A whopping 80% of all the employees in the world are deskless. That is, they work on the front lines and are involved in labour-intensive, highly manual jobs.
Compared to their desk-based counterparts who work in a cosy office, frontline workers have long shifts and are mostly on their feet for long durations. You’ll see them carrying out physical activities like lifting objects and moving around to do their tasks.
The point is, they deserve the same — if not better — treatment and opportunities as your office-based workers. Yet, many companies exclude them from their employee engagement strategies.
And in light of the fact that two-thirds of workers in North America considered quitting their work in 2020, organizations need to step up a notch to engage both their desk-based and frontline staff.
The good news is there are many employee engagement ideas you can implement to turn around the situation. So in this post, we’ll talk about the values and ideas that contribute to a highly engaged workforce.
Values to live by for high employee engagement
Engaged employees can be your greatest business asset. They work harder than disengaged workers, encourage their coworkers, and positively impact your bottom line.
But improving employee engagement is not about what you do. It’s about what you are as an organization, the culture you cultivate, and the values that you live by.
So before we jump into the employee engagement strategies, it’s important to look at the values that form the foundation for those strategies. The core values are:
Respect is an essential consideration for all your high-level decisions about managing employees. For your workers to be engaged at work, they should be able to trust that they are being treated with fairness and respect.
So how do you convey this on the ground level? You pay competitive wages, allow enough breaks, listen to their ideas, and formally recognize excellent performance and value-abiding behaviors.
If your employees aren’t aware of anything about your organization that’s beyond their scope of work or immediate team, you can’t blame them for feeling like an outsider. Sooner or later, they’ll feel isolated and disengaged.
Being in the loop doesn’t just help them do their jobs in a better way, but also makes them feel like they belong. So it’s essential to communicate openly and regularly with all your employees.
The more transparent your communication, the higher level of trust you’ll build with your workers. And the more comfortable they’ll feel sharing their thoughts and concerns, which brings us to the next pillar of employee engagement.
Most organizations follow a top-down approach to employee communication in which frontline employees hardly ever have a say. But these workers often have the best insights because they work directly with customers day in and day out.
So one of the best values to nurture and cultivate for high employee engagement is two-way communication. Give your workers ample opportunities to raise their voice and share what they think. Then act on this feedback to take your employee engagement to the next level.
Employees want to feel valued and appreciated for their efforts. Not being acknowledged is one of the biggest reasons workers quit their jobs. 84% of highly engaged workers were recognized the last time they went the extra mile at work, compared to just 25% of actively disengaged workers.
Frontline employees, for instance, need to be reminded as many times as possible that their contribution to your company is significant. And that it’s just as important as that of the white-collar folks in sales, marketing, or accounting — because it truly is.
Do this regularly, and you’ll see a big spike in employee motivation, morale, and pride.
So, now that you know the four basic principles of increasing employee engagement, let’s see some concrete ideas to put them into practice.
6 actionable employee engagement strategies
Foster co-worker relationships
When employees have cordial relationships with immediate team members and other people in the organization, they are more likely to enjoy the day-to-day.
Workplace relationships don’t just help with networking, but also provide guidance and motivation a worker needs to succeed in his role. So creating opportunities to build and nurture these connections is one of the best employee engagement strategies.
An untapped way to do that is to promote cross-pollination among teams. You can create a program to encourage workers to collaborate, or even temporarily shift to other departments.
Workers from different departments can connect, shares notes, and exchange best practices. This way, they can also try out a recently learned skill or explore different options they might want to pursue in the future.
In fact, there are many cases in which employees consider leaving their organization to pursue a different career path. This program will help you facilitate the lateral moving of an employee to a different department. So they aren’t forced to look elsewhere, and you hit two goals with one stone: high employee engagement and better employee retention.
Rethink physical spaces
Workplace cubicles are dead! And office design trends are evolving fast to ensure high employee engagement.
In the age of globalization, remote work, and contagious viruses, top talent refuses to be caged by suffocating cubicles, leading to rapid change in the way we design office spaces.
Organizations that understand and adapt to this new reality will dominate the competition to acquire the best workers in a shrinking talent pool. So you must consider how workplace design decisions impact worker collaboration and engagement.
For example, a recent trend gaining tremendous momentum is designing for well-being. Employee health is a top priority for companies, and our surroundings play a big role in our well-being.
You’re probably already aware that prolonged sitting is bad for health, while natural elements such as sunlight and plants contribute to better health and efficiency.
So employers are now designing spaces in such a way that they are more open and encourage physical movement, along with strategic placement of cafeteria, restrooms, and sit-stand desks. These measures can reduce stress and increase productivity.
Clarify career pathways
According to an SHRM Report, only 29% of employees are “very satisfied” with the career development opportunities provided by their employers. Yet 41% consider career advancement a very significant factor in job satisfaction.
If you can make workers feel that they can advance their careers without leaving your company, you’ll see a big boost in employee engagement. Workers at every level of your company should be able to view a clear-cut career path ahead and the map to follow that path.
So when formulating employee engagement strategies for your company, see how you can help workers get in complete control of their careers. The more assured they are about achieving their future goals, the more engaged you’ll find them to be.
How to accomplish this? Take your workers’ inputs on where do they see themselves and their schedule in the future. As you do this, here’s a career development plan template that might come in handy.
When you empower employees to take charge of their goal setting in alignment with team objectives, they’ll be more invested in working hard to hit those goals. And they won’t need tight schedules to do the same, leading to an improvement in overall satisfaction.
Provide training and learning opportunities
Helping workers learn new skills and investing in their professional development is crucial to their engagement. According to Deloitte’s Human Capital Survey, people rank “opportunity to learn” as one of the major factors that attract them to a job.
There are many measures you can take to facilitate worker education:
- Conduct online workshops that support employees’ learning goals.
- Make educational content easily accessible through a central repository.
- Provide reimbursements for courses workers enroll in.
When you invest in workers’ learning and development, you are sending a message that your company is committed to them for the long term. And this demonstration of commitment makes them far more likely to give their 100% on the job.
Improve internal branding
When someone asks where they work, your workers can feel absolute pleasure, cold apathy, or even disdain or embarrassment answering that question. It all depends on your company’s reputation inside and outside the premises.
Money is undoubtedly a strong motivator, but employees also want to feel proud of where they work. The strength of your organization’s brand and what it stands for is directly related to your workers’ level of engagement.
That makes internal branding one of the most crucial employee engagement strategies. It means you need to ensure that your workers understand and have faith in your mission, vision, and values. The more convinced they are of what your brand stands for, the more likely they are to emulate behaviours that speak to the same values.
The famous supermarket chain Trader Joe’s is a great example. It has designed a fun and quirky environment for both workers and customers, with the workers conveying its brand values through different aspects of their job.
The way they name products, design signage, décorate the store, and interact with customers — everything aligns with the Trader Joe’s brand.
The checkout process is just as warm, friendly, and casual. Workers display enthusiasm and a genuine desire to help with their feedback and expertise on the products.
This goes on to show that when done correctly, internal branding can create a virtuous cycle. It will attract workers who love your brand, who will further communicate their passion to your customers and partners, thereby enhancing the brand and attracting more top talent.
Encourage diversity and inclusion
The most engaged teams also tend to be the most diverse. Every segment and every department of your organization must feel included for true employee engagement.
Warehouse workers, for example, are typically secluded from other employees. If they continue to feel left out, their engagement is likely to suffer. So take steps to ensure that everyone has a sense of belonging.
One such step can be holding a monthly synthesis session. The leader of each department can come to the forefront for about 15 minutes and share his department’s challenges, accomplishments, and future outlook. And the remaining time can be allocated for employee questions and suggestions.
Such open communication should permeate every stage of the employee lifecycle. At the team level, for example, managers can schedule annual stay interviews.
As compared to an exit interview that’s conducted when an employee leaves, a stay interview is a proactive way to learn how to influence a worker’s decision to stay. And it’s a good place to ask questions such as:
- Is there something you want to be doing you aren’t?
- What are the key things you want to achieve right now?
- Are we providing what you need to reach those goals?
No one wants employee disengagement. It’s costly and damaging to morale. Plus, disengaged workers make errors at a 60% higher rate.
But still, many companies turn a blind eye to the issue. They wait to take concrete action and implement employee engagement strategies until things get out of hand.
The good news is that improving employee engagement is both possible and measurable. You need the right steps and serious execution.
So take a good look at your present culture and see which of these strategies will be a good start for you.
Remember, your company is a community. And communities prosper only when every member and segment feels valued, trusted, and respected.
Blink is an internal communications tool that can help take your employee engagement to new heights. Request a free demo to get started.