How to increase employee engagement

Keeping employees engaged with their work will transform your company culture forever.

First published on Friday, Jun 07, 2024

Last updated on Friday, Jun 07, 2024

A strong workforce is the greatest asset at any company’s disposal, but a successful recruitment dive is only half of the battle. If you truly wish to unlock the full potential of your staff, and business, embracing employee engagement strategies could be the secret to your success. 

In this guide for Canadian business owners and HR managers alike, we’ll take a deeper look at the importance of employee engagement as well as the best employee engagement strategies to spark a positive reaction from your team. 

What does employee engagement mean?

Employee engagement is defined by Investopedia as the “level of enthusiasm and dedication a worker feels toward their job”. 

It relates to the feelings, thoughts, and actions of employees as well as their emotional connection to their work. In addition to the work itself, colleague engagement is influenced by the feelings they have towards other workers and the company as a whole.

The HR concept should be considered an essential part of cultivating the right company culture, not least because it influences every worker throughout the company from full-time employees to part-time remote workers or contractors.

Given that employee engagement is now at its lowest level in over a decade, now is the time to give it the attention it demands.

To get a better understanding of this topic, you can read our in depth article on employee engagement here.

How to increase employee engagement: strategies for success

Employees united in a meeting, emphasizing teamwork and engagement.

When looking at employee engagement strategies, it’s important to remember that ideas alone are not enough. They also have to be implemented with a long-term strategy and investment in mind. 

Here are some of the best options that can be incorporated into your approach to unlock stunning results across the company.

Actively track employee engagement 

Employee engagement isn’t a one-off assignment that can be ticked off as ‘complete’. Likewise, it’s not something you can get away with second-guessing. To gain a deeper understanding of the current state of your employee engagement strategies and the direction that you’re headed in, tracking engagement will be key.

As with many aspects of business, data and modern technology are your greatest friends when it comes to tracking results.

Incorporating the right tracking software into your business will instantly give you an advantage over your competition. If nothing else, the data will confirm whether any subsequent changes have had a positive or negative impact. 

It also takes the guesswork out of the equation, allowing you to act with 100% confidence.

Focus on the employee experience

While it may sound a little counterproductive to put your focus on something other than engagement in this context, switching your attention to the employee experience can also make a huge difference.

It will ultimately create a more comprehensive strategy that incorporates employee engagement as a significant feature.

One of the most important steps for getting this right is to focus on the right key performance indicators.

 Some of the metrics to consider include:

  • Whether they would recommend the business to someone else

  • Their willingness to go the extra mile

  • Wellness elements, such as energy levels, positivity, and colleague relationships

A focus on inclusion and psychological safety should serve you well too.

Involve your employees in the process

Business owners and HR managers must take the lead in implementing a strong employee engagement strategy. Nevertheless, there are plenty of opportunities to include staff members in the decision-making process. Aside from adding further clarity to the steps you should implement; it will make workers feel more valued.

An employee engagement survey is a fantastic solution, especially as anonymity allows them to be 100% honest. Gallup’s example questions can help you consider the type of insights you should seek from your staff.

Consider opening up feedback loops and other tactics to see what they expect from the company can work wonders. 

Disengagement can be a costly issue for Canadian companies. According to Gallup’s annual State of the Global Workplace report, disengaged employees can cost your company 34% of your employee’s salary

For instance, if an employee earns $60,000 per year, the cost of their disengagement to your business would be $20,400 annually. Now imagine you have 100 employees on that same salary that’s a total cost of $2,040,000.

This means that not engaging your employees can result in a loss of over $2 million. So, now is the time to act.

Recognize the contrasts between different teams

Improving employee engagement is a strategy that should deliver collective results. However, you can only achieve winning results by recognizing the unique elements surrounding each employee. Perhaps most importantly, you must acknowledge the difference between remote workers, office settings, and other workplaces. 

While on-site workers are less engaged than remote or hybrid workers, the latter can feel less connected to the company and its core values. Hosting events and team building sessions can work wonders, especially when combined with skills development opportunities that are appreciated by employees. 

Tailoring the approach to individuals while still supporting team unity will deliver great results.

Focus on long-term employee engagement

Of course, it’s great to find ways to keep employees engaged with their work on an immediate basis. True success, however, is defined by long-term results. If you want to achieve them, you must actively shift your mindset. When you do, maintaining high productivity levels and low staff turnover rates is assured.

One of the most effective solutions is to create clear paths to promotion, which gives employees a reason to stay engaged and motivated. You will also find that workers who gain promotions will inspire their colleagues while simultaneously introducing a sense of healthy competition. 

It’s a powerful phenomenon that can transform your entire company culture. 

Stick to winning efforts

While monitoring engagement using data-driven decisions will lead you to greater success, you must also try to maintain a sense of stability. Otherwise, it can be very difficult to keep engagement levels at consistently high standards. In other words, when something works, make this a part of the company's DNA.

After all, research shows that 91% of employees who gain consistent experiences report higher engagement. Moreover, a stable working environment allows employees to stay productive while new recruits can integrate with ease. Once again, this should translate to consistent client experiences too.

As long as you keep tracking engagement, you’ll know when a change is required.

The benefits of an engaged workforce

Now you've seen the strategies and how they can be incorporated into your business, let's look at the rewards, and whether your business will actually benefit from them. Having this information will provide motivation and direction to ensure that you get the most out of any implemented changes.

Some of the best outcomes your business can gain from improved employee engagement include, but are not limited to;

  • Increased productivity: When employees are actively engaged with their work, they will naturally work more efficiently and be less prone to mental distractions.

  • Increased happiness: Engaged employees have better job satisfaction on a daily and long-term basis, leading to an increase in productivity. 

  • Better client experiences: Customers will pick up on the improved atmosphere when employees are more engaged making employees better positioned to sell—boosting sales and loyalty.

  • Lower staff turnover rates: High levels of colleague engagement make employees 87% less likely to quit, thus saving you time and promoting increased consistency.

  • Reduced mistakes: Teams supported by employee engagement strategies will also likely make fewer errors during their daily work.

  • Increase Profits: According to Gallup’s employee engagement report, highly engaged teams are 21% more profitable.

Increased employee engagement will benefit individual workers, your collective team, and customers alike. Better still, it translates to rewards for your business in its activities across Canada and beyond.

Employee engagement: myths vs reality

Employee engagement strategies are only successful when they’re implemented correctly and align with your company's needs. Unfortunately, it’s very easy to let common myths and misconceptions stop you from achieving the desired results.

Here are three you need to know:

Myth 1: Money is the only motivator

Many business owners and HR managers feel that money is the only valuable employee engagement tool. In reality, there are many other aspects of work life that incentivize employees more than cash.

In fact,  Zippa found that 85% of employees take more initiative when they receive feedback in the workplace. While money does play a key role, consider that other things may also elicit a positive response from your employees. 

Myth 2: Employee engagement is a fad

The concept of employee engagement is sometimes considered a fad by employers and employees alike. Ultimately, though, the importance of keeping workers mentally switched on cannot be emphasized enough. Furthermore, a strong strategy can become the foundation for building a better company culture that becomes the catalyst for years of success.

Myth 3: Not everyone can be engaged

Whether it’s absenteeism or low productivity, it’s easy to suggest that some negative employee behaviour can’t be changed. While employees do need to take personal accountability, HR managers and business owners must also understand that they have some responsibility too.

For instance, research by Culture Amp found that 73% of Canadian employees are engaged in the workplace. 69% claim this engagement is influenced by leaders who communicate a vision that motivates them and 73% say that it's influenced by leaders who demonstrate that people are important to the company's success.

This shows that upper management and employers also have a role to play when it comes to boosting employee engagement.

A team of individuals collaborating at a table, focusing on boosting employee engagement.

How BrightHR can increase your employee engagement

Employee engagement is an essential ingredient in the recipe for business success regardless of your industry, and every business in Canada should focus on it to unlock the full potential of their teams. 

BrightHR offers an employee recognition platform designed to empower and incentivize your team. You can use it to give recognition to support employee performance, understand your workplace culture and give your employees a great experience.

If you need further assistance in developing the right employee engagement strategies or upgrading your approach to HR, get in touch with our friendly experts by booking a free demo today!

Natalie Shallow

Head of Service - Canada

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