4 Ways Employees Can Improve Employee Engagement

Organizations wrack their collective brains to find the best employee engagement strategy. But what if the answer is simple?

Let the employees decide.

Recently my company, Quantum Workplace, released its annual State of Employee Feedback report. It found that 62.5 percent of organizations that that have engaged employees, believe employees are largely responsible for their own engagement.

Before you breathe a sigh of relief and think you never have to work on employee engagement again, understand it’s a team effort. To increase their engagement, employees have to be given the tools and the power to do so. And that may mean making a few changes.

Here’s how to give employees more control over their engagement:

Ask for More Feedback

If your organization doesn’t conduct employee feedback surveys, chances are, it’s currently disengaged. Our study found 55 percent of disengaged companies don’t use annual engagement surveys.

Secondly, it’s almost impossible to give employees more of a say in anything unless they’re asked to give feedback. That’s how employees voice their opinions and provide input about what could improve. The more they are surveyed or given the opportunity to speak up, the more control they have over factors that affect their engagement.

For example, perhaps an outdated software program frustrates the sales department and reduces their productivity. You could take the chance that employees would come to you individually. Or, a simple survey could reveal this more quickly.

Remember the key to useful feedback is to create actionable commitments as a result of the information gathered. Feedback has no value, and employees have no say, unless it’s used to create a change. After each survey, share the results with the whole organization, and let everyone know the plan to make improvements.

Give Them More Autonomy

If employees will have more control over employee engagement, they need to have more freedom over their work. That begins with trust.

Unfortunately, a 2016 Society for Human Resource Management study found just 22 percent of employees were “very satisfied” with the trust between employees and management. That implies only a small number of employees are given autonomy in the workplace.

By giving employees more choices, they can decide when and where they work as well as what they work on. If they work better from home, they can. If they need a day off to recharge, let them have it. Then if their decisions don’t engage them, there’s no one to blame but themselves.

Provide Meaningful Work

The same SHRM study found 76 percent of employees said meaningful work helped engage them. But what does that meaningful work look like? It’s different for each employee.

Some people find meaning in doing work that helps society. Others need to know they impact the success of the organization. And others just want work that interests them. So in order to provide employees with meaningful work, you’ll need to ask what matters to them.

Of course, there are going to be some tasks employees can’t just stop doing because they don’t like them. But discussing what inspires employees will help managers assign projects or clients to certain employees based on their motivations.

For example, if Mark, a Customer Service Representative, has a passion for cooking, make him the main rep for a customer who runs a chain of restaurants. That will enable him to make a more personal connection to his work with the company.

Some people find meaning in doing work that helps society.

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Let Them Choose Their Training

A 2015 survey from InterCall found 41 percent of employees want to receive more training. That’s understandable considering the major part training plays on employees’ long-term careers.

The training employees receive now affects the type of future they’ll have professionally. If they don’t get the right training for themselves and their career paths, chances are, they won’t get where they want ago. And that will put them in roles they can’t engage with.

To ensure long-term employee engagement, employees deserve more of a say in what skills they develop and when. In addition to training specific to their current position, give them access to a wide variety of training material so they can pick and choose what’s right for them. That way they have the power to set themselves up for the future success they want.

Employee engagement can mean the difference between an OK employee and a great one. But if you want to engage each individual in a way that suits them, they need to have more control over the factors that influence it.

What are some other ways to give employees more control over their engagement? Share in the comments below!

Greg Harris is the president and CEO of Quantum Workplace, a company dedicated to providing every organization with quality engagement tools that guide their next step in making work better every day. You can connect with Greg and the Quantum Workplace team on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.

  • Kate

    “Employees are more savvy and skeptical than ever. How can we break through?”

  • Bill Fotsch

    The articles engagement suggestions are fine, but they beg the question, engage employees on what? This current Forbes article, “Engage Your Employees – On Making Money” provides a great answer: http://www.forbes.com/sites/fotschcase/2016/05/31/engage-your-employees-in-making-money/

  • There’s a more human way to do business.

    In the Social Age, it’s how we engage with customers, collaborators and strategic partners that matters; it’s how we create workplace optimism that sets us apart; it’s how we recruit, retain (and repel) employees that becomes our differentiator. This isn’t a “people first, profits second” movement, but a “profits as a direct result of putting people first” movement.

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