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Recruitment | 8 Min Read

10 Insanely Actionable Strategies to Drive Employee Engagement

1. Hire the Right People

It’s imperative for the recruiters to hire the right person relevant to the required skills, experience and qualification for the job role. Employee engagement is directly proportional to the relevant job responsibility assigned to the individual.

If an employee is not enjoying the work allocated to him/her by the supervisor, there would be negative employee engagement in the team. It would cost you loss of time and money. Hence, if you have a vibrant and dynamic team, you don’t want to hire people who refuse to think outside the box.

2. Open Communication

The second most important employee engagement plan is open communication. It revolves around open-door policy where employees have the discretion to share concerns, opinions and anything about their work to the superiors or top management.

They don’t have to follow the organizational hierarchy to put forth their queries. A positive, open and productive communication helps in establishing an emotional chord of trustworthiness and authenticity between the employees and the employer.

Besides that, an effective communication between the employee and the superiors helps in solving any prolonged issue within the system and strengthens the overall culture in the organization.

3. Offer Job Rotations

Nothing cripples employee morale than a sense of monotony. Consider the example of a door that allows entry and exit to a building:

A door opens and closes all day but remains stagnant at its place at the end of the day.

Employees stop feeling the juice in their roles, count it meaningless and crave for a change even when their role continues adding value to the organization (Just like a door does. Imagine what happens if a fire breaks out and the door gets jammed)

There comes a time in the life of every employee when progress seems like taking a step backward and you find yourself in a saturation stage.

Just like I find a deep sense of meaning, purpose, and fulfillment in heading Mettl and its operations; employees should also be able to find that connect in their regular deliverables.

Rather than pushing employees for what they “SHOULD” do, ask what they “WOULD” do while considering a job rotation. Identify their strengths and leverage them for business success, for the mutual good.

4. Create a Sense of Belonging

An employee should feel like home if you are to improve their mental health and foster a sense of belonging to their mind. For that to happen, give them the leeway to experiment. When I say leeway or leverage, it means that your employees must be able to decide:

  • Working hours (If not a shift bound process)
  • Location (remote working)
  • Projects directly serving their interests
  • Workspace (Couches, beanbags, Sit-Stand Desks)

Don’t encourage long-sitting hours as it can hamper them on both a physical or emotional level. Even a leading study also suggests that “Sitting is the New Smoking.” Just like family members do, throw surprises on their birthdays, marriage anniversaries, or work anniversaries to enhance the feeling of accomplishment. Until your employees find no difference between work and workplace, the odds of their mental health plummeting is quite low. Apart from these, you can also explore a few indirect avenues to improve the mental health of your employees:

4.1 Freedom to Experiment

Instead of saying, “We have been doing XYZ this way,” ask, “How can we do it better.” Invite people to come up with their unique take on challenges and ideas for better implementation. If you factor age and experience in this step, you might miss out on many suggestions that have the potential to transform your business.

Create “Open to All” forums wherein people can contribute both raw and refined ideas and then, you can decide what all to keep and what to drop. Even Sir Albert Einstein quoted,

“Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

So, invite a fresh perspective to enhance the sense of belonging in employees and watch their mental health improve by leaps and bounds.

4.2 A Mouthpiece for Ideas

Although it goes without saying, every big venture starts with an idea popping in your mind. Personally, I call it the “Entrepreneurial Employee Mindset,” a situation wherein an employee lives on the ground and shoots for the sky.

Take an example of Google, Tesla, or Facebook; it all started with an idea and took shape later. And, the results don’t need a mention! You never know when someone suggests that Million Dollar Idea that pumps up your venture to scale new heights.

5. Focus on Health and Wellness Programs

This engagement strategy is critical and significant for any organization and it directly impacts the efficiency and general well-being of the employee.

In the fast-paced corporate world environment, employees are often seen juggling between the personal and professional commitments and as a result, their mental health takes a backseat.

Looming deadlines, endless discussions, and targets are only a few factors that contribute to poor mental health.

As per the Gallup Study, 62% respondents feel that their positive engagement at work has significant impact on their health and mind.

In such a scenario, Employee Wellness and Motivation programs is an essential business decision that has a significant impact on attrition, absenteeism, and productivity at large.

6. More Weightage to Personal and Professional Development

Proper Training and Development is of utmost importance if organizations want to maximize the employee turnover and employee retention rate.

You can see a remarkable improvement in employee engagement if you are regularly training your employees in the respective domain and imparting education about the new technological trends and development of the organization. This way employees feel emotionally connected and are motivated to contribute their best efforts to the organization.

Some of the ways by which companies can take up Personal and Professional Development programs are listed below:

  • Promoting skill-specific certifications that enhances professional development and benefit the organization at large
  • Motivating employees to take small breaks and sabbaticals to pursue personal passion, travel and experience new adventures. These activities have a huge impact on the employee’s attitude and commitment towards the work. It helps in refueling their energy to gear up for larger contributions at work
  • Organizing regular workshops and seminars for employees to leverage and upskill themselves
  • Conducting writing exercises, games, quizzes, etc. to stimulate agility

7. Clearly Defined Job Roles and Responsibilities

The roles and responsibilities assigned to the employees should be clearly defined and there should be no scope of confusion. It is often seen that employees are just working for the sake of paychecks and are not at all happy with the work allocated to them by the supervisors.

A clear and defined job responsibility acquaints employees with the vision and mission of the company.  Employees feel a sense of confusion, detachment and burnout without the well-defined roles and responsibilities. In such a scenario, a focused leader should educate employees the objective of contributing to the business growth and how they should work in sync with company goals.

You can achieve this by following the below steps:

  • Defining clear job roles
  • Conducting weekly or monthly to discuss company goals
  • Conducting assessment training to  check candidate’s skill mapping with job requirements

8. Invoke Job Satisfaction

Although job satisfaction in the US continues following an upward trend, it’s quite subjective when you ask employees. When I compared a job satisfaction survey versus inviting one-on-one responses at Mettl, I noticed a landslide difference in the responses. After brainstorming the reasons for disparities in a weekly HR meeting,

I found that employees feel highly intimidated to disclose their concerns in-person as they fear a pay cut or worse, a pink slip.

So, instead of nagging employees to do something that isn’t in line with their areas of interest or expertise, be empathetic and ask a few questions like:

  • Do you need support in implementing this?
  • Are you comfortable leading the initiative?
  • What can all be done to ensure a role transition?
  • Can you suggest a comfortable timeline (not deadline) to achieve the targets?

Once you shift your instructions from “DO IT” to “LET’S DO IT,” employees get a sense of belonging that someone is there for the handholding and there’s cushion if something backfires. Aside from this, ask employees to volunteer for specific job roles rather than delegating them. Allegations such as “You don’t have the skills” and “You don’t have the qualifications” only add up to an employee’s emotional turmoil and depletes their mental health.

9. Breed Meaningful Connections

Workplace politics pulls down any organization as it creates a toxic culture where no employee grows or anticipate a future. Most employees spend their tea breaks or leisure time cursing their workplace, cracking demeaning jokes on people in authority positions to reduce resentment.

Many times, when job dissatisfaction doesn’t exist, it’s propagated. Even Jim Rohn, an American entrepreneur, and Motivational Speaker quotes:

“You are the average of five people you spend the most time with”

Now, imagine people bad mouthing your company policies, procedures, or work cultures as they usually do. And then, people who were all good a moment ago start replicating and walking on the same thoughts.

Psychology suggests you a list of five behavioral traits as dark personality traits that lead to a venomous work environment, thereby sabotaging the mental health of employees:

employee_engagement_strategies_dark_personality_traits

That said, your hiring decisions directly influence the emotional well-being of your employees. If you hire people exhibiting dark personality traits, your work culture can become toxic in no time. So, how can you avoid such a situation? Here’s a possible way:

Conduct In-Depth Personality Assessments Pre-Hiring

Rather than getting flabbergasted by education, experience, and charisma; recruiters must focus on the quality of answers and the body language. Don’t go for mundane questions such as,

  • Tell me something about yourself?
  • Why should we hire you?
  • Where do you see yourself after five years?

Instead, ask questions to judge their response in real-life crisis situations such as:

  • What will you do if you fall short of resources and a $100 million deal is impending?
  • How would you react if you have to stretch for two straight shifts?

From every answer, try to get inferences to get an idea of whether the candidate is a suitable fit or not.

10. A Gentle Pat on the Back

Words of appreciation and motivation can go a long way in fostering a meaningful and tranquil work environment. For every win, whether small or large, appreciate across teams to instill a sense of accomplishment in the employee.

Remember that self-esteem and the desire to be recognized as an integral part of Maslow’s Hierarchy Theory of Needs.

employee_engagement_strategies_Maslow’s_Hierarchy_Theory_of_Needs

Brace Up to Enhance Employee Engagement!

Employees expect a continuous momentum in their lives to keep up the good work and continue meeting the organizational goals. Once they go through a phase of burnout, stagnation, or get an impression that they are doing nothing but trading their soul for dollars; they simply leave for better opportunities.

And, it happens quite frequently with the millennials and the Gen Z workforce as they prefer freedom and emotional wellness over the economic perks that you offer.

Start creating a workplace that matters for your employees, and that’s possible only with holistic changes in how well you meet employee expectations. The key is to start small and assess progress.

Originally published June 17 2018, Updated June 16 2020

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