In 2020, many organizations were on survival mode.
It’s time to create an environment where employees thrive. With these meaningful engagement activities and ideas, you can rebuild confidence in your organization by investing in your greatest asset – your employees.
It’s critical to prioritize employee engagement. Engaged employees make better decisions, are more productive, and are more innovative. Statistically speaking, engaged teams are 21% more profitable.
Employee engagement isn’t just a feel-good plan, instead a fundamental strategy for business success, as it’s one of the most competitive differentiators in business.
For employee engagement activities and ideas to be effective, they must be meaningful, relevant, and have a real impact on the well-being of your collaborators and their day-to-day work. A once/year BBQ isn’t a bad idea, but it’s not a strategy, either.
Here are strategic employee engagement ideas to improve morale, increase engagement, and, in turn, increase productivity.
1. Get the C-suite and board involved. 2020 was a year that employees stepped it up. The work collaborators did was nothing short of phenomenal. It’s time to reflect and shout out the achievements of teams as well as individuals. The impact of meaningful recognition – public, sincere, candid, and specific – from top leaders should never be underestimated.
2. Make meetings matter. Meaningless meetings drain your employees’ energy as well as your organization’s pocket. Remember: work does not get done in a meeting. Be smart. Be effective. Keep meetings to a minimum, and free your employees’ time so they can actually get their work done. Try these effective meeting strategies.
3. Connect your collaborators’ work with organization goals. This Forbes article cites that 61% of employees don’t even know their company mission. When collaborators understand how their work connects directly to the organization’s mission, vision and goals, they feel relevant, inspired, and are more likely to be engaged with their work. Have frontline managers sit down with employees and list their specific responsibilities – connecting the dots between each person’s job and the organization’s mission and vision. Give frontline workers time with senior leaders and c-suite leaders. This facetime is a chance to not only live and interact with another perspective of the company but also understand better what qualities and skills each employee can develop to advance in the organization.
4. Give your collaborators more responsibility. This is not to be confused with more “stuff to do.” Responsibility is the ability to make decisions and have the resources to do so. When collaborators have a clear vision of what they need to do to reach organization goals and mission, they should be able to work without having to jump through bureaucratic loopholes. Then hold everyone accountable for the work they’re expected to do. This can’t happen, though, without autonomy and resources. The lack of autonomy is a huge engagement killer.
5. Invest in your employees’ health. Renegotiate health insurance plans with your provider to get lower rates and better coverage. Include women’s health (birth control, mammograms, annual pap smears) and mental health programs. Partner with local gyms, indoor pools, a YMCA, yoga teachers, sports shops and more to provide opportunities for employees to join and participate in physical activities (even their families): a weekend hiking club, kayaking club, lunchtime Zumba and yoga. Revamp the cafeteria to include foods of all cultures and healthy snack options. Bring on a corporate nutritionist for lunch-n-learn chats about healthy eating habits on a budget, mealtime planning, immune and energy-boosting foods.
6. Small things matter. Burnout has been a huge issue that organizations have grappled with over the years. Add a pandemic. This past year and a half, employees have been pushed to their limits. One engagement idea that hit the mark was care packages. Many organizations sent care packages to remote workers during the pandemic and saw a productivity boost. Depending on your budget, there are care packages right for every company: handwritten cards, wellness boxes, meals in a box to join in for a cooking and mealtime zoom, subsidies for better Wifi services and home computers, and more.
These are just six employee engagement activities that can make a big difference in the way your organization runs. Any engagement idea must be strategic and meaningful – activities that set the tone of the organization and how it values the people that build it, make it the success it is. Invest in your talent. Invest in strategies that show your collaborators, every single day, that they matter.