work in the arts, writing, graphic design and other fields. I recommend a portfolio online and one that is available in hand when attending job interviews or networking meetups.
    • Cover letter: A good cover writer will always impress your potential employers. Here’s how to write a killer cover letter that stands out from others.

    Bottom Line

    It takes time to move towards a new career. Pay attention to the physical and mental signs to maintain your health. You deserve to work in happiness and come home stress-free. If you avoid the common mistakes people make, you will find a job and discover the role in a career field that is the best fit with your skillsets.

    Master these action steps and changing career paths will be on your terms to make the best decision for your future.

    More About Career Change

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

    Reference

    [1] Mental Health America: The State of Mental Health in America
    [2] MIT Global Education & Career Development: Make a Career Plan
    [3] Creately: Personal SWOT Analysis to Assess and Improve Yourself

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