How to Increase Employee Engagement at Work

By Ryan Ayers

Updated Over a Week Ago

Minute Read

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A surprising number of workers worldwide are either not engaged with their work, or actively disengaged. Gallup’s State of the Workplace survey revealed some interesting trends: worldwide, only 14% of workers are engaged at work.

In the United States, that number is reported as around 30%, but that figure is still low. And means that 7 out of 10 employees are not engaged in the workplace.

Employee engagement often seems like an elusive goal, but most managers and leaders know that engagement is a major driving force behind productivity and employee satisfaction, making it a worthwhile achievement.

Here are some simple changes you can implement within your company to increase employee engagement and boost your team’s productivity and morale.

1. Connect Meaning to the Work

Sales and revenue are important to every business, but that won’t be the driving force that motivates your team long term. People are motivated much more when they understand and embrace the purpose behind their work. Companies only focused on the bottom line will start noticing employee burnout sooner rather than later, and it’s hard to turn that around once it’s begun.

Think about what your company does and why you do it. Is it to provide excellent service or a product that makes people’s lives easier? Find the meaning, and communicate that to your team.

2. Give Managers the Right Tools

Educate your managers on generational differences to promote understanding, respect, and productivity to the diverse employee base. As they have the most day-to-day interactions with employees on the floor, they will need to be responsible for much of the direct engagement efforts you put into place.

Work with them to coach employees and help them grow professionally while promoting a positive and open work environment.

Communication is the most effective tool managers have to foster engagement in the office.

3. Provide Clear and Attainable Opportunities

Ambitious and hard-working people are key to your company’s goals, but keeping them engaged takes work. Providing opportunities and advancement options for employees will keep them working toward your company’s success.

Obviously, you should challenge your employees to reach these goals, but providing them and ensuring they are available to employees who are deserving is vital to an engaged workforce.

Aside from promotion opportunities, companies can help create an engaged workplace by offering professional development opportunities like sponsoring workshops or paying to have employees attend conferences, classes, and lectures.

4. Be Truly Transparent

Management transparency has a 94 percent direct correlation with employee happiness. Many companies and higher-level executives say they are transparent, yet their managers are shut away in intimidating offices, and lower-level employees are not trusted with much information, which can easily cause disengagement.

Trusting employees enough to be truly transparent is an important part of the engagement, and except for a few exceptions, there is no real reason why employees of all levels shouldn’t know what’s going on at each level of the organization. Being transparent helps employees feel valued and cuts down on gossip in the office, one of the biggest sources of poor morale and non-productive hours.

5. Show Appreciation

Employees who work hard deserve respect and recognition, but it’s all too easy to just let good work go unnoticed. Even if you can’t always offer monetary recognition for your best employees, simply telling them they did a great job and you admire their work can help them feel invested and engaged—an important part of your organization.

An Ongoing Commitment

Implementing these tips isn’t especially difficult, but it can involve a major mindset shift that can be difficult to maintain. Remember, these changes need to be a permanent fixture moving forward for ongoing success—slipping into old patterns is all too easy.

Keeping employees engaged long-term is an ongoing commitment, and it’s a commitment that everyone in your organization should take very seriously.

How Do You Increase Employee Engagement?

If you have ideas that you feel like sharing that might be helpful to readers, share them in the comments section below. Thanks!

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Ryan Ayers
Ryan Ayers
Ryan Ayers has consulted a number of Fortune 500 companies within multiple industries including analyzing how big data can be used for professional development. After earning his MBA in 2010, Ayers also began working with start-up companies and aspiring entrepreneurs, with a keen focus on scaling, personal branding and development.
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