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Employee Engagement Employee Experience

How to Engage Employees (6 Strategies That Actually Work)

November 14, 2023
7 min read

Motivate and Connect with Your Employees


If you were asked about the state of employee engagement at your company today, could you answer? If not, you aren’t alone —only 51% of companies have sent an in-depth engagement survey in the past two years. That’s led to a disparity between actual and perceived levels of engagement: 58% of employers think their people are highly engaged.

In reality, engagement has dropped steadily over the past few years. Just 32% of U.S. employees are engaged. Research shows that’s because employees aren’t feeling supported, don’t know what’s expected of them at work, and don’t feel their opinions matter. It’s no surprise we saw trends like the Great Resignation and quiet quitting take off.

Even if you are in tune with how your people feel, they can always benefit from new employee engagement ideas. Keep reading to learn more about engagement and its impact, and get six tips for improving employee engagement.

Why should you care about employee engagement? 🌟 Dive into the reasons behind its importance and how it directly impacts productivity, satisfaction, and your company's bottom line:

What Is an Engaged Employee?

Engaged employees are committed to their jobs and their companies and enthusiastic about their work. They’re motivated to do their best and feel a sense of connection to their companies’ missions, values, and goals. Engaged employees are more productive, innovative, and less likely to quit. They have higher well-being —meaning they’re healthier and happier —and lower absenteeism.

Engaged employees not only care about doing well at work and getting better at their jobs — they’re more satisfied with their lives outside of work, too. In short, they’re exactly the kind of employee you want.

Why You Should Care About Employee Engagement

Gallup, a global analytics and advisory firm, has done extensive research measuring employee engagement and studying its impact on business performance worldwide. The data shows that:

  1. Businesses with highly engaged employees outperform businesses with lower levels of employee engagement.
  2. Engagement at work is highly dependent on how employees feel about their jobs and employers.
  3. Managers are responsible for 70% of the variance in employee engagement.

The bottom line? Employee engagement is the difference between reaching business goals and falling short, and it’s directly impacted by HR strategies.

How to Engage Your Employees

Employee engagement strategies aren’t one-size-fits-all but are often low- or no-cost, easy to implement, and well-received. There’s research to back them up, their results are fast, and your business will reap long-lasting benefits.

1. Create an Employee Listening Strategy

There’s a lot of value in listening to what your employees have to say — and not just at once-a-year performance reviews. An employee listening strategy is an intentional effort to ask for feedback from your workforce and use it to create a better employee experience. With one-third of employees reporting they feel “invisible” at work, there’s a clear need to listen to their voices.

Employee surveys are an excellent way to execute your employee listening strategy. For example, McKinsey began sending weekly pulse surveys to employees during the pandemic to understand and address top concerns at scale. The surveys have continued, allowing the company to stay on top of issues that arise among employee subgroups and meet their needs.

2. Onboard Your New Hires

Did you know that half of hourly workers will quit within the first 120 days at a new job? On the other hand, you can retain 69% of new hires for at least three years with an excellent onboarding process. The onboarding process is the first stage of the employee journey and lets new hires know what their employee experience will be like. If it’s disorganized, confusing, or nonexistent, it’s impacting employee retention and engagement for new hires who stay past the first few months.

Employee engagement isn't just a buzzword; it's a game-changer. 🌟 Uncover the key reasons why engagement is crucial for your company's growth and success, plus 6 tips for engagement:

3. Set Goals and Give Feedback

Only 48% of employees say they know what’s expected of them at work — a crucial component of employee engagement. Another metric that’s tied to high engagement is frequent feedback, with 43% of highly engaged employees receiving weekly feedback.

Employee engagement software is equipped with features that make it easy to set expectations and give feedback:

  • One-on-one meeting tools with collaborative agendas and notes, as well as automatic email reminders, facilitate more frequent and productive conversations.
  • Goal-setting and tracking features enable managers and employees to work together to set goals aligned with team and business goals and make it easy for employees to provide regular updates.
  • A live feed of goal updates allows everyone to see team members’ progress and contributions and offer encouragement.

4. Promote Internally

Motivate and retain your top talent by creating career paths and promoting employees internally. With growth and development high on employees’ priority lists, promoting employees internally is an excellent way to keep high performers in your organization. LinkedIn found that when companies have high rates of internal hiring, employees stay 41% longer.

5. Recognize Employees Regularly

One of the best ways to boost engagement is recognizing your employees’ work. It’s really that simple — employee recognition is tied to higher productivity and engagement, and employees themselves say it’s the best way to motivate them. But despite its impact, just 29% of employees say they received recognition in the past week.

Employee recognition doesn’t have to be a complicated strategy. It can be as simple as giving a shout-out during a team meeting or sending an email to department heads to highlight exceptional work. The important thing is that it happens on a regular basis.

You can also use employee engagement software to integrate recognition into your company culture. Recognition tools allow any employee to write messages of appreciation and publish them to the software’s news feed or a dedicated Slack channel. Celebrate birthdays and milestone work anniversaries in the same way, encouraging peer-to-peer recognition and helping strengthen workplace relationships.

6. Uphold Your Commitment to DEIB

Inclusion has a big impact on engagement, according to Gallup research. Employees who are highly engaged report are more likely to say that they:

  • Feel respected at work
  • Feel valued as a team member
  • Feel comfortable being themselves
  • Feel their employer would do the right thing if they raised an ethics concern

But up to 40% of workers say they feel isolated at work, and only 19% say they have a “best friend” at work. Upholding your commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) can help reduce feelings of isolation and encourage closer relationships among your employees.

How to Use Technology to Manage Employee Engagement

You’re more than likely using technology to manage HR functions like payroll, benefits, and recruiting. Employee engagement software has a variety of tech tools you can use to handle this part of your HR strategy:

  • Employee surveys for engagement, well-being, DEIB, and more
  • Recognition tools to contribute to a supportive work environment, encourage employees, and help foster relationships
  • One-on-one features to make it easier for employees to talk to their managers and colleagues and receive feedback regularly
  • Goal-setting and tracking tools to help employees see how their work plays into the big picture and stay on target

Improve Employee Engagement With ClearCompany

Employee engagement isn't an HR buzzword or a passing trend — your employees are your greatest asset. When they're engaged, motivated, and happy, they drive the success and growth of your company. A highly engaged workforce isn’t unattainable, either. Increasing employee engagement is a real and achievable goal that can make a world of difference in your business, and the right software can help you reach it.

Deliver more effective employee engagement strategies that work for your employees with ClearCompany. See how you can tailor ClearCompany’s Performance, Engagement, and Goals platform to work for your strategy and your workforce: sign up for a demo today.

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