employee engagement

The Ultimate Employee Engagement Guide for 2021 (Complete Explanation)

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Don’t you just love happy, productive, and unstressed employees? That’s why you need to stop looking elsewhere (right now!) and read this amazing Employee Engagement guide that we feel is just the right thing you should get started with!

Hello Friends! 👋

What do you call an employee that is married to their organization? 

Most of you would answer, “an engaged employee.” But seriously. Engaging an employee is no joke.

We know you’ve been going through numerous articles looking for the one thing that can elevate the employee experience in your company.

That’s why we created this Essential Employee Engagement Guide for managers to provide the knowledge you need to build engaged and successful teams.

Download Free eBook: Supercharge Your Workplace With These 25 Employee Engagement Ideas and Activities

Have you ever searched for the term “employee engagement?” 

Employee engagement is a topic on HR and people managers’ minds, and its popularity has grown immensely over the past five years. Take a look at the number of Google searches around the topic! 👇

employee engagement google trends

Awesome!

“Tell me more about it” – we hear you asked. 🦻

🔎 Here’s an overview of the topics we’re covering in this guide: Click to Tweet

Want a PDF of this guide for free? We’ll email you a copy. Download the guide now!

Chapter 1: What Is Employee Engagement?

What comes to your mind when you hear the term Employee Engagement?

Busy employees. Or

High performing employees. Or

Happy employees. Or

Providing a handsome salary package to employees.

These are some of the things that you can imagine, right?

Ken Oehler, Aon’s Global Culture & Engagement Practice Leader, stated that:

“The concept of employee engagement is sometimes confused with happiness, but it’s really about an employee’s psychological investment in their organization and motivation to produce extraordinary results.”

Many people have different definitions of employee engagement. But in simple words, it’s an emotional commitment employees have to their job, their team’s goals, and their company’s mission.

Engagement is not a matter of how the employee’s like their workplace, but how they are acting in the workplace.

And remember, only an engaged workforce can generate valuable business results for an organization. See the link between employer practices and employee performance:

employer practice and employee performance connection

Let’s dive into employee engagement factors: 🏊

employee engagement factors

Chapter 2: The Emotional Side of Employee Engagement

“When people are financially invested, they want a return. When people are emotionally invested, they want to contribute.” – Simon Sinek.

Employee engagement is all about emotional connection. Click to Tweet

Humans like to say they make rational decisions, but in reality, they are driven by emotions. 🙋

Strategies for keeping employees engaged have in the past focused on rewards such as pay increases, bonuses, or flexible working hours. But it’s the feeling-based relationships that have the greatest influence, causing engaged employees to work effectively, stay with the company, and act as ambassadors for their organization.

They don’t just work for the company; they are part of the company, and the company is an important part of how employees define themselves.

Studies show that feeling inspired, valued, confident, and empowered are the key emotions that lead to engagement.

Employees personalize their work through emotions felt about the company’s actions as a whole and about their managers in particular.

Employees who emotionally connect in a positive way with a company feel a sense of ownership and are more likely to stay with it, delivering superior work in less time and reducing turnover costs.

The Role of Managers

Managers play a vital role in increasing the employee engagement level in their workplace.

Good managers fill the role that HR can’t. Managers build personalized relationships with their team members and empower and motivate their people where they are. 

Engagement is a management issue.

(Manage)ment = (Engage)ment 😀

The first step is understanding what your employees actually want. (Hint: It’s not day-offs  even though we love surprise day-offs) 😉

Here are three things employees want from their managers:

role of managers

1. Growth and development opportunities: Prioritizing employee development can significantly impact engagement no matter what your team looks like.

2. Recognition and appreciation: Managers have personal relationships with their employees, so recognition from their immediate supervisors is often more meaningful and authentic.

3. Communication and Feedback: Regular one-on-one meetings are crucial for making personal, authentic connections with employees. It gives managers valuable insight into what motivates (or demotivates) their people.

Want a PDF of this guide for free? We’ll email you a copy. Download the guide now!

Chapter 3: Employee Engagement Myths

Here are some employee engagement myths: Click to Tweet

Myth #1: Serious employees are engaged employees

Performing the job and regularity at work is not the parameter to determine employee engagement. They are doing their job but not committed to the company. They can be just as disengaged as any other employee. 

An engaged employee considers the company’s goals as their own. And they are motivated to learn better, effective, and efficient ways to contribute to the organization.

Myth #2: Employee engagement requires a big investment!

Most startups think that employee engagement programs or practices need a lot of investment. But it’s not true! You don’t have to break your bank to do it. 

The companies can improve engagement by paying more attention to their employees. And it doesn’t involve spending large sums of money. Many of the employee engagement tools are available free of cost (or minimal cost). All you need to do is get started!

Check out some Great Low-Cost Employee Incentives Ideas that won’t break your bank

Myth #3: Employee engagement is the HR manager’s job

In fact, it is a collective responsibility. From the top level to the very bottom, employee engagement requires the participation of all the people involved in the equation. 

While the HR managers may take it upon themselves to make engagement initiatives a priority, it is the team effort that will bear fruit. HR managers can encourage teams to suggest ideas to improve engagement within the organization and implement the best ones.

Myth #4: Happy employees are engaged employees

All engaged employees are happy employees, but not all happy employees are engaged employees. “Employee engagement does not mean employee happiness.”

It doesn’t mean that happiness is not part of employee engagement—in fact, happiness is an integral element of the engagement ecosystem.

Building a happy workplace is vital. But, don’t rest your hopes of an efficient and engaged workforce on a happy one alone.

Myth #5: Employee engagement nothing, just a buzzword!

Despite stunning statistics and data to back it up, employee engagement is still considered as “just another trend.” It’s a widely misunderstood concept in the corporate world.

If there is one thing that can be guaranteed, it is that employee engagement is real, effective, and will see growth in the future.

Chapter 4: Why Is Employee Engagement Important (5 Prime Benefits)

Engaged and committed employees are more productive, motivated, and success-driven. According to research carried out by the University of Cambridge, engaged employees are 43 percent more productive than others.

Employees who are engaged are 27% More likely to report EXCELLENT performance. (Source: Gallup)

Here are some benefits to make you understand the importance of Employee Engagement: Click to Tweet

Let’s not talk about the negative impacts of disengaged employees. We’ll cover the benefits your company can enjoy from high employee engagement levels.

importance of employee engagement

High Productivity

According to a Gallup study, engaged workers are 21% more productive than disengaged workers! 

There’s no doubt that an engaged employee works hard and scales the extra mile to fulfill their job. When an employee is disengaged with their work, getting the tasks done feels like a drag. Doesn’t it?

Higher Retention

According to a study, 81 percent of employees would consider leaving their jobs for the right offer, even if they wouldn’t be looking for a job at the moment.

As we said above, we humans are emotional creatures, and we strive toward a sense of purpose and self-actualization. If we can’t utilize our strengths or don’t enjoy their work – we’re more likely to leave the current company.

On the other hand, if we feel appreciated, we don’t have a reason to look elsewhere for work.

Learn more: Top 13 Successful Employee Retention Strategies For 2021

Enhanced Customer Experience

The good news for your business: Engaged employees care deeply about their jobs and the customers. And they treat customers well, which led to a positive customer experience. 🤩

Yes, employee engagement and customer experience go hand-in-hand. Engaged and happy employees are the friendly face of your organization.

“Always treat your employees exactly as you want them to treat your best customers.” – Stephen Covey

Higher Profits

What company doesn’t want little extra profits in their pockets? According to Gallup’s meta-analysis, Companies with a highly engaged workforce are 21% more profitable.

Employees’ productivity and efficiency help you to increase your profitability. And don’t forget to reinvest this profit in employee engagement activities and tools. 😉

Lower Absenteeism

Engaged employees are committed to their job and care about the success of their team. Engaged employees take the occasional day off. Highly engaged workplaces saw 41% lower absenteeism. 

Absenteeism can delay projects, damage customer satisfaction, affect performance and workplace relationships.

Next step?

In our next section, we’ll cover the strategies (backed by data) that will help your company increase employee engagement.

Take it from Campbell’s Soup CEO Doug Conant: 

“To win in the marketplace…you must first win in the workplace. I’m obsessed with keeping employee engagement front and center.”

Want a PDF of this guide for free? We’ll email you a copy. Download the guide now!

Chapter 5: 10 Ways to Improve Employee Engagement (Backed by Data)

This is the most important section. Here, we’ll see what actions you need to take. 🚀

Wondering how to increase employee engagement? Here are ten successful employee engagement strategies, based on studies and researches: Click to Tweet

1. Thoughtful Onboarding

employee onboarding process

This research found that companies with great onboarding processes boost new hire retention by 82% and employee productivity by 70%.

An employee onboarding process is a great way to build trust with new hires and prove to them that the company culture you’ve promised them is real.

Let’s take a minute and think about your own onboarding experience  – Does it stand out and excite new employees?

Your onboarding process must convince them that they’ve made the right decision. Here are some best practices that you can follow:

  • Show them around the office, take the time to introduce them to everyone, and plan something exciting.
  • Conduct an icebreaker activity while introducing them to the team.
  • Give your employees cool welcome gifts.
  • Have a buddy system for new hires.
  • Create a smooth transition from onboarding to regular work cadence.

Need more guidance? Read our resources:

How to Make Your New Employees First Week Great!

The Ultimate Checklist for Remote Employees Onboarding

2. Employee Communication

employee communication

Employee communication is a building block for creating a holistic work environment. It encourages teamwork and collaboration in your company.

One thing to keep in mind, communication is a two-way road, you must be willing to listen to them. Try to keep communication simple and jargon-free. 

“High performing companies are TWICE as likely to keep communications simple & jargon-free.”  – IABC Report

For instance, HubSpot co-founder, Dharmesh Shah, introduced a program called “Ask Dharmesh Anything” where hub-spotters can directly interact with him.

Want to learn more? Read this article to learn more about internal communication culture.

3. Recognize Efforts and Contributions

recognize and appreciate employees

“78% of employees are highly engaged when they feel strong recognition from their organizations.” – O.C. Tanner

When you recognize employees for their efforts, they feel appreciated and motivated to work harder the next time. When employees feel appreciated, they stay. They become loyal to the company.

Recognition doesn’t always have to come from the top. Also, encourage peer-to-peer recognition in your organization – it’s more effective and personalized than “Manager to Employee Recognition” because peers have more interpersonal contact than their manager.

Read this complete guide: Peer to Peer Recognition at the Workplace

Don’t forget to celebrate employees’ birthdays, work anniversaries, and milestones. It’s a great way to showcase your gratitude to them. 🎉

Read this guide on how to celebrate employees’ work anniversaries and milestones.

You can also consider a recognition and reward platform, EngageWith, that empowers teams to enrich company culture, integrated with platforms like Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Google Chat.

Looking for more recognition and appreciation ideas? Here are 20 creative ideas.

4. Start by Coaching Leadership

train managers

What do you need to understand, influence, and engage your people? 

You need leaders. Good leaders!

“Employees who are supervised by Highly Engaged managers are 59% more likely to be engaged than those supervised by Actively Disengaged managers.”Gallup’s Report

Managers are the middleman between higher management and employees. Leaders need to have team-building skills and the ability to motivate. Sustaining motivation is hard. Train your managers and keep them accountable. 

“Everyone talks about building a relationship with your customer. I think you build one with your employees first.” – Angela Ahrendts, Senior vice president, Apple

5. Prioritize Employee Wellness

employee wellness

“Actively Disengaged employees are 2.6x more likely to often feel anxious at work compared to Highly Engaged employees.”Bonusly

You can not separate wellness from work life. As an employer, it’s your moral responsibility to promote wellness in the workplace.

By wellness, we mean both physical and mental fitness. And when your employees are working remotely, it’s not easy to take care of their health.

When it comes to physical wellness, ask these questions:

  • Are your employees taking enough sleep?
  • Are they eating healthy?
  • Are they doing exercise or walking daily?

Read this guide to learn how you can take care of employees’ physical health.

And how can you support their mental wellness?

  • Conduct mental health training and sessions.
  • Offer flexible working hours.
  • Conduct fun team building activities.

Use tools like Trivia, you can play virtual fun games and quizzes daily. These activities are quick and make your employees feel relaxed.

How to support the mental health of your employees.

6. Encourage Personal and Professional Development

encourage professional development

“76 percent of employees are looking for career growth opportunities.”ClearCompany

Invest in employees’ professional development by helping them with the necessary resources. 

You could provide them with free access to a professional course to help them do their job better. Alternatively, you can also organize workshops and seminars to help them stay aware of the industry’s latest technologies and trends. 

You can also encourage passion projects. Give them the time and opportunity they need to pursue their passion projects.

The Big Guide of 150 One-on-One Meeting Questions

7. Define Responsibilities

define roles

The simple (but powerful) equation:

Well-defined responsibilities = Clear goals

For employees to be interested, they need to know the company’s goals and how their roles support it. They need to understand why their job exists.

“Companies having a thriving culture experience a revenue boost of 4X.” – Smarp

You can create a detailed job description manual which includes: 

  • A detailed description of the roles and responsibilities the employees need to undertake.  
  • The tools and educational resources they require.
  • The skills and professional experience they require for the role.

8. Ask for Feedback

Ask for feedback

“59% of employees reported feeling engaged at work when they’re being asked for feedback.”Qualtrics

Employees crave for feedback. True!

But they also want you to listen to their suggestions, issues, and ideas. Remember that your employees are the backbone of your organization, which is why you must encourage them to share their feedback. Build an open-door culture that fosters effective feedback.

A company that doesn’t listen to its people is one that’s likely to produce disengaged workers.

Check out some amazing employee engagement ideas here.

9. Measure Employee Engagement

measure employee engagement

“52% of senior managers think surveys provide a very accurate assessment of reality.”

You have used all the best practices to improve employee engagement at your workplace, great! But how would you know that it’s working?

You must collect data to understand your efforts, what areas need to improve the most, and have a benchmark for future practices.

But how can you do it?

A pulse survey is the best way to understand how your employees are feeling and coping. Your survey can focus on different aspects, such as communication, happiness, motivation, relationships, growth, employee satisfaction, and engagement. The survey results will help you to act quickly and make better decisions.

Read this complete guide to learn more about employees’ pulse surveys.

10. Create An Action Plan for Feedback

create an action plan

Simply listening without action leads to employee disengagement. A study found that nearly a third of all employees become disengaged when employers ask for feedback but do nothing about it.

After collecting data, analyze it and act accordingly. Why would your employees take the time to respond to surveys if they didn’t notice any real changes? 

And if the data is not confidential, it’s a great idea to share the results with the organization and your audience.

Follow this three-step process every time you do a survey.

  • Thank the respondents.
  • Acknowledge the feedback and show that you recognize its value.
  • Ask employees for a solution.

Hope you’ll find these employee engagement best practices helpful. Let’s move on to the next section.

Want a PDF of this guide for free? We’ll email you a copy. Download the guide now!

Chapter 6: A List of Employee Engagement Tools and Resources

employee engagement tools

Employee engagement doesn’t need to be a manual process – there are some fantastic tools out there that will help you to achieve your employee engagement goals.

Learn more: Check out some amazing employee engagement tools here.

Let’s access a list of employee engagement tools and solutions: Click to Tweet

Communication

Communication tools allow teams to interact, collaborate, share knowledge, and provide transparency. Here are some awesome team communication tools:

Slack: Unlike email, conversations in Slack are easy to follow, and they’re more than conversations.

MS Teams: MS Teams provides a unique digital platform for team communication and management in the ever-crowded market of messaging apps.

Google Chat: Google Chat is an intelligent and secure communications tool built for teams. From direct messages to group chats.

By the way, these communication tools integrate with our employee engagement tools Trivia and EngageWith. Two birds, one stone. 😉

Feedback and Surveys

Surveys will provide the insights you need to build a great company culture and measure your employee engagement. Here are some excellent tools:

SurveyMonkey: SurveyMonkey helps you to learn what’s working and what’s not directly from your employees.

TypeForm: Use Typeform’s free templates and survey questions to discover what your team really wants.

TINYpulse: TINYpulse is a feedback-based tool that encourages the whole team to provide input and build a happier team.

CultureAmp: Culture Amp’s library of survey templates allows for feedback throughout the employee experience, so you see the whole picture.

Wellness

Trivia: Trivia is the new way to connect with your remote team while playing exciting quizzes and remote games.

Headspace: Headspace is an amazing meditation app to support stress management and focus.

Recognition and Appreciation

This is the point we were waiting for! Our platform, EngageWith, is an employee recognition and rewards tool. 😜👋

Employees can appreciate and recognize peers, juniors, or managers by giving them Kudos or Shout outs for a job well done. It builds stronger working relationships and a greater sense of belonging.

It can also be used to celebrate and reward/gift employees on their birthdays and milestones like work anniversaries. Try EngageWith with your team to create a recognition-rich culture. Try our free demo. 🎉

Learn More: Tools to Build Team Culture and Increase Engagement

Chapter 7: See Employee Engagement In Action!

Implementing a successful employee engagement program is a great first step in building an engaging, people-first company culture. 

There was a BIG challenge in front of us: How to manage and keep teams engaged. 😕

We created a system that would be fun and timely to allow employees to acknowledge their peers for doing something meaningful. It could be a simple gesture or act that helps build a cohesive team and camaraderie that’d help us reach our objectives and goals.

EngageWith became that system. 

We first built it for ourselves after looking for something that would meet our needs. Then friends, partners, and clients who saw the system asked if they could use it. They had the same challenge: How to improve employee engagement and retention.

We worked on the tool to commercialize it for companies that believe that great success can only be achieved with a truly engaged team.

EngageWith is an employee recognition and rewards platform that enriches your company culture. It virtually brings recognition and fun within your Slack, MS Teams, and Google Chat workspace. 

engagewith

Learn More: How EngageWith Will Help In Improving Team Engagement

Want to see it in action?

Want a PDF of this guide for free? We’ll email you a copy. Download the guide now!