The average person will work 35 hours per week. That adds up to 84,365 hours over their lifetime. Yet just over one-third of employees (34%) are engaged, and 16% are actively disengaged in their work and workplace.
If you’re reading this, the chances are you want to make sure your employees don’t feel like they are wasting a large portion of their life at work. We’ll do our best to help you do just that.
In this handy guide, we’ll break down the key steps you need to take when creating an employee engagement strategy.
From understanding why your organization truly needs an employee engagement strategy, to the actionable steps you can take to create your own strategy, we’ll cover everything you need to know right here.
Why you need an employee engagement strategy
Creating an employee engagement strategy can seem daunting, but it’s important for any business. Having a strategic approach to your employees’ happiness and engagement will help you retain top talent, keep them motivated and productive, and ultimately grow your business.
Effective employee engagement strategies will outline exactly how you are going to improve employee engagement within your organization, allowing all team members to stay on the same page when it comes to their roles and responsibilities.
In short: by creating an employee engagement strategy, you can strategically work to improve your employee engagement. And with improved levels of engagement, come a number of organizational benefits, including:
- Higher Productivity: Employee engagement is closely linked with productivity. Engaged employees are more motivated to do their best work and achieve their goals. In fact, research has shown that engaged employees are up to 202% more productive than disengaged employees.
- Reduced Staff Turnover: Low employee retention is costly and disruptive for any business, and one of the most decisive factors for employee retention is employee engagement. Engaged employees are less likely to leave their job, which reduces the need for costly and disruptive staff turnover.
- Improved Morale: A happy workforce is a productive workforce. When employees feel engaged and valued, they are more likely to be happy at work and less likely to experience stress or burnout. As such, a staff engagement strategy can motivate employees and improve morale, job satisfaction and overall company culture.
- Greater Loyalty: An engaged employee is more likely to be loyal to their company, in fact 90% of workers said they are more likely to stay at a company that takes and acts on feedback: AKA one that engages them. They are less likely to look for jobs elsewhere and are more likely to recommend their company to others. Therefore, the right employee engagement strategies can drive your staff retention rates and encourage employees to stay with your company for longer.
Employee engagement strategies & business types
What your employee engagement strategy needs to consist of will change depending on your business type. For example, a software company will need to focus on ways to motivate and engage product designers and developers in order to compete for top talent in a competitive Silicon Valley environment. A healthcare organization, on the other hand, will need to come up with innovative ways to engage their nursing and medical staff to combat physician burnout and the growing nursing shortage.
What's important is that you provide your workforce with strategies that are designed for them specifically. Ultimately, your strategy will depend on the type of employees you have, the unique challenges facing those teams in your market, their day-to-day tasks, and how your organization operates as a whole.
Employee engagement for the frontline
Creating an employee engagement strategy can be especially important for frontline organizations. With 80% of the global workforce working on the frontline, it’s important to have strategies in place that will help keep these workers engaged, productive and motivated.
Additionally, employees in frontline positions often have more direct contact with customers and are more likely to represent the company to the public. As such, it is important for these employees to be engaged and motivated, so they can provide positive customer service experiences.
Frontline staff engagement strategies might involve providing employees with accessible digital tools for employee engagement, offering transparent and frequent communication, or emphasizing the importance of customer feedback.
Remember: whatever strategies you use, it’s important to tailor them specifically to your industry, business type and workforce.
How to create your employee engagement strategy
In order to have engaged employees, you need a plan in place, outcomes in mind, a clear outline of responsibilities and a culture that takes participation seriously. You also need a toolset available that is able to execute your plan, close distances, track results and simplify operations.
To make this a little easier to understand, we've broken the process down into 7 simple steps.
1. Define - Your purpose, values & mission
Defining your own purpose, company core values, and mission statement is a crucial step in creating your employee engagement strategy. In fact, when teams know your goals and expectations of them, they are 2.8 times more likely to be engaged in their roles, according to research from Quantum Workplace.
By clearly articulating what you stand for as an organization, you can align your staff with these values and give them a reason to be invested in the success of your business in the long-term.
To ensure that all employees are on the same page here, you should provide an easy-to-access Hub containing all company policy and procedure documents, along with a thorough onboarding process for new hires.
2. Listen - Conversations and research
Direct, two-way conversations and further research into your employees’ needs and wants will help you to create a more personalized engagement strategy, making this a core step in the strategic process. One way to do this is through pulse surveys.
Pulse Surveys are short, regular surveys that ask employees about their engagement levels and how they feel about their work. This can help you to identify any areas where your employees may be struggling, and can help to ensure that your employee engagement strategy is constantly evolving.
Whether it’s through surveys, focus groups, one-on-one interviews or anonymous staff feedback tools, gathering data and hearing directly from your employees can give you valuable insights into what they need from an engagement strategy, and help you identify your organisation's key engagement drivers, in order for staff to stay engaged at work.
3. Review - Analyze and plan
Once you have gathered data from your employees, it’s time to analyze this information and determine what action needs to be taken. You may find that certain areas of your workplace are in need of improvement, or perhaps a company-wide change is necessary to boost employee engagement.
Whatever the results of your employee research, it’s crucial to identify specific targets and actions that will make your plan a success. What’s working, what's not? Are there specific issues that need to be addressed? What are your engagement goals as a business leader?
Key goals for your employee engagement strategy could include:
- Lower staff absenteeism
- Better employee retention rates and lower turnover
- Improved productivity
- Enhanced employee motivation and happiness
- Increased customer satisfaction
- More positive organizational culture.
By reviewing and analyzing the data you have gathered, you can gain a clear understanding of how to better engage employees in order to achieve these goals. This will help you to build a more effective employee engagement strategy that your employees want to respond positively to.
4. Commit - Actions speak louder than words
Strategy is important, but actions always speak louder than words. Employee engagement strategies that work, only work if you plan to back them up with core actions, processes and real change.
Below, we have outlined some key ways to commit to your employee engagement strategy. By truly committing to all of these actions, you can bring your employee engagement strategy to life and start seeing real results.
Tools & technology
Digital tools are essential for any organization looking to boost engagement. By providing your employees with the right tools, you can make it easier for them to connect with each other and with your company. This can help to improve communication and collaboration within your team, leading to higher job satisfaction, and a more engaged workforce.
There are a variety of different digital tools that you can use to engage your employees, including great employee engagement apps, online chat software and team collaboration tools.
It’s also important to consider using technology with frontline-specific features in deskless organizations. With 52% of frontline workers claiming they would leave their job over tech tools, better digital commitments are clearly needed here. By providing your employees with tools fit-for-purpose on the frontline, you can ensure that your employees feel supported and engaged no matter where they are in the organization.
Assuming that you have already begun the process of gathering data and analyzing it, you should now begin to take actions across the board in order to improve employee engagement. One way to do this is through better recruitment practices.
People who match your ideals and company culture, who will add value, and who are onboarding engagement are more likely to be engaged employees. Therefore, it is important to take care in the recruitment process, and to ensure that you are hiring people who will be a good fit for your company. You can use interviews, personality tests and job simulations to get to know a candidate better, and to see how they would fit into your team.
It is also important to provide a thorough onboarding process for new hires in order to establish a culture of engagement from day one. This can help them to feel welcome and comfortable in their new role, and can help them to learn about your company policies and procedures.
Regular communication is key to keeping employees engaged. Employees need to feel like they are part of the bigger picture, and that their voice is heard. By establishing a regular communication schedule – whether it be through Secure Chats, email, newsletters, team meetings or other methods – you can ensure that your employees are kept in the loop.
It’s also important to have a clear internal communications strategy in place. This should outline who is responsible for communicating with whom, and what methods will be used. This will help to ensure that everyone is on the same page, and that important messages don’t get missed.
It’s important to tailor communications to the needs of your employees. For example, if most of your employees are frontline workers who don’t have access to a computer, you may need to adjust your communications methods so that they can be accessed on mobile devices – think mobile employee engagement apps. You may also need to consider using different methods for different departments or locations within your company.
Although surveys are important when drafting your strategy, it’s also important to gather feedback from your employees on a more regular basis if you want to walk the walk of employee engagement. By conducting regular Employee Surveys, you can get a sense of how your employees are feeling at any given time – and if things need to change.
An employee engagement survey can help you to gather valuable data and feedback from your employees, which you can use to improve your strategy. You may want to consider including questions about work-life balance, employee engagement initiatives, training and development, and other areas.
Frequent surveys are a great way to get ongoing feedback from your employees and to see how they feel about various aspects of their job or the company as a whole. You can also use surveys to measure the success of your employee engagement strategies, obtaining valuable insight into what is working and what needs to be changed or improved.
“Leadership has an important role to play when it comes to employee engagement, and this is especially important given nearly half (45%) of workers say leadership is “minimally” or “not at all” committed to improving company culture. In fact, 78% of employees confirmed that any change to culture needs to be driven by the CEO.” — Jeff Cates, CEO of Achievers.
For business leaders, mid-level management is often the first step towards employee engagement. By ensuring managers are supported from the top level, given the budget, training, tools and support they need, you can set them up for success as well as help to create a culture of engagement across your entire organization.
Effective managers have many important roles when it comes to employee engagement. They are responsible for setting expectations, holding people accountable, and providing feedback. They are also responsible for coaching and mentoring their team members, as well as helping to resolve any issues or conflicts that may arise.
5. Measure - Analyze and report
To measure the impact and see if their employee engagement activities and strategy is working, businesses should use employee engagement analytics via the right tools, at the right time.
It’s important to use analytics at different points throughout your engagement strategy, as this will help you to gain valuable insight and data that can be used to adjust what is working and improve the areas that need improvement. For example, you may want to analyze employee satisfaction levels before implementing a new training program, or track engagement levels over time to see if your initiatives are working.
There are many different types of analytics tools that you can use to analyze and report this data, for example Blink's Frontline Intelligence tool. Our powerful analytics offer insight into the people and relationships that make your organization tick.
By analyzing data from people, places, and things on a regular basis, you can gain real-time intelligence into your employee engagement strategy that you can use to better support and understand your workforce.
6. Reward - recognition & progression
When used effectively, recognition can be an extremely powerful tool for improving employee engagement. Employees need to feel appreciated for their efforts, and recognition is one of the best ways to show your most engaged employees that you appreciate them.
However, simply giving employees a pat on the back isn’t enough – recognition needs to be meaningful, memorable and measurable. By taking the time to recognize employees in a meaningful way, you can show them that you truly value their contributions, and make them want to engage and contribute more.
There are many different ways to recognize employees, and it’s important to find what works best for your organization. Some popular methods of recognition include offering Kudos or Employee Recognition, awards ceremonies, Feed shout-outs, gift cards or vouchers, and thank-you notes.
It's also crucial that you back up recognition with opportunities for growth and career development. This may include promotions, opportunities to learn new skills, a stronger compensation and benefits package, or simply more responsibility. By providing employees with opportunities for growth and progression within the organization, you are helping them feel valued and motivated to continue performing well.
7. Repeat - Regular check-ins and adjustments
To truly maximize the impact of your employee engagement strategy, it’s important to take a regular and systematic approach. This means that you should regularly check in on key metrics, analyze the data you gather, and make any necessary adjustments based on what you find.
Stay on top of your engagement. Track key metrics such as employee satisfaction and engagement levels, and conduct regular check-ins to analyze the data you gather. This will help you make any necessary adjustments to your strategy in a timely and effective manner, ensuring that your employees are engaged and motivated at all times.
At Blink, we provide the all-in-one solution to employee engagement. Designed for the frontline, our easy-to-access, intuitive employee engagement app delivers real-time data and communications, actionable insights and intelligent recommendations.
Inspiring engagement in your employees has never been easier. With our powerful analytics tools and customizable recognition programs, you can gain valuable insight into your workforce and take the steps needed to boost engagement levels across the board.
Whether you’re looking for a way to track employee performance, improve communication and feedback, or simply create a more positive work environment, Blink has everything you need.