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How To Keep Employees Engaged

By Erika Rahman
Illustration of a Carl the yeti laying in bed on his laptop with a cat sleeping next to him.

Employee engagement is a multifaceted consideration for any HR professional, and if you ask three different people what it is, you’ll likely get four different answers! But if you needed an explanation that could fit on a Post-It note, we’d say that it refers to the emotional connection and level of enthusiasm an employee has when thinking about their workplace.

It’s a crucial, but oft-overlooked part of businesses. Improving employee engagement has a direct effect on how a workplace functions, how an organization reaches their goals, and the overall productivity and satisfaction of employees.

But is your organization keeping employees engaged? And more importantly, how can you measure it?

image with text - Three levels of engagement: actively disengaged, not engaged, actively engaged.

Well, the general approach has been for HR departments to use an employee survey to glean information about job satisfaction, areas for improvement and whether or not employees feel valued. This can provide valuable insights into how engaged your employees actually are. Typically, they’ll fall under one of three main categories — actively disengaged, not engaged and actively engaged.

  • Actively disengaged

Employees who are actively disengaged are people who have negative feelings towards the organization and aren’t necessarily committed to going above and beyond their role. Actively disengaged employees will often impact their peers negatively with resentful comments about the organization, their work, or other employees. This can have a negative flow-on effect for other areas of the business, beyond their immediate role. And that sounds like a big ‘uh-oh’ to us.

  • Not engaged

A sort of “middle ground” when it comes to employee engagement. Broadly, it indicates employees who feel fairly neutral about the organization. Generally speaking, they will meet the status quo when it comes to their role but are fairly unmotivated to go beyond. These employees are often on the cusp of slipping into being actively disengaged, so positive reinforcement and encouragement are crucial to help them shift into actively engaged employees.

  • Actively engaged

Employees who are actively engaged are considered key players in the business. They’re essential in helping create a collaborative and positive working environment. These employees have a great outlook on their organization and are actively involved in working towards helping the company reach their goals. They’ll go above and beyond to help perform their tasks and more.

The importance of employee engagement

image with text - Bullet list: Productivity, employee retention, company culture, increased innovation, and business success.

The need to increase employee engagement can’t really be overstated, even in high-performing organizations. Improving employee engagement within the workplace can lead to a host of positive benefits for your organization, including:

  • Productivity

If employees have a high level of employee engagement, they will be more likely to go above and beyond to help their organization reach company goals. This increase in employee engagement can often have a positive flow-on effect on other employees, who may become inspired to make an increased effort when it comes to productivity within the workplace.

  • Employee Retention

Employee engagement has an effect on staff retention. If your employee engagement levels are high, you will have a highly engaged cohort that will allow you to invest in and retain great talent. If employee engagement levels are low, it’s more likely that employees will be looking for alternative employment and will move on from the organization.

  • Company culture

By improving employee engagement, your employees will positively affect the workplace company culture through their behaviours, interactions, and language.

  • Increased innovation

By keeping employees engaged, you’ll notice an uptick in positive behaviours around the workplace. If you have actively engaged employees, they will be most likely to seek out areas of improvement and innovation for the company’s greater good. This could lead to new brand product ideas, new culture initiatives or voluntary mentorship opportunities.

  • Business success

It’s no surprise that companies with a higher employee engagement rate enjoy more success. An engaged employee cohort is much more likely to perform more productively. In turn, this leads to a greater commitment to achieving organizational goals.

How to improve employee engagement

Some of the big factors causing employees to feel disengaged include a lack of career development opportunities, unsatisfactory pay, organizational stress or poor management. So improving employee engagement is rarely an overnight process; it often involves a serious cultural change. However, if you’re wondering where to start with how to improve employee engagement within your organization, there are a number of strategies that can be implemented to avoid problems for the business.

Whether you’re dealing with completely actively disengaged employees or employees who are simply not engaged, there are ways you can offer support and guidance in order to improve their day-to-day interest in the role.

Actively disengaged

Actively disengaged employees can be challenging as they’re often hostile to management or overly critical of day-to-day initiatives. Although in some cases disciplinary measures or termination may need to be considered, trying some of the strategies below can be an effective way to bring them back to being actively engaged with the business.

  • Goal-setting

It’s a simple but often effective approach to help bring back employees from the brink. By introducing a more defined structure and demonstrating how an employee’s day-to-day tasks tie into long-term goals, you can work together to outline a more meaningful role for the disengaged employee. You can work together to develop meaningful goals that not only benefit the employee but also advance the company’s mission.

  • Recognition

Sometimes, the best way to encourage an employee is often the simplest. It might not seem like a lot — but offering a “thank you” or specific praise can do wonders in helping people feel appreciated and respected for their work.

  • Inclusion

Employees who are actively disengaged often feel disconnected from the wider business and the company goals. Help them to feel like an active participant by sharing organizational strategies and asking for their input.

  • Flexibility

Often actively disengaged employees will feel dissatisfied with their work arrangements so offer them the opportunity to partake in flexible work setups including working from home once a week or alternative hours.

Not engaged

Employees who aren’t engaged feel this way for a variety of reasons. They may be sliding towards being actively disengaged, or they may just feel like they’re not quite in the loop of what the organization is doing and don’t see where they fit in. Managing them appropriately can turn them into some of your organization’s biggest assets.

  • Feedback

Employees who are considered disengaged often need a little bit of attention to help re-engage within the organization. Make sure to set regular 1-on-1 meetings to offer feedback and check-in with how they are feeling.

  • Contribution

To help disengaged employees become more active participants, highlight their areas of strength and encourage them to apply that to areas of the business through contribution and innovative ideas.

  • Reward accomplishments

One of the best ways to make employees feel appreciated is to offer rewards for their hard work and accomplishments. Offer meaningful praise and prioritize this kind of recognition on an ongoing basis.

  • Collaboration

Encourage disengaged employees to collaborate on exciting projects with actively engaged employees to help them feel included in the bigger picture. Working together, they will get a sense of what it feels like to be a part of a positive movement.

Let Motivosity bring employee engagement to your workplace

If you’re looking to increase employee engagement within your organization, then Motivosity can help you develop a highly engaged workplace. Our innovative employee engagement software will help your employees feel appreciated for their hard work by focusing on three core areas — community, recognition, and management. We can help you to learn how to keep employees engaged by putting an emphasis on connection, recognition, listening and leadership.

To learn more about our products and how you can build a more engaged workforce through encouragement, recognition, rewards and positive reinforcement, get in touch with someone from the Motivosity team today — call on (801) 758-7188 or head online to read about our pricing and additional resources.