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Employee Engagement Best Practices for Company Success

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When companies focus on improving employee engagement, they unlock a whole host of benefits. Follow these leadership best practices to improve employee engagement! 

An organization is only as strong as its employees — that’s why ActivTrak is committed to helping employees work wiser. Your organization needs employees who are engaged, passionate, and actively in pursuit of the company’s success as well as their own career development and personal improvement. Keeping engagement levels high is essential, but creating a thriving company culture and positive employee experiences that promote engagement can be a challenge. Where do you start?

In this article, we will explore what employee engagement means for both employees and enterprises. We’ll differentiate engaged employees from disengaged employees, cover the elements that comprise employee engagement, and discuss key employee engagement drivers. Also, you’ll come away with a list of ActivTrak-approved employee engagement best practices that will help you develop a reliable, continuous employee engagement strategy fueled by data-driven insights.

Choose where to start: 

Employee Engagement Overview

Employee engagement is defined as an employee’s emotional commitment to their work, their colleagues, and their company. When employees are engaged, they are more invested in the company and motivated to succeed. This positively impacts employee performance and productivity, plus team-wide camaraderie and success. There are three foundational elements to employee engagement, known as the Three C’s:

1. Career

Receiving genuine career support from management is critical to keeping employees engaged. When employees know they can build and develop a career with their organization, they’re more willing to contribute to their organization and take pride in their work. Career-driven engagement incentives could include taking on challenging assignments, being responsible for significant operations, and getting promotions or job rotations.

2. Competence

In order to foster engagement, employees must also be able to personally grow and develop in their industry. Giving employees the opportunity to develop marketable skills and gain more experiences will help them advance to the next level of their careers. Allowing employees to practice these skills, having adequate coaching, and applying new knowledge on the job will further support employee engagement.

3. Care

When employees feel indispensable and valued for their unique qualities, they will feel more engaged. Managers who are empathetic, sensitive towards crises, and implement small, everyday initiatives that show staff members they care inspire loyalty among an engaged workforce. When employees feel like they are truly an important part of the company, they will feel appreciated and get involved more willingly as a result.

The Three C’s — encouraging career development, increasing knowledge and competence, and demonstrating true care — are core employee engagement best practices that will help you foster employee engagement throughout your organization.

How to Tell When Employees are Engaged vs. Disengaged

Before you implement an employee engagement program, it’s important to get a sense of the current employee engagement levels in your company. There are many techniques and tools used to measure engagement, but disengaged and engaged employees can be quickly identified by keeping an eye out for certain habits, behaviors, and outlooks.

Engaged employees work passionately and have a strong work ethic, completing their tasks to the best of their ability. They face challenges head-on and see opportunities instead of obstacles. Engaged employees also think creatively and drive innovation, which helps move the company forward. Other common signs of engaged employees include:

  • Feeling a deep sense of connection to the company
  • Actively pursuing personal and company-wide growth, development, and success
  • Willingly communicating with team leads and fellow team members, building rapport with coworkers, and seeking or offering support
  • Motivating others to be engaged and setting a positive example

Disengaged employees, on the other hand, are “checked out.” They don’t actively contribute to the organization, nor do they go the extra mile and achieve personal or company-wide goals. Disengaged employees may also:

  • Shirk responsibilities
  • Avoid communication with management and coworkers
  • Demonstrate excessive lateness or absenteeism
  • Show outward negativity through pessimistic comments, obvious disinterest, or distress

It’s in everyone’s best interest, no matter who’s engaged and who isn’t, to take employee engagement seriously and prioritize the employee experience.

Employee Engagement and Job Satisfaction

Employee engagement does not necessarily equal job satisfaction. While engagement is the demonstration of an individual’s commitment to their company, employee satisfaction addresses how fulfilling one’s job is. Employee satisfaction is an employee’s emotional, analytical, and personal assessment of their role in an organization, and how these experiences align with their expectations. Elements of job satisfaction include:

  • Compensation and benefits
  • Job security and confidence
  • Employee recognition and support
  • Work-life balance and flexibility
  • Opportunities for cognitive engagement

Think of employee satisfaction as a one-way street for employees — “Are my needs being met by my position?” Meanwhile, employee engagement is a two-way street — “Am I benefitting from the company, and do I benefit the company as well?”

While employee engagement is not the same as employee job satisfaction, there is a relationship between the two. Employees can be satisfied with their jobs without feeling invested in their company or going the extra mile, but it’s unlikely that an employee can feel engaged without having some amount of job satisfaction. An organization needs both employee engagement and job satisfaction to gain true productivity culture and team-wide success.

Employee Engagement and Retention

Employee retention refers to an organization’s ability to keep employees and greatly impacts a company’s culture and overall engagement. Not only does high employee turnover contribute to unstable work environments, but low retention rates are often a sign of mass employee disengagement.

Like employee satisfaction, it’s possible for companies to have high employee retention and low engagement. For employees, working at an organization where they have job security is certainly a perk, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re excited about the company’s mission or inspired by their work. Nothing is pushing them out the door, but nothing is encouraging them to go above and beyond either.

Having poor employee retention can negatively impact employee engagement as well. If your employees see themselves as temporary workers instead of valued mainstays of your organization, their engagement and morale can suffer. By implementing employee engagement best practices and fostering healthy company culture, managers can boost retention by making their organization somewhere employees want to stay.

Elements of Employee Engagement

There are eight core elements of fostering employee engagement within your organization:

1. Clear work expectations

Ensuring everyone knows what is and isn’t expected of them can help boost employee engagement. When roles and responsibilities are well defined, employees can confidently contribute and direct their attention in the right direction. This reduces confusion and streamlines daily workflows, helps employees accomplish their goals, and leverages everyone’s job competencies to help push projects forward.

2. Proper equipment

In order for employees to be engaged, they must be able to do their jobs effectively. Having the right materials, equipment, and support is essential for employee engagement, especially when it comes to remote work or hybrid work environments. Easy access to work stack tools like Zoom or password managers and straightforward onboarding processes set employees up for success. On the other side, poorly optimized tech stacks can have a negative effect on employee engagement.

3. Opportunity for growth

Many employees leave their positions due to a lack of challenging, interesting work. To boost employee engagement, managers should encourage employees to work on initiatives that inspire them and lend their support if an employee wants to switch roles or explore a different way they can contribute to the company.

4. Recognition programs and praise from supervisors

Everyone deserves a pat on the back for a job well done! Giving consistent, constructive praise and recognition to employees makes them feel supported and important. These acts of appreciation encourage employees to work hard, increasing employee engagement and job satisfaction.

5. Professional development and career progression

When employees are given opportunities to act on newly-developed skills and capabilities, they feel engaged in their roles and invested in the company. This works best when team leaders take time to learn how employees would like to progress their careers and work with them to make their goals happen.

6. A sense of purpose

Your company’s mission, goals, and trajectory must make employees feel that they are a part of something bigger. Organization-wide goals and practices should directly tie back to company values, and employees should be directly involved in these mission-driven initiatives.

7. Cultivation of quality work

Employees who receive helpful and honest feedback are encouraged to improve and feel better about their work in the long run. Regular employee feedback also demonstrates a company-wide commitment to quality output and continuous improvement.

8. Work friends

Work friendships help employees feel connected to the organization, contributing to a friendly and inclusive company culture. If your employees are encouraged to make friends and connect with their teammates both inside and outside of work, you make your work environment a warm and welcoming place to be. A sense of belonging is key to keeping engagement levels high and boosting retention.

Driving Employee Engagement

Prioritizing employee engagement is a win-win-win for every member of your organization. Driving employee engagement will benefit your employees, management, and your entire company.

Employee engagement Drivers for Management

Creating an employee engagement strategy helps managers foster a company culture where productivity can thrive. Engaged employees are self-sustaining, pushing themselves to work hard and improve their performance. This results in higher quality work with less intervention necessary from management.

Engaged employees also feel more comfortable communicating with management and asking for what they need. Instead of taking guesses, you can act on information coming directly from your employees to help them achieve their goals.

Employee engagement Drivers for Company Culture

Encouraging everyone to do their best work — and creating a work environment where they can do just that — is at the heart of employee engagement. Employees who care deeply about their companies are productive, satisfied, and collaborative team players. These factors positively contribute to an organization’s profitability, longevity, and positive company culture.

Employee engagement can also improve the loyalty of your employees. When employees feel invested in the people around them as well as the company they work for, they will be less likely to leave — and more likely to convince others to stay!

Developing Employee Engagement Initiatives

Team leaders are responsible for helping employees become engaged and stay engaged. However, developing an employee engagement strategy, implementing engagement initiatives and best practices, and sustaining these changes over time can be a challenge for any enterprise. If your company is currently working on an employee engagement action plan, following these employee engagement best practices can help you develop engagement efforts that last.

  • Create company objectives that help employees find their passions and become fully engaged.
  • Assign meaningful work so employees can develop and showcase special skills, grow within the company, and feel personally motivated to succeed.
  • Cultivate diversity within the workplace to demonstrate your company’s commitment to equity inclusivity for all employees.
  • Build on employee strengths and give everyone the chance to progress and climb the corporate ladder. This boosts engagement and gives employees the confidence to share opinions, feedback, and ideas.
  • Adapt to employee expectations and desires and keep employees engaged, satisfied, and loyal to your company.
  • Provide regular feedback so employees can continue what they do well and work on what needs improvement. Ensure feedback goes both ways — to and from management and team leads — to foster a company culture of continuous improvement.

Make Engagement an Ongoing Process

To create a strategy for boosting employee engagement, your employee engagement initiatives should follow the employee engagement best practices above. However, remember that boosting employee engagement is not a one-and-done project! The most important aspect of any employee engagement strategy is encouraging continuous improvement through ongoing engagement initiatives.

Workforce analytics can help you foster consistent, persistent employee engagement! Managers can use workforce analytics to establish employee engagement benchmarks and baselines across multiple teams. This helps team leaders understand individual employee engagement levels in comparison to their colleagues so they can then continuously assess employee engagement, and gain an ongoing sense of their team-wide performance. This helps everyone — managers and employees alike — hold ongoing team discussions about boosting engagement and make interventions whenever they’re needed.

Measuring Employee Engagement

In addition to implementing employee engagement best practices, you need an accurate way of measuring employee engagement to drive change. Employee surveys alone are too subjective, exit interviews don’t offer insights you can use at the moment, and check-ins can be too sporadic. By relying on concrete engagement data gained through workforce analytics, managers and employees can measure employee engagement accurately and use data to power an open and collaborative approach to improving employee engagement.

Leverage Quantifiable Data to Assess Engagement

To effectively and accurately measure employee engagement, you need access to metrics and quantifiable data. With real data at your fingertips, managers can more precisely analyze measures of employee engagement over time and gain insight into individual and team levels of employee engagement — no need to rely on subjective self-reports or non-specific questions on employee engagement surveys!

ActivTrak’s employee engagement solution provides everything you need right at your fingertips. We focus on coaching, not criticism and insight, not oversight to give managers the data they need to help employees stay engaged. Start by using ActivTrak’s benchmarks and goals feature to establish a baseline from which to grow and measure progress. If you notice that certain teams aren’t meeting their goals and engagement is declining, you use workload balance reports to track utilization levels and workload trends, make data-driven resourcing decisions, and prevent employee burnout. Technology usage reports enable you to identify poorly optimized technology that could be getting in the way of productive work.

Our employee engagement solution also helps managers and employees take an open and collaborative approach to improvement. The virtual productivity coach uncovers key insights managers can use to drive conversations with their employees and deliver targeted support, and you can see how well they’re working with weekly progress reports. Employees are encouraged to take an active role in improving their employee experience with our personal productivity feature. Here, employees can view their own data and compare their productivity metrics to their benchmarks, learn more about how they work, and pinpoint opportunities for improvement.

A Holistic View of Engagement with ActivTrak

The ActivTrak platform is also designed to help you see the bigger picture and take a holistic approach to employee engagement strategy. You can view ActivTrak’s data alongside data from other applications like Culture Amp or Lattice via integrations to perform a deeper analysis of the factors impacting engagement and employee experience. Also, our quantitative data adds much-needed precision and dimension to qualitative measures gained from employee engagement surveys. With the help of our dynamic platform, you can tackle employee engagement from every angle.

Boosting Employee Engagement with ActivTrak

Engaged employees who work passionately, communicate willingly with colleagues, and motivate others to do their best are essential to any organization’s success. There are many ways to foster employee engagement within your organization, but it all starts with the right tools.

Employees need the right technology, guidance, and career opportunities in order to become engaged and stay engaged in the workplace. Once that happens, every element of your business — managers, employees, and the entire company culture — will experience an increase in employee engagement.

With data-driven workforce analytics platforms like ActivTrak, managers and employees can gain concrete insights into engagement levels and boost employee engagement, together. ActivTrak allows everyone to understand their individual engagement levels, as well as team-wide engagement trends and patterns. This helps everyone work together to work wiser!

Pro Tips:

  1. Be transparent with employees and look at data-driven engagement insights together.
  2. Start open and productive conversations about employee engagement, and encourage your employees to do the same.
  3. Follow employee engagement best practices — including the Three C’s — to foster continuous engagement in your organization.

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