From the Blog

Creating a successful employee engagement strategy in 2023

Employee engagement is no fad – it’s recognised widely by businesses as essential to organisational success. And in 2023, as businesses continue to navigate some tough times, fostering employee engagement is more important than ever.

In this blog post we’ll explore what employee engagement is, why it’s so crucial and unpack what’s involved in creating an employee engagement strategy. We’ll cover:

  • what employee engagement is and how it impacts organisational success
  • the essential factors that promote employee engagement
  • the steps to implementing employee engagement strategies and initiatives (like coaching programs) to engage employees.

What is employee engagement and why does it matter?

Employee engagement refers to the positive emotional connection and commitment that employees have to their roles, other colleagues and the organisation they work for. It covers metrics like job satisfaction and enjoyment, but also includes the effort and motivation that people are willing to put in and the pride they feel in their work.

Effective employee engagement strategies result in more engaged employees; that is, people who are satisfied with their job, take pride in their work and enjoy it, and, significantly, are motivated to put in the effort that makes a difference to your outputs. This has impacts across a range of measures:

  1. Improved productivity: Engaged employees are more likely to perform at their best. They take ownership and are enthusiastic.
  2. Enhanced customer satisfaction: Frontline team members with high levels of engagement provide better customer service, leading to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty.
  3. Reduced attrition: Engaged employees are less likely to leave. Improving retention improves the bottom line, reducing recruitment and training costs.
  4. Improved compliance outcomes: People who are engaged with team and organisational objectives are more likely to understand the value of compliance and what’s required of them.
  5. Increased innovation: Engaged employees feel motivated to contribute innovative ideas and solutions, helping to drive organisational growth.
  6. Better reputation: Employees who take pride in their work and the company they work for help to lift corporate reputation and attract talent.

To achieve the levels of employee engagement that make a difference, you need to put in effort. This is where an employee engagement strategy comes into play. With it you’re more likely to see improved employee engagement levels, happy and motivated employees, improved customer satisfaction, and a positive impact on your organisational objectives.

Don’t underestimate the role of your organisation’s culture

The benefits of lifting employee engagement are immense, so how can you improve it in your business?

There are several factors involved, but before jumping in and developing and implementing employee engagement strategies, an organisation should firstly ensure that it addresses any challenges that are likely to get in the way of its success. Hygiene factors and culture are critical factors here.

If hygiene factors – like uncompetitive remuneration, for example – are not dealt with, even a great employee engagement strategy will have trouble moving the dial. Similarly, a company culture that doesn’t consider improving employee engagement a priority will set the strategy on a course to failure.

Company culture plays a significant role. A commitment to shared values, diversity and inclusion, leadership that recognises contributions, and a focus on learning and coaching contribute to a positive work environment.

A strong company culture can help your business to progress, even in challenging environments.

Aligning company values

Create a sense of shared purpose and boost engagement by ensuring that your company’s core values align with your employees’ personal values. To do this an organisation needs to identify its core values and communicate them to employees clearly and consistently. This helps to unify your workforce, while helping employees understand the company’s objectives and purpose.

Employees should also be encouraged to express their core values and beliefs (e.g., by supporting employee-led initiatives and so on). This can help to strengthen the emotional connection between them and the organisation.

Employees should be able to see a clear connection between their work and the organisation’s overall goals and be clear on the behaviours and activities they need to demonstrate daily to align with company values.

Promoting diversity and inclusion

Inclusive workplaces lead to increased engagement. Actively promoting a culture of inclusion, diversity and respect fosters a sense of belonging and contributes to a healthy, engaged workforce.

If your organisation isn’t working to create an inclusive culture, it will need to take steps to implement diversity and inclusion initiatives such as education programs, fair hiring practices, diverse leadership representation and training to combat bias. These initiatives demonstrate the organisation’s commitment to diversity and help employees feel valued and respected.

Leadership and management

Team leaders, executive teams and management play a crucial role in setting the tone for the organisation. Leaders should be trained – and coached if necessary – to communicate effectively and provide regular feedback.

Supporting employee development, conducting employee coaching and promoting a culture open to learning and improvement will help employees feel that the organisation is invested and interested in them.

The 7 critical components of the best employee engagement strategies

An effective employee engagement strategy requires clear communication, ways to foster employee recognition and a range of professional development opportunities. Here we explore each of these key components and more, providing insights and best practices for creating a successful employee engagement plan.

1.   Communicate clearly

Clear and effective communication improves people’s understanding of their role and responsibilities and how the work they do fits in with the team and wider objectives.

By fostering open lines of communication – including regular updates on company progress and changes – employees are more likely to feel a sense of belonging and involvement with the company.

2.   Recognise employee contributions

Recognising and rewarding employees for their contributions is a powerful tool to drive engagement. Demonstrating appreciation for employees’ efforts fosters their sense of self-worth and can have a big impact on performance and job satisfaction.

Find ways to tell your employees about the impacts their individual contributions have on customers, other team members and the organisation. Recognition can include verbal praise, bonuses and formal acknowledgement of a job well done.

Tailor your approach to fit the preferences of your workplace. For example, introducing innovative methods like team games, gifts and days off can effectively engage people and encourage them to continue striving for success.

3.   Provide employee development opportunities

Offering development opportunities helps employees grow, feel valued and stay engaged in their work. Investing in employees’ professional growth demonstrates a commitment to employees, and people who see a clear path for advancement within an organisation are more likely to stay and grow in their roles.

Training and employee coaching programs, role changes and lateral movement within an organisation are meaningful ways you can improve employee engagement and retention.

Employee coaching and individualised development plans provide employees with the opportunity to progress in their role and career. These plans highlight areas for improvement while coaching supports employees to make the changes needed to improve, making them a powerful tool for career growth. By offering professional development opportunities and embedding consistent, meaningful coaching, businesses can create a more engaged workforce.

4.   Establish coaching programs

Focusing only on performance reviews and organisational or team KPIs is a sure-fire way to disengage employees, so consider how consistent coaching from a manager can provide guidance, support and growth opportunities.

One-to-one coaching conversations where a manager can demonstrate genuine interest in an employee’s life and professional development, workshop hurdles with the employee and discuss outcomes can make a big impact to engagement levels.

By implementing effective coaching programs, companies can provide employees with the support and guidance they need to grow and succeed, resulting in heightened employee engagement and satisfaction.

5.   Remember team building 

Team-building activities can improve collaboration and trust, and promote a sense of unity and camaraderie among employees. Regularly organising team-building activities demonstrates an organisational commitment to creating a positive work environment and helping teams to develop strong working relationships and problem-solving skills.

6.   Promote work-life balance  

Give the people in your organisation the flexibility and work-life balance that they’re looking for. Encourage employees to take breaks, use their annual leave and switch off when they’re not at work. Implement flexible arrangements to accommodate diverse needs (e.g., for parents and carers, people studying). Find ways of creating time for colleagues to connect, have a life and pursue wellness while they’re at work too.

7.   Foster wellbeing

Providing resources and support for employees’ mental and physical health, including Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs), wellness initiatives and stress management tools should be a top priority.

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Key steps to implementing employee engagement strategies

Ready to lift employee engagement? To ensure your strategies are successful, consider the outcomes your organisation wants, get your leadership team on board, seek feedback and follow through. Let’s break it down.

Set clear objectives

What are you aiming to achieve with your employee engagement strategy? Set specific goals, like improving job satisfaction and retention. Consider how you’ll measure when you’ve achieved those goals.

Set the tone from the top

Effective leadership is key to implementing an employee engagement strategy. Programs implemented by HR departments with little follow-up by managers are doomed to fail. Ensure your leaders make time for employee engagement and development.

Consider how leaders should demonstrate the behaviours and values you want to see and engage their team members in development activities.

Encourage leaders to actively listen and seek feedback from employees.

After all, if your managers aren’t engaged in the strategy, how can they encourage employees to participate in initiatives like coaching and development?

Seek feedback and follow through

Employee feedback mechanisms (like an employee engagement survey) are used to track employee engagement in many organisations. They help to uncover potential issues and can offer valuable feedback on how to enhance your employee engagement initiatives.

But giving employees the opportunity to share their experiences, and then not taking action can have a detrimental effect. When issues are identified, prioritise them, prepare a plan of action and communicate that plan.

Benchmark and aim for continuous improvement

Track how engaged your employees are before you start the process. What are their levels of pride in their work, job satisfaction and motivation? Benchmarks help with measuring employee engagement.

And once you see a lift, don’t stop! Keep your employees engaged and continue to boost employee engagement to drive ongoing organisational success.

Employee engagement is an ongoing process that requires continuous monitoring and adjustment. Make sure you regularly review your strategy, get employee input, measure outcomes and adapt when you need to.

Use technology and tools

Invest in technology and tools that facilitate productivity, communication and collaboration.

Software that:

  • streamlines processes (e.g., digitising clunky compliance processes)
  • supports coaching and development (e.g., tracking goals and instilling a coaching cadence) and
  • makes employees’ jobs easier (e.g., messaging platforms)

will help to deliver improved employee engagement outcomes.

Check out YakTrak’s employee coaching software.

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How YakTrak can help lift employee engagement

Improve employee engagement and help your workforce to deliver their best with YakTrak’s employee development software. YakTrak supports a culture of continual learning while providing management with critical insights over the development of employees.

YakTrak holds leaders accountable for investment in employees to be a daily activity. It encourages regular interactions between leaders and team members, setting a regular and consistent cadence for coaching and feedback. It also sends handy notifications to remind you to follow up on development sessions and goals.

YakTrak provides clarity around performance expectations by encouraging goal setting at every level, including the:

  • coach (leader of leaders)
  • team leaders
  • frontline team members.

YakTrak encourages learning in the flow of work, and advocates people getting together more regularly via:

  • huddles
  • team meetings
  • morning stand-ups.

YakTrak streamlines processes by bringing together all forms, workflows and development documentation into the one system. The YakTrak platform can:

  • replicate any coaching or conversation methodology so the language is familiar for team members
  • improve version control and share forms across multiple users including third parties
  • easily update workflows to manage compliance, conduct risk, development and HR processes.

Don’t let a lack of coaching culture damage your organisation’s employee engagement. If you would like to learn how YakTrak can help boost engagement and support your engagement strategy, get in touch today.

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