Employees may join a company for the money, but they stay for the personal and professional fulfillment. That’s why an effective engagement strategy is just as important as a competitive compensation plan when it comes to creating a productive, satisfied workforce. After all, two of the many benefits of employee engagement are higher employee morale and a more skilled workforce.
In part two of my series exploring best practices in employee engagement, I’m sharing recommendations that can be implemented to supplement an existing engagement strategy or used to launch a new strategy that is sure to inspire your organization.
In Case You Missed It – Best Practices in Employee Engagement: Part 1
Best Practices 6–9
Remember, in order to be truly effective, an employee engagement strategy must be authentically embraced from the top down. None of these practices should be implemented simply to look like you care or are invested. People can tell when actions or words seem fake in their everyday lives, and that extends to the workplace.
Let’s get to it—here are the next four best practices in employee engagement.
6. Incentivize Employees to Share Their Ideas
Who knows better than front-line employees where the waste is in a company’s processes? Employees can suggest ways to make things more efficient, more productive, and, most importantly, less costly. They often have ideas for new product lines and services as well. When you actively solicit their input through an idea-sharing program or system, not only do you get the financial benefit, but you’ll also be giving employees a voice, empowerment, and respect.
Setting up such a system is not a quick fix or an easy practice, but it is proven to bring great savings and increase employee engagement and satisfaction. To ensure your program is successful, keep these best practices in mind:
- You must designate a percentage of the idea’s projected savings or profit generation to reward the team or individual who submitted the idea. Without this incentive, there is no motivation to share ideas in the first place.
- There must be integrity and transparency by the evaluation committee that is responsible for reviewing submissions and implementing successful ideas. If an idea is rejected, follow up to share why and encourage them to continue sharing future suggestions. If an idea is chosen to move forward, include the employee in the planning and implementation process.
7. Commit to Company-wide Communications
The bigger your organization, the easier it is for an employee to feel like they are just another cog in the wheel. This disconnect can be overcome with messages from senior executives and managers shared company-wide. While written emails or letters in internal newsletters can work, a more personal approach is video messages. While the videos can always come from the same person—the CEO, for example—I recommend establishing a rotating schedule with a group of leaders. Not only is it easier for each leader to create a video once a month instead of once a week, for example, but it also allows the employees to get to know all of their leaders and feel more connected to them.
To be most effective, these videos should:
- Be short—no more than two to three minutes long—so you don’t lose people’s attention.
- Be published on a consistent basis, ideally once a week, so employees know when to expect them and start looking forward to them.
- Be upbeat in nature to inspire confidence and motivate high performance.
- Alternate between fun and instructional topics; employees may start to ignore them if they think they know what each video will say.
- Be recorded on a smartphone or laptop, not professionally, to be more authentic and relatable.
At M&IW, we have a weekly video series like this called Monday Minute. Every Monday, a member of the executive team shares a video celebrating our successes, highlighting new strategies, or even reminding us to take time for our mental health during busy periods.
8. Survey Your Employees
Many organizations utilize exit interviews when an employee resigns, but it can be just as beneficial, if not more so, to survey your current team to learn what they like and where there’s room for improvement. This can also be a good time to ask for their ideas if you don’t yet have an idea-sharing program in place. At a minimum, surveys should be conducted annually, but biannually or even quarterly makes progress tracking more effective.
It is imperative that these surveys be conducted anonymously to ensure honest responses. Just as importantly, the surveys should be professionally designed to achieve the targeted feedback you’re looking for to make critical decisions and course corrections throughout the year. Too many companies ask questions that are leading or confusing or are too generic to elicit actionable insights.
When done correctly, these surveys can help you understand the true mindset of your workforce and stem any dissatisfaction or frustration that can lead to turnover.
9. Send Gifts to Employees’ Homes
Everyone loves receiving packages in the mail. They’re usually opened with and shown off to the whole family, and if it’s a surprise, then there’s an extra layer of excitement. So imagine the excitement when the package is revealed to be a gift from your manager accompanied by a personal note celebrating a job well done or thanking you for being part of the team. You would likely be beaming with pride, and you (and your family) would think more highly of the company. That’s exactly why mailing gifts to your team is an effective engagement strategy.
An important note for such gifts to be successful is that the accompanying note cannot be generic. The note provides the personal touch that makes the gesture truly special. If the recipient feels like the gesture is automated or like it could have been sent to anyone, then the recognition is no longer effective.
Another key to success is the gift itself. Ideally, avoid generic, company-branded merchandise. A good manager knows the personal likes and dislikes of their team and should take the time to curate a gift just for them.
Does this take extra time and effort? Yes, but that’s exactly the message you want your employees to receive—that they are valuable and worth that extra touch.
Investing in Engagement
Not only are your employees worth the extra time and effort, but so is a robust incentives and engagement strategy. If you’re not sure where to start, our knowledgeable team of experts is here to help!
Contact us today to get started. Already an M&IW customer? Contact your Customer Success Manager to learn more.
The New Rules of Engagement
You can help shape the future of employee engagement. I am always looking for contributors to my ongoing study on engagement. If you or someone you know would like to be interviewed, please complete this form to express your interest.
Business Development Director, Sales & Marketing
Meetings & Incentives Worldwide, Inc.