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Work It: Strategies That Encourage Employee Engagement

As if employee engagement wasn’t already low before, a global pandemic has now made more employees feel disengaged from their jobs. In 2018, Gallup reported that 34 percent of employees in the U.S. are engaged, the highest rate in their records. Still, that leaves 66 percent of employees dragging their feet to work.

Now, with too much uncertainty and not enough concrete plans or solutions for the coronavirus, employees lucky enough not to get axed from their jobs may be even less focused on their tasks and are just waiting for the clock to strike 5. In times as volatile as now, clock-watchers are detrimental to your business’ growth.

If you want to foster a company culture where working feels more like play instead of something your employees cannot wait to get out of, conduct a survey to measure employee satisfaction then implement engagement strategies that work like the ones below.

1. Praise, don’t penalize

It’s better to reward employees who do a good job instead of penalizing those who do not meet their quota or commit other errors. The latter is defeatist, which makes your employees more anxious in the workplace. But if they’re looking forward to a reward instead, it makes them excited instead of anxious.

2. Get to know new employees

Have a coffee shop in the building? How about a great restaurant a block from the office? Or maybe you offer a delicious buffet breakfast. Invite new hires over for a quick cup of joe or sumptuous lunch and get to know them. Communication is one of the best things to cultivate for a great office environment and opening communication lines from the get-go sets precedent for continuous open interaction.

3. Utilize technology to keep communications open

As mentioned above, communication is key to a great workplace culture. But now that your employees are in their own nooks at home, communication can be a challenge to maintain. For this, technology is your friend. Use Zoom sessions not just to talk shop but to also inquire about your employees’ wellbeing. Keep it short but meaningful so you aren’t hogging their time.

4. Provide clear opportunities for growth

Management team

In a LinkedIn study, 94 percent of employees said they’d stay at their job longer if they felt that the workplace is invested in their career. This goes to show how important establishing a career path is for employees. When they know you’d rather invest in their skills rather than replace them, they have something to work toward, which helps keep them motivated.

5. Revamp your office space

Office set-up is one of the most often overlooked aspects of employee engagement. The way your office is arranged plays a part in how your employees engage with their work, their colleagues, and the company itself. This is why there are fewer and fewer cubicle-type offices today—great employers know that the best floor plan is one that encourages communication and collaboration and cubicles are for isolation. Try an open plan layout but keep places where people can have the privacy and space to concentrate or conduct meetings.

Keeping employees engaged means making them feel that they are a valued member of your company’s community and not just another cog in the machine. Try the strategies above and reap the rewards of a more engaged and collaborative workplace.

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