Picture this: You’re at a 3 pm staff meeting, and the manager asks a question. They’re searching for fresh ideas, looking all around the room, but can’t seem to make eye contact with anyone. Several people take sips of their coffees, a handful fidget with their pens, and a couple are trying really hard not to fall asleep.
Sound familiar? Chances are, if you aren’t operating on a ‘pitching-for-new-articles’ kind of business model, you’ve seen this happen one too many times.
But what really is the problem here? If all employees are doing their jobs well, and productivity levels are fine, then why would lack of engagement be a problem? Well, a lack of employee engagement isn’t as simple as a lack of discussion in the meeting room, or a lack of friendly banter. Employee engagement is how connected an employee feels to their job, and how committed they are to it. In fact, more and more research points to how employee engagement and employee wellbeing are intertwined.
We’ve talked about employee wellbeing before, but let’s go over it again. Wellbeing is what helps us prevent burnout, it’s what helps us remain dedicated to our goals, and it’s what helps us maintain balance in our lives. So improving employee wellbeing, and as a result improving employee engagement, can have vital results in the workplace.
Here are 5 ways to reconfigure the system and to improve employee engagement by improving employee wellness:
1) Help define the ‘why’
It happens. Sometimes we forget why we’re doing what we’re doing, and tasks start feeling mundane. We start operating on a to-do list model, not knowing what the end goal is. If your employee engagement is at an all-time low, chances are you might need some reminders of the ‘why.’
You went over company values during the onboarding process, we assume (and if you haven’t, please start doing so), but a lot of time may have passed since then. Why not arrange some off-site events that help highlight the company mission in creative ways, reminding employees of all the ways they have been working towards these goals? Because your company is making a difference, and there’s no harm in allowing employees to engage with this vision.
In addition to the company ‘why,’ also try focusing on individual ‘why’s. What made your employees want to work with you in the first place? Think of organising some developmental workshops that help employees identify their professional and personal targets, evaluating ways in which they have come closer to these.
2) Encourage conversations
Whether it be in the form of surveys, individual or group opinions, or targeted think-tank sessions, encourage as much feedback as possible. No one person knows how to do things best, and as much as we try, sometimes we might fall short of employee workplace expectations. If your workplace isn’t tailored towards receiving regular feedback and implementing necessary changes, now is the time to make it so.
The most important thing here is to show employees that the company is open to feedback and welcomes it. The more employees feel heard, the better they will feel about expressing their feedback, and the easier it will become to create the necessary changes that lead to employee engagement.
Just remember that not all conversations have to take place in a professional setting. Organize social events such as team outings, company-wide happy hours, or even gamified productive sessions that make it easier for your employees to voice their opinions.
3) Recognize achievements
If someone is doing something well, why not acknowledge them? Recognition doesn’t always have to be the result of going ‘above and beyond,’ but can be a simple pat-on-the-back for a project effectively finished by the deadline. The more you incorporate recognition into the regular routine, the more connected employees will feel to their purpose. Because we all appreciate being acknowledged.
There is no single way to show recognition. It can be company-wide, team-wide, individual, or any other suitable way. The most important thing here is to show employees that their day-to-day efforts aren’t going unnoticed, that you know they are working hard and that you see them. Driving connection to the position, after all, also drives engagement.
Pro tip: Also try incorporating personal accomplishments into the recognition scheme. Is someone celebrating a milestone? Has someone just had a baby? Celebrate!
4) Encourage growth
We’re big advocates of growth, and we think you should be too. There is literally nothing to be lost from employees acquiring extra skills or training, while stagnancy can have detrimental results. So, supporting employees in their development, whether it be personal or professional, should be on the forefront of any company’s agenda when looking to increase employee retention.
Think subscriptions to online courses, gym memberships, meditation rooms, professional training allowances, or even language-learning offers. The sky is the limit when it comes to what skill acquisition you can support, and we say open the conversation up to the employees themselves to ask what they would like to see more of.
In encouraging growth, of course, try to make room for flexibility too. Would someone need to come in an hour earlier, and leave an hour earlier? Work from home for a day? Why not?
If you have any employees who wear too many hats, chances are they are the most stressed-out members of the team. And if a big portion of your employees wear too many hats, well, we may just have found the reason behind any lack of engagement.
Eliminating role ambiguity and clearly defining the expectations of specific positions is a great way to remove unnecessary tasks from an employee’s workload, allowing them to focus on their strengths instead. This goes hand in hand with our first pointer as well – a clarified expectation of the role also brings with it a clarified sense of purpose, heightening the connection to the position and therefore to the company.
Eliminating identical tasks can also be a great way of making sure that no resources are wasted, and highlighting employees’ strengths can be a great way of empowering them to excel in these areas.
Next time you are evaluating employee engagement, why not focus on these 5 steps?