Grace Smith
January 27, 2024

Attracting and retaining top talent is a top internal concern of CEOs around the world.

Why?

They know that when employees are engaged and happy, the products and services that they sell get better too, along with the customer service - and that leads to results!

But only 23% of employees of employees worldwide are engaged at work, up from 12% in 2009. Moreover, 59% of employees are quite quitting, and 18% are actively disengaged.

[Gallup]

Therefore, organizations must put more emphasis on engagement. It could also lead to the company being more profitable.

According to Wellable, companies with an engaged workforce experience 21% more profitability and 17% more productivity than those without.

So in this article, we'll go over 10 of the best employee engagement practices that can transform your workplace into a thriving hub of productivity.

What is Employee Engagement?

Employee engagement measures how enthusiastic and committed an employee is to the success of their employer. A dedicated employee doesn't just come to work for a paycheck; they care about their work and want to make a meaningful contribution to their work. 

When employees leave, it's usually because they don't feel valued. A lack of fair compensation may be part of the problem, but it's more likely that they feel isolated and unappreciated in the workplace.

Why is Employee Engagement Important?

Engaged employees not only do their assigned work, but look for new challenges and opportunities to improve your business. Think of it this way: an engaged employee looks at their daily tasks and thinks about how to do them better. The average employee follows procedures without asking, while engaged employees ask questions and suggest improvements to existing processes to get the job done better and faster.

10 Employee Engagement Best Practices for a Thriving Work Culture

Here are 10 best practices for a highly engaged culture and a positive workplace.

1. Create a strong vision and communicate it 

Creating a strong vision can help you improve employee engagement. The idea should be at least one sentence long and explain what your company wants to achieve in the future. It should focus on more than just profit or sales goals; For example, "We want to be known as an organization that cares about  people first" or "We want our customers to think of us as their trusted advisor." 

When it's time to talk about that big  idea with your employees, start by letting them know why it's important. Tell them how the company's goals relate to their goals (ie if you're trying to build loyal customers who will buy a lot from us). You may also want to involve employees  in creating the vision themselves – this gives them ownership of what happens next and makes them more likely to buy into change when needed (because they played a role in shaping that change).  Finally, make sure everyone knows what steps they need to take to achieve those goals: If your team needs customer feedback before implementing  new software, let them know!

2. Promote authentic communication

Encourage open and honest communication throughout your organization. Create channels for employees to express their thoughts, concerns, and comments. By creating an environment of trust and transparency, you create space for collaboration, innovation, and shared success.  
To foster authentic communication in an organization, it is important to create an environment that values ​​open and honest dialogue. Encourage employees at all levels to freely express their thoughts, concerns, and reactions without fear of judgment or consequence.

3. Practice spotting 

Don't delay in recognizing  employees.  

Employees like to be recognized for their work and appreciate their efforts. However, the best idea might be to keep your employees for a long time until a certain date. 

The effect of recognition is strongest if it is received immediately after the successful completion of work. Additionally, with millennials making up nearly half of today's workforce and demanding instant gratification, the need for on-site recognition has grown even more. That's why you should always try to immediately recognize and reward your employees for their excellent work, even if you do it verbally.

4. Freedom to make choices 

There is no growth where there is no space. The growth of an organization is directly related to how much freedom employees enjoy at work. The fact that employees are allowed to make their own plans to find work is much appreciated, instead of being forced by orders from above. As a manager, you  also place employees in positions of responsibility. In addition, it helps employees explore their talents and grow as professionals.

5. Encourages collaboration and innovation

Authentic communication creates space for collaboration and innovation. Encourage employees to participate in discussions, share ideas, and collaborate on projects. Actively seek different perspectives and empower employees to challenge the status quo. By fostering an environment where ideas are freely exchanged, you tap into the collective intelligence of your workforce.

6. Create a fun work environment 

Managers can occasionally give employees a break from screens and create a fun work environment for them. They could organize different activities like lunch parties or office games and celebrate small moments together like birthdays and anniversaries. Organizations can run small competitions where winners can be rewarded with branded and personalized corporate gifts such as travel bags that can be very useful to them.

Although these may be small moments for the organization, incorporating these reward ideas can go a long way in employee engagement. This is because they appreciate such breaks and those memories will stay with them for a long time

7. Promote psychological safety

Create a safe, non-judgmental space where employees feel comfortable expressing their thoughts and concerns. When employees know there will be no negative consequences for sharing their ideas, they are more likely to be open and honest. Leaders can set the tone by encouraging active participation and creating a culture that values ​​diverse perspectives. 

 8. Active listening

Actively listen to employees by paying attention, showing genuine interest, and trying to understand their point of view. Practice empathic listening, ask clarifying questions, and summarize their comments to ensure correct understanding. By demonstrating active listening, you respect their opinions and foster deeper connections.

9. Stick to your core values 

From day one, every employee must clearly know the company's culture and core values, which are at the heart of the organization. These values ​​should explain what ideals you are pursuing and what is really important. This would develop a sense of belonging over time and help employees to do so. Consistent promotion of core values ​​creates a positive work culture and spiritually connects employees to the organization. 

10. Effective orientation 

Number three takes us back to the beginning of the employee lifecycle. The best practice for employee engagement is to not just throw them in at the deep end. New employee orientation is important if you want to connect new team members to your company's projects and your company's mission. New hires can be your biggest culture advocates from a fresh perspective, so be sure to show them a good time as part of your onboarding program. Be sure to include industry best practices for employee engagement.

How to Develop your Employee Engagement Strategy

Your organization's goals and the results of employee surveys can help guide your employee engagement efforts. Understanding the drivers of employee engagement can help you implement your action plans more efficiently.

 Here are some of the drivers of employee engagement.

  1. Recognition
  2. Professional development opportunities
  3. Autonomy
  4. A sense of purpose at work
  5. Work-life balance
  6. A manager who guides and leads
  7. Job security and stability
  8. Team dynamics
  9. Company culture and values
  10. Employee wellness programs
  11. Innovation and creativity
  12. Employee voice

Once you have decided which drivers to contact, the next step is to create an employee engagement action plan. Think about your budget, the effort involved, and how you can manage and measure engagement success. Go beyond benefits and employee recognition, because today's employees are looking for an emotional connection to their work.

But, what to include in an employee engagement strategy?

There is no one right way to design an employee engagement strategy. These vary according to the values ​​and culture of the company and  the current state of employee engagement. When you start with complete detachment, it takes time to build morale.

To start with, you'd require an employee engagement platform. Meet ThriveSparrow — an all in one employee success platform.

Step into the world where employee success is fueled by real-time feedback, data-driven insights, and customized surveys. Unleash the power of engagement, drive business growth, and empower your workforce like never before.

An overview of ThriveSparrow's Actionable Insights
An overview of ThriveSparrow's Actionable Insights

ThriveSparrow is your go-to platform for unlocking the full potential of your team. Sign up below for a free trial.

5 Additional Ideas to Enhance Employee Engagement

First: none of these ideas are quick fixes and should only be used once. Employee engagement is something that should be included in your long-term strategy to build and improve your company's culture. There are many strategies and techniques to help you work on employee engagement, so there is no one-size-fits-all approach.

If you're looking for practical ideas for integrating employee engagement into your workday, first think about what your employees need and see how the tips below can help. And see how your team responds to it. 

5 ideas to enhance employee engagement
5 Ideas to Enhance Employee Engagement

1. Create personal growth plans for employees

Growth and development are the foundation of every career. When employees think they've gotten the most out of their role, they switch off and start looking for new challenges elsewhere. This means that one of the most important aspects of employee engagement is making sure your employees feel like they are constantly growing, learning and being challenged.

It should not be the preserve of senior staff in your organization. Start by creating personal plans for each of them and giving them a road map with instructions to achieve their goals.

You can offer a tuition budget, encourage groups to attend conferences, offer tutoring and courses, or set aside time during the work week for personal development. One thing remains the same, by prioritizing growth and encouraging learning, employees will work harder to find different ways to apply newly learned theories and test more skills.

2. Provide practical ways to act on your company's values

When we share the same goals and values ​​in life as someone else, we feel connected to them. The same is true in professional life. Establish clear and strong values ​​at the foundation of your company and hire people who match and embody them. Not only should you hire based on your company's values, but those values ​​should also be embodied in all the different areas of your organization.

But once we get going, it's often hard to turn them into practical behavior. What does transparency look like in your daily life? How far should courage go? How is accountability practiced in the workplace?

Sit down with your teams and see real, practical examples of how to interpret these values. Practice it. Getting people to understand your company's values, rather than just being aware of them, is a great way to increase employee engagement.

3. Make learning part of work 

There are probably a dozen interesting things going on in your market or in sales, HR, marketing, etc. But if you're focused on the day-to-day, it can be hard to keep up with the latest trends, which means you and your team can miss out on a lot of exciting things. 

Get everyone together regularly to keep up with your skills and what's going on around them. Knowing that your team is up-to-date and has the knowledge to do their jobs as efficiently as the current  market conditions allow increased engagement - and working together is even better.  

4. Invest in team building 

Employee engagement is closely related to intrinsic motivation and is therefore very personal. But don't just focus on the individual. The people around your employees also play a big role in  their engagement. For starters, you can also implement team goals and tie rewards to it. Regular team building activities and making sure  new talent feels welcome and properly introduced will also help. You may want to use an employee engagement platform to  track  your efforts. 

5. Let your employees take the lead 

Delegating tasks is difficult, yes. But it is also important for employee empowerment. It shows that you trust and believe in your employees. Empower employees  to make decisions and hold them accountable for daily tasks. It also speeds up processes: no need to "let me ask my manager". This shows your customers and colleagues that you have highly trained staff that you trust to make the right call.

Monitor your Employees' Pulse Frequently

Understanding your employees' evolving needs and perceptions is crucial for fostering a robust work environment. Acquiring employee feedback on a regular basis can help you gauge the overall sentiment of your workforce.

Here's how to do just that:

1. Implement regular surveys: Periodically checking in with your employees with engagement and pulse surveys, can provide quick insights into their current state of mind, allowing you to proactively identify and address issues.

2. Encourage open communication: Creating an atmosphere of open communication can encourage employees to feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and concerns. Town hall meetings, suggestion boxes, and monthly AMA (Ask Me Anything) sessions are some of the ways to ensure your employees feel valued and heard. Again, implementing surveys is the best way to collect feedback. Making surveys anonymous can encourage employees to state their thoughts more honestly and openly.

3. Identify patterns and trends: Collecting and analyzing employee feedback over a specific time period can help you analyze and understand the long-term trajectory of employee engagement and satisfaction in your organization.

4. Use data to guide C-level decisions: The insights gained from the collected feedback can be used to help your leaders and other top executives implement informed action plans. Acting on this feedback ensures you care about their input, leading to boosted employee morale and trust in leadership.

5. Celebrate successes and acknowledge challenges: Sharing the outcomes of surveys and the actions taken not only increases transparency but also builds a culture of trust and shared responsibility. Celebrate the wins and openly discuss the challenges, showing your commitment to continuous improvement.

6. Automate all 5 of the above with ThriveSparrow: ThriveSparrow is tailored for HR professionals seeking to enhance their employees' experiences. This platform streamlines the survey creation process, making it user-friendly and efficient.

It features advanced tools like heatmaps, which allow managers to visualize engagement levels across different departments easily.

Furthermore, its robust reporting capabilities offer detailed insights into engagement trends, presenting a comprehensive view of how engagement is distributed throughout the organization. This integrated approach helps HR teams effectively monitor and improve employee engagement.

A screenshot of ThriveSparrow's Engagement Trends
ThriveSparrow's Engagement Trends

Learn more about ThriveSparrow here.

Wrapping up

At the end of the day, employee engagement can make or break a business. To ensure long-term success, companies must prioritize this critical aspect of their operations in 2024 and beyond. Use the above 10 simple yet effective engagement practices that can postively impact your work culture. By empowering your employees with personal growth plans, aligning company values with practical applications, integrating learning into everyday work, and investing in team building, you can create a workplace that truly inspires and motivates. And the best part? Employee engagement is a constantly evolving process, so you can continue to adapt and improve over time, creating a sustainable and successful company culture for years to come.