You’ve read the data. Engaged employees are huge assets to your company. They’re more productive, innovative, and positive. They are also less likely to miss work or change employers altogether.
In addition to being stronger employees, an engaged workforce also experiences a better life outside of work, including higher levels of adaptability, more positive life outlook, and better physical health.
As a manager, you want your employees to reach their full potential, professionally and personally. But in a world of hybrid and remote offices, how do you promote employee engagement?
ChartHop recently partnered with Bravely and Owl Labs to produce the webinar “Strategies to Boost Employee Engagement in the Hybrid Workplace.” Below are four strategies they discussed to promote employee engagement no matter where your people are located.
There’s a saying in the beekeeping world that goes, “Ask 10 beekeepers a question and you’ll get 11 different answers.” That’s because beekeeping is incredibly subjective; what may work for one beekeeper in Seattle may not for another in West Texas.
The same can be said for employee engagement. Because the term “employee engagement” is nuanced, it’s hard to promote or measure if you don’t have a standardized definition at your company.
Sarah Diegnan, VP of Customer Experience at ChartHop, advises, “As a first step, your leadership team needs to define what employee engagement looks like at your company at an individual, team, and organizational level.” This will not only create a foundation for viewing and understanding your engagement data, but will also align departments and your people moving forward.
Additionally, you’ll want to have data behind your objective definition. By asking the right questions and then analyzing the resulting data, you’ll be able to determine what’s currently working and what’s not so you can take action.
Ben Harman, Chief of Staff at Owl Labs, believes measuring data is critical in promoting employee engagement. He noted four results from measuring engagement and morale:
With the right People Analytics platform, your leadership team can view employee engagement through a variety of lenses to pinpoint successes and areas of growth.
Promoting company-wide engagement starts with focusing on your own engagement status, especially if you are an executive or team lead. Diegnan says, “Employee engagement has a top-down effect,” so those who lead by example demonstrate that they’re walking the walk.
Beyond being engaged themselves, leadership needs to establish a culture of transparency to further drive employee engagement. When there’s a transparent environment, employees are happier and more engaged, leading to increased productivity, a stronger culture, and better customer relations.
Below are four ways in which leaders can help establish a culture of transparency:
Continuous performance reviews support employees and help managers identify trends that show engagement or disengagement.
If you want to increase employee engagement, you need to create opportunities in which that can happen. When you offer a selection of low- and high-tech ways for your employees to connect, everyone has the chance to engage in ways in which they feel comfortable.
Before planning department get-togethers or virtual holiday parties, it’s important to start small and embed engagement opportunities into everyday work. Harman states: “Consistent, strong collaboration among teams show me that there’s a level of leaning in. That shows strong engagement.”
How does this look during a regular workflow?
Let’s cut to the chase: In-person retreats can be life-changing for employees and the company. While this may sound dramatic, Edward Sullivan, CEO of Velocity Group agrees. “Retreats have gone from a ‘nice to have’ to ‘must have,’” he argues, since they foster connection and a sense of belonging that is sometimes missing over a virtual call.
While company retreats may be expensive, think of it as an investment in your people. If you’re battling the decision, refer to your values as your moral compass. Think: Are you making this decision based on the bottom line, or are you trying to live your people-first values?
Ahron explains, “It may be expensive to fly people in, but when you’re thinking about return on investment to combat turnover, really thinking practically and strategically, putting resources behind in-person gatherings once in a while can really be transformative and have amazing positive impacts on employee retention and engagement.”
Furthermore, Flok, a company that helps plan company retreats, offers four additional benefits of creating off-site experiences:
In short, offering a variety of opportunities for connection will help promote engagement and lead to happier, healthier employees.
“As a manager, your number one priority is to spot burnout and help your team come out of it,” Diegnan says. An empathetic, trustworthy leader knows it’s important to build relationships with employees. When you keep an open channel of communication with your people, you open the door to having important and necessary discussions surrounding burnout and employee needs.
For example, if you see Joel, your direct report, rolling his eyes during social events or coming disheveled to meetings, you need to be able to ask him about your observations. You may uncover something larger than disengagement, but your concern will signal that you care about Joel as a person, not just an employee.
Alternatively, if you’re slow to respond, your people may leave. As you know, churn results in losing knowledge and experience, backfilling the position, and distributing work among your team until your new hire begins.
Below are suggestions for managers to help reduce and respond to your employees’ burnout.
After you establish what employee engagement looks like across your organization and implement opportunities to do so, you’ll want to measure if your efforts are working. Leadership knows that numbers don’t tell the whole story, but they do provide clear-cut evidence if your people regularly meet their goals and have positive feelings about work.
One you begin diving into your engagement data, you’ll discover the right solution for your team. Maybe you need more off-sites, or maybe you need to tone down the virtual yoga classes. Either way, finding what drives your people to become more engaged is an important step in creating a strong workplace culture and retaining your employees.
Sign up for a free demo today.