7 Tips to Improve Employee Engagement

In our last blog, we shared the findings of our research that explored the linkage between employee engagement, happiness, and performance. Generally, we found that that employee happiness and employee engagement were in fact correlated and that employees who reported low job satisfaction tended to be less productive. As employee engagement remains at all time lows, being able to engage your people could prove to be your organization's new competitive advantage.

Here, we share seven tips for companies to improve employee engagement.

Tip 1: Get Employer Branding Right

Employer Branding, or the careful advertising of your organizational culture, is often your first point of contact with the very talent that may work with you some day. This is why it is important to not only portray your company, but also to communicate what is expected of employees. In doing so, keep in mind that it does not benefit your company to paint an inaccurate or utopian picture of your work environment.

Be especially careful not to succumb to the “new wave” of employer branding, which often leaves job seekers confused as to whether they’ll be working as computer engineers or professional ping pong players. Instead, showcase what you have to offer employees by portraying a realistic image of what is expected. Overall, highlight your company culture and workplace benefits, but be sure to set realistic expectations.

Tip 2: Hire the Right Talent

If you believe that your people are your organization’s most important asset, then you should recognize that your recruiting function is your organization’s most important function. This said, brute force recruiting won’t do. Instead you should pursue a refined and optimized recruiting process which results in candidates with the right cultural fit, capabilities, and long term viability.

One of the best ways to ensure high engagement than starting out with the right employees in the right roles. The wrong person in any position, or the right person in the wrong position, have detrimental effects on your teams and thus morale and engagement. It’s high time for more organizations invest in talent.

Tip 3: Don't Miss the boat. Take Advantage of Onboarding

Onboarding is often relegated as an operational and compliance activity. What many employers fail to understand is that they will never ever have such a captive and excited audience again--ever. You’ve just offered someone a new opportunity, they have a fresh start, and they are eager to advance their careers. This first few weeks is the honeymoon period of employment. Unfortunately, new hires often experience lag time for ramp up and team integration. This early time on the job must be spent wisely and should focus on training, coaching, and perhaps most importantly, mentoring.

Tip 4: Provide Regular Feedback

Your employees crave feedback. It tells them what they are doing is right and what they’re doing wrong. In the absence of feedback, employees may assume that their work doesn’t matter, isn’t noticed, or unappreciated. All of these interpretations are majorly demotivating. If you want engaged employees, provide regular feedback. When starting a new project, set expectations from the beginning, provide feedback as soon as possible and the continue providing along the way and as soon as the project is completed.

Tip 5: Embrace Diversity

Our workforces are comprised of diverse individuals. We often find various ages, genders, races, educational backgrounds, career histories, life experiences, and personality types. Some organizations approach diversity as something they should simply “manage”. Others, turn a blind eye and pretend the differences (or lack thereof) don’t exist. The most successful organizations, however, embrace diversity and harness its power. These organizations understand how to communicate and set expectations with a variety of individuals as well as how their diverse backgrounds can benefit the way they design creative solutions and how to best deliver to an equally diverse customer base. Organizations must not only understand, but champion various backgrounds, personality types, communication styles, and individual differences.

Tip 6: Support and Enable

Successful companies realize that authoritarian leaders and micromanagers are things of the past. Instead, they understand that leaders should encourage their people by providing with them the tools and support they need to succeed, but then giving them the space to execute and truly own the process.

Focus on creating teams of empowerment, not endangerment. If you are a manager, do you truly understand your team’s needs? Do you have a full grasp of individual and group challenges? Are you aware of all obstacles and bottlenecks? Have you structured your team in an optimal fashion to utilize strengths and advantages?
Tip 7: Provide Training & Development

One reason organizations lose engagement is that they fail to provide their people with adequate training to help them grow both personally and professionally. In an age where information flows freely and technology has become ubiquitous, our last true competitive advantage is our people. Therefore, providing training to engage and develop your workforce is more important than ever. For optimal impact, your training should be designed and executed with a training partner who understands the intricacies of your business and will work with you in the long term. Generally, research has shown that online training fail to provide adequate training and development.

According to a recent Gallup poll, employee engagement is at an all time low. This means that your organization has the unique opportunity to increase its employee satisfaction and raise engagement. The boost in performance that follows, could provide just the competitive advantage your organization needs.

Gregory Pontrelli is President/CEO & Chief Talent Strategist at Lausanne Business Solutions, a comprehensive talent management consultancy. Lausanne helps organizations recruit top talent, increase employee engagement, while optimizing performance, and develop individuals and teams. You can follow Lausanne Business Solutions on twitter @lausanneconnect, on instagram@lausannesolutions, and also follow Greg on twitter@gregpontrelli.