If you want to get technical, employee engagement is the extent to which employees feel passionate about their jobs, are committed to the organization, and put discretionary effort into their work. Employee engagement is not the same as employee satisfaction. 

Employee Satisfaction only indicates how happy or content your employees are. It does not address their level of motivation, involvement, or emotional commitment. For some employees, being satisfied means collecting a paycheck while doing as little work as possible.

When organizations focus on how to improve employee satisfaction, changes won’t necessarily lead to increased performance. Oftentimes, the conditions that make employees “satisfied” with their jobs are the same conditions that frustrate high performing employees. Top performers embrace change, search out ways to improve and challenge the status quo. They expect all employees to be held accountable for delivering results, whereas low performers avoid accountability, cling to the status quo, and resist change.

Why is Employee Engagement Important?

Employee engagement goes beyond activities, games, and events. Employee engagement drives performance. Engaged employees look at the whole of the company and understand their purpose, where, and how they fit in. This leads to better decision-making. Organizations with an engaged workforce outperform their competition. They have a higher earning per share (EPS) and recover more quickly after recessions and financial setbacks. Engagement is a key differentiator when it comes to growth and innovation.

Expectations of employees have changed. Mobile professional careers are much more common than “job for lifers”. Retention of top talent is more difficult than before. A company that has an effective employee engagement strategy and a highly engaged workforce is more likely to retain top performers as well as attract new talent. Successful organizations are value-driven with employee-centric cultures.

The Goal of Employee Engagement

To increase the level of involvement, job satisfaction, and ensure employees feel valued and appreciated.  Encourage empowerment and improved performance. 

The following are employee engagement ideas split into three categories:

  • Continuous Involvement – everyday interactions that can boost morale
  • Quarterly Activities – can choose four different activities to be scheduled throughout the year
  • Annual Events – a once-a-year event that will bring employees and leadership together

*Please note that the following are ideas and options that are typically found in organizations that claim to have a high level of employee engagement. Not all ideas/options work for all companies.  It should be your goal to determine what type of involvement, activities and/or events will best serve the employees of your company and that are feasible to implement and maintain.

Continuous Involvement to Boost Employee Engagement

  • Make sure your onboarding process is organized and upbeat
  • Create a truly authentic mission statement and core values 
  • Offer useful and constructive feedback, praise and recognition 
  • Provide opportunities for professional growth, training, and development 
  • Help employees move forward in their career and education if desired 
  • Create an environment that supports a balance between work and personal life
  • Encourage daily teamwork and cooperation within the organization 
  • Communicate regularly with staff and share information/knowledge 
  • Hold employees accountable for their quality of work, service, and products 
  • Maintain very high standards of professional conduct and customer service 
  • Ensure employees have a good understanding of the company’s mission and purpose 
  • Provide necessary resources, tools, equipment, and systems to support job duties 
  • Offer fair compensation and benefits that are competitive within the industry 
  • Provide a safe and physically comfortable work environment 
  • Check in with employees to make sure they are satisfied with the job 
  • Treat employees fairly, reasonably and consistently 
  • Offer a caring and honest approach to employee issues 
  • Be objective and calm if workplace conflict arises 
  • Foster an environment of respect and appreciation 
  • Involve employees in decision-making if able to do so 
  • Value the contributions employees make 
  • Be friendly, but not too personal 
  • Give your employees visibility 
  • Encourage personal enrichment 
  • Clarify goals and responsibilities 
  • Allow employees to voice complaints 
  • Reward employees for a job well done 
  • Encourage an open door policy 
  • Promote from within 
  • Serve as a mentor 

Quarterly Activities to Boost Employee Engagement

  • Celebrate-Your-Staff Day – bring in lunch to show appreciation 
  • Enrichment Day – bring in a motivational or educational speaker (or video of one) 
  • Surprise Day – bring in a singer, band, take everyone out for ice cream or dinner 
  • Idea Day – hold a “work brainstorming session” with employees and provide a treat 
  • Recognition Day – hold an “awards ceremony” and make it a party (maybe a theme) 
  • Fake Holiday Day – can be “Xmas in July” or “Halloween in April” (games, contests) 
  • Sporting Event Day – take the staff to a local sports game (even minor level) 
  • Health & Wellness Day – schedule activities that promote health/wellness 
  • Contest Day – hold an art contest or a photo/video contest 
  • Coffee Day – bring everyone a cup of coffee from your local spot

Annual Events to Boost Employee Engagement

  • Holiday Party – organize a special night out and give your employees a thoughtful gift 
  • Spring Cleanup – organize, declutter, paint, make repairs, and freshen things up 
  • Birthday Breakfasts – recognize birthdays with breakfast treat or breakfast with the CEO 
  • Charitable Event – sponsor a charitable event as a company and work towards a goal

With exploding social media chatter and job sites that rate employers from the employee’s perspective, the quality of life in a workplace has become nearly as important to the success of a business as the balance sheet. With help from ConnectedHR, your organization can remain strong and calm. When HR issues arise, our HR pros are on-site to help you “respond” with purpose rather than to “react” reflexively, in a way that might not be strategic.