Engaged Employees Rule! 6 Easy Ways to Boost Engagement

Engagement Tips from Glassdoor’s Best Places to Work 2016

Glassdoor, a growing database of more than eight million company reviews, released their Best Places to Work 2016 list. The 50 top employers span diverse industries, locales, and sizes. What do they all have in common? We had Marcie Mueller, our Talent Guru, scour the list to choose the top differentiator and save you time. The answer is simple. 

Engaged employees.

The 4,000+ employee reviews for these 50 companies might say it 4,000 different ways, but ultimately the employees say the same thing: They are engaged at the office.

“It’s vital that leaders proactively tap and develop talent so team members can thrive in their roles and companies can achieve out-of-this world results,” says Marcie, Practice Leader for Talent Development at IMPACT Group.

Without question, the direct manager is the greatest influence on individual engagement, development, productivity and – ultimately – retention. Are you positively influencing employee engagement at your office? You sure about that? It might be time to step up your game. (No pressure or anything.) Take these 6 tips to heart in 2016. 

1. Find the right fit for your talent. 
Do you have the opportunity to do what you do best every day? Tom Rath, author ofStrengthsFinder 2.0, states that employees who answer yes to this question are six times more likely to be engaged. “Do you talk to your team members? Do you know what they enjoy doing?” asks Marcie. “Everyone varies and strengths may change over time, so make this an ongoing conversation.” 

Identify your employees’ strengths and connect them to new opportunities and projects within your company. Putting the right people in the right roles has a direct impact on engagement and productivity.

2. Recognize your employees.
In the Workforce Mood Tracker Survey*: 

  • 86% of employees said being recognized motivated them in their jobs. 
  • 73% of employees credited recognition for impacting their happiness at work. 

The survey notes “companies with social recognition are making a tremendous, measurable impact on engagement, retention, and enablement.” Clearly recognition should be one of your priorities. 

“In our talent programs, we encourage leaders to verbally recognize the importance of a team member’s work,” says Marcie. “Managers need to take an active role in praising colleagues for a job well done to show their contributions matter in the big picture.” Employees feel valued when they know their work is noticed and appreciated, so take time to acknowledge and celebrate your team’s successes. 

3. Nurture positive environments.
It goes without saying that positive environments and engaged employees are a match made in heaven. As a leader, you have the potential to set the tone for your team’s day-to-day office life. 

“When managers learn to build rapport with employees and are open to input and suggestions, it creates a positive and involved environment where employees become more engaged.” Your team’s microculture has a lot to do with this. Be conscious of the tone you set each day and the characteristics you value most in your team. 

4. Care about employee growth.
“Job satisfaction surveys often ask if an employee’s manager cares about her ideas and career development. This has a direct tie to engagement – making investments to develop your talent sends a strong message,” says Marcie. “When an employee knows his leader believes in him and is actively providing learning opportunities, they have a more positive outlook on their company.” 

Not all employees aspire for the corner office or a six-digit salary – but that doesn’t mean growth isn’t important to them. Take a genuine interest in where your employees want their career to go. “Companies might think they don’t have the money to invest in their talent – but I say they can’t afford not to!”

5. Promote inter-office camaraderie.
Gallup developed a list of 12 questions that are effective in measuring employee engagement. One surprising question on the list is: “Do you have a best friend at work?” 

Marcie notes, “There is a high correlation between this question and engagement because strong connections at the office increase collaboration between team members, trust in executive leadership, and ownership of one’s work.” 

Adopt simple ways to encourage people to interact with others outside of their day-to-day groups. “Cross-functional projects and teams provide a great opportunity for people who wouldn’t normally interact to complete a project together,” says Christina Callahan, HR Director at IMPACT Group. “It’s important to deliberately develop opportunities for employees to meet and socialize.” 

6. Value transparency. 
In an employee engagement survey conducted by TINYPulse**, management transparency was identified as the top factor for determining employee happiness. Honesty really is the best policy. 

“I encourage leaders to connect an employee’s role to goal – be transparent about how her role fits into the big picture of the organization,” says Marcie. “Leaders who do this make everyone feel part of the team.” 

Christina adds that great communication is one of the key drivers of employee engagement. “This includes upward, downward, and sideways communication from person-to-person and team-to-team. Even if you only work on one aspect of communication – whether that be helping employees understand how their success impacts the company or having top leaders be more transparent about organizational changes – it can be a factor that increases engagement.”

Don’t settle for mediocre engagement at your office! Begin incorporating these tips today. Your team – and your bottom line – will be noticeably impacted by it. Need a bigger boost in engagement this year? Explore talent development solutions for all your talent needs.

*Workforce Mood Tracker 2014 Report
**TINYPulse Employee Engagement Survey