Bolstering employee engagement can unlock the door to higher levels of job satisfaction, increased productivity, and higher employee retention rates.

With Gallup studies indicating that engaged employees outperform their peers by 147%, you can hardly afford not to develop an employee engagement plan. Here are 12 sure-fire ways to keep your employees engaged in their jobs.

1. Assess your Current Level of Employee Engagement

The first step to take to improve employee engagement is to determine exactly how engaged your employees are.

Employee engagement surveys are standardized tools that can be completed online in a matter of minutes. A quick Google search will yield lots of examples and free templates to help you develop a questionnaire that’s relevant to your business.

Key Factors

Employee engagement surveys typically measure key factors such as:

  • How well and how frequently employees interact with their co-workers
  • The degree of pride employees exhibit in their employment
  • Participation in career development activities such as mentoring programs or training seminars
  • The degree of leadership behavior exhibited by employees

2. Create a Work Culture that Emphasizes Engagement

Once you have determined how engaged your employees are, it is time to direct your attention to developing a company culture that fosters interaction and productivity among your employees.

Building a company culture that emphasizes engagement is best accomplished by taking these measures:

  • Encourage friendship between employees
  • Launch activities and events that employees of all ages can participate in
  • Recognize and encourage unique learning styles
  • Incorporate a playful approach to work periodically

3. Establish a Mentoring Program

“Mentoring fosters important working relationships and gives employees a sense of belonging, both important factors that motivate employees to stay with a company. This feeling of belonging promotes an emotional connection with the company, which in turn increases employee engagement.”  – Ravishankar Gundlapalli, MentorCloud

Establishing a mentoring program is an effective way to promote lasting relationships while fostering professional development.

Best Practices

  • Encourage your most accomplished employees to serve as mentors
  • Provide incentives to mentors who guide new employees to success
  • Reward mentors and mentees who achieve their goals

4. Offer ongoing training and educational opportunities

Educating employees is a process that should not occur in a vacuum. In today’s rapidly changing workplaces, employees must stay on top of new technology, new products, and new modes of client communication.

Offer employees the opportunity to participate in company training seminars, industry certification courses, and professional development activities.

5. Share employee success stories

“Stories construct how we make sense of work and how we connect with others in the workplace. Our stories construct meaning and purpose, create emotions, and guide our actions. Stories are the plots and subplots of employee engagement.” – David Zinger, founder and host of the Employee Engagement Network

Employees succeed on the job every day. They quietly earn certifications, master new skills, attract top clients, and celebrate work anniversaries – all while tending to their daily job responsibilities.

Recognizing employees as they reach these milestones is an effective way to show employees that their contributions matter and foster their future involvement in company activities.

6. Champion Employee Engagement Initiatives

Employees look to managers and other company leaders for guidance on desirable office behaviors. Accordingly, one of the most effective ways to stimulate employee engagement is to exhibit the attitudes and behaviors that you seek in your employees.

Become a Role Model

  • Show employees you welcome interaction with them by keeping open door policy as much as possible
  • Hold fun office contests and encourage all employees to participate
  • Schedule an annual holiday party and seek employee input on the location, food, and dress
  • Invite frontline employees to present suggestions for new product names

7. Establish a corporate wellness program

“Companies that build a wellness culture thus acquire a workforce that is not only more focused and engaged, but that sees that culture as benefiting their careers.” – The Economist Intelligence Unit

Establishing a wellness program shows employees that you value their health and well-being. 66% of U.S. companies now offer an employee wellness program, and nearly 90% of employers indicate that they support workers’ personal health and wellness goals.

How Workplace Wellness Programs Tip the Balance

  • Wellness programs promote engagement in the following ways:
  • Employees are more apt to exercise together or share common fitness goals
  • Attendance is better among employees who participate in wellness programs
  • Companies with wellness program have higher rates of employee retention

8. Create Shared Goals and Incentives

Establishing common goals for a team or department fosters collaboration and shared excitement – especially if goals are attained.

As you outline goals for departments, make sure that you select goals that are challenging yet attainable. Be sure to link incentives to both goal attainment and successful collaboration among team members.

To optimize engagement by providing teams and participants with regular updates on their progress.

9. Ask for Feedback

“In 25 years of HR work, I’ve met very few executives who didn’t agree that better feedback between a manager and employee drives better employee performance, development, and engagement – and thus, better business results.” David Jardin, Talent Management and HR

When company leaders create a work environment that encourages employees to provide feedback, the result is superior job performance.

Employees should be empowered to honestly voice their opinions and provide suggestions for improvement at work.

Managers and HR departments can seek feedback from employees in a variety of ways, including the following:

  • Schedule a team meal at least once each quarter for the purpose of sharing feedback and ideas
  • Tell employees on a regular basis that you value their feedback and then ask for their comments
  • Always be on the lookout for nonverbal cues that signal an employee’s approval or disapproval of events

10. Schedule performance evaluations with employees

Performance evaluations provide an excellent opportunity for managers to engage with their employees and provide feedback on their accomplishments. Unfortunately, over half of employers admit that they do not regularly track employee performance or discuss performance results with workers.

In contrast, over 40% of highly engaged employees receive feedback from management at least once each week.

Here are some ways to use performance evaluations to bolster engagement with employees:

  • Conduct a formal performance review that involves goal analysis at least once annually
  • Provide feedback on an informal basis at least once per week
  • Take time to praise employees for outstanding accomplishments upon their completion
  • Offer workers actionable suggestions that will help them perform better at their jobs

11. Recognize Employees for their Accomplishments

“Fact: Employee recognition and employee engagement are intrinsically tied. Employee recognition bolsters confidence and actively influences our attitudes toward our work, encouraging ongoing employee engagement.” – Jonathan McClellan, Hallmark Business Connections

As companies strive to develop innovative ways to attract and retain top performers, they often overlook a simple yet effective practice: employee recognition.

Rewarding employees for their achievements is an effective way to build a positive work culture and motivate employees to attain their goals.

Here are a few ways to get started:

  • Offer incentives or bonuses to employees who surpass their goals
  • Post the names of top performers on your company leaderboard
  • Recognize top performing employees during company meetings and in company newsletters

12. Communicate openly by sharing information with employees

Open communication is the cornerstone of a healthy work environment. The most accomplished leaders regularly communicate with employees on all levels, illustrating transparency and establishing a foundation of trust among employees.

Successful managers and executives recognize that there are multiple modes of communication that effectively engage employees. They include the following:

  • Company newsletters and e-mails
  • E-mails from the executive team
  • Verbal updates provided at company-wide meetings

The Bottom Line

Fostering employee engagement is a strategy that will pay off in the form of increased worker productivity and improved employee retention.

Effectively engaging employees requires open communication and a commitment to encouraging interaction among workers. How do you engage your workforce? Share your insights with us in the comments below!