12 Employee Engagement Strategies That Actually Work

Organizations that have a common understanding of where they've been, where they're going and how they'll get there have a strategic advantage over those that don't. When it comes to a uplifting workplace, employees who feel like they belong are more likely to be engaged. But when work is hectic, an uninspiring workplace can lead to stressed out, checked out employees. 

How can a company combat disengagement? We've got 12 ideas for you.

"Actively disengaged employees cost the U.S. $483 billion each year in lost productivity - a conservative average of about $3,785 per worker in the U.S."

The Joy of Giving

From Giving Tuesday to popular programs like Toys for Tots, there are hundreds of ways to flex your company's charitable muscles and make your employees feel good about it. And the bonus is, giving as a team effort will not only improve the world, it will also bring your team together in pursuit of this higher goal.

  • Create an epic charity bracket - Ask for charity recommendations from employees and narrow the selections down to those that fit your company brand. Enter those on a March-Madness-like bracket and get employees to advance their favorites in each head-to-head contest.
  • Divide and conquer in the name of collecting food or clothes - It might sound counterproductive, but an old-fashioned competition among team members is a great way to drive employee engagement. Added bonus: Employees who aren't traditionally in leadership roles can let their skills shine here.
  • Take a hands-on approach - Financial donations are needed and effective, but there's something about getting your hands dirty that makes you feel you truly contributed. Lots of local charities have group events, from building homes with Habitat for Humanity to packing duffel bags for foster kids on the job site with Together We Rise.
  • Tip - Be aware of your employees' income restraints when making goals and creating pressure to give.

70 percent of employees say they'd be more loyal to a company that contributes to social issues.

Regular HR Stuff Can Engage & Delight

A whole host of regularly scheduled HR to-dos can get a boost that promotes employee engagement.

  • Annual reviews with a personal touch - Hopefully your company has adopted an ongoing progress review, but if not, now is a good time to make the move. Managers should be checking in frequently, talking less and listening more, and keeping track of the conversations through a performance-management system.
  • Next-level wellness program kick-offs - If your company is launching a wellness program, get input from your team members and kick it off early with a marketing campaign. Looking for something new? Onsite stress management programs are an up-and-coming trend, with 12 percent of companies offering them in 2018, compared to just 3 percent in 2013 (SHRM).
  • Increased work-life balance: Not all workers want the same days off, and giving them some flexibility during holidays is a great way to show you appreciate them individually. Remote working, flextime and floating holidays are highly valued; you should also track who's worked which holidays over the years, make shift-trading easy and consider incentivizing your workers to come in on low-attendance days.

Get Down with Office Get Togethers

Office parties get a bad reputation, but it doesn't have to be that way. Get togethers are just an extension of employer best practice: Enjoy your team and celebrate your hard work.

  • Invite significant others and children (and pets, if that fits your company brand) - Unfamiliar faces will unofficially set the party tone to a more appropriate level.
  • Get creative about location - Take the "office party" vibe out of the equation by hosting the get together at a bowling alley, skate rink, sporting event or other interactive location.
  • Make planning a team event - Get broad input, share planning responsibility and don't rope the lower-level employees into doing all the work the night of.
  • Alcohol + plenty of food - Most Americans like to have a drink, so cutting alcohol from the get together isn't likely to win you any employee engagement points. However, in the wake of #MeToo, overindulging in alcohol won't do your employees or company culture any favors. Be sure to serve alcohol with plenty of food and nonalcoholic options.
  • Encourage ride-shares, and pay for them, if possible - A heated end-of-night discussion about whether so-and-so should drive is not ideal. Management should make it clear beforehand that no one drives home who's had too much to drink. This is about safety, but it's also true the company could be held liable if the worst happens.

Make sure your company is heading in the right direction with a smart recruitment-to-retirement HR solution like the BirdDogHR talent management system. 

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