8 ways to improve employee engagement

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Credit: Getty Images

Credit: Getty Images

When employees are engaged in their work, they have passion, energy and commitment. They bring their best to work every day, and they’ll go above and beyond for your organization.

In short, employee engagement measures how strongly employees feel connected to their work and their employer. Sustainable engagement is based on intrinsic motivation. These are internal goals like mastery, autonomy, and purpose. External rewards, such as pay and bonuses, only earn short-term benefits.

There are many ways to improve employee engagement. Some are focused on long-term goals, while others are quick, short-term wins for your employees and business. Here are eight ideas to try.

1. Live your mission, vision, and values

Employees want to know they are part of an organization that sees a bigger picture and provides meaning. A company that incorporates its values into everyday work life helps foster a more meaningful work environment for its employees. When employees have a strong understanding of company core values and how those impact the organization, they are more likely to feel inspired and engaged.

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2. Focus on onboarding

The onboarding process sets an important tone. Onboarding is a great way to connect employees with your company’s mission, vision and values. It also helps them understand how they fit in to the larger picture. Use the process to show new employees what makes your company culture unique and how they play a vital role on the team — and the company as a whole.

3. Train employees to succeed

Creating a clear path for employee development will help to improve employee recruitment and retention. Encourage employees to grow within your company instead of giving them reasons to seek growth opportunities elsewhere. Employees want to feel cared for and supported by their managers and leaders.

4. Recognize and reward employees

To feel fully engaged in the organization, employees need to know that peers, managers and leaders genuinely appreciate their work. Recognition is also what makes them enjoy their work and feel motivated to perform at their best. It’s also important to understand how your employees prefer to receive recognition to maximize your efforts and consider their personal preferences.

5. Communicate feedback the right way

Employees at Top Workplaces feel well informed, recognized and heard, and they work well with other teams. Encouraging a culture of consistent, two-way communication makes this possible. When your organization establishes open communication as a company value and models it from the top-down, your employees will seek regular feedback and provide transparent communication in return.

6. Promote healthy work habits

Encourage healthy habits within the workplace. Promote taking breaks during work; it will not only help employees feel more cared about but help prevent overworking and burnout. It will lead to more productive work time. Ensuring work-life balance shows your employees you care about their well-being.

7. Volunteer

Use your company mission or values to create a team bonding activity such as volunteering for local causes, showing employees that you genuinely care about the causes you promote as an organization.

8. Conduct employee engagement surveys

Measuring engagement is the first step toward improving employee engagement. Surveys allow employees to give feedback and feel heard safely. They’re also highly beneficial because they are fully anonymous, allowing employees to offer genuine feedback without fear of backlash.

Bob Helbig is media partnerships director at Energage, a Philadelphia-based employee survey firm. Energage is The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s survey partner for Top Workplaces.