Employee engagement is one of the biggest challenges we face in HR. We’re tasked with the job to hire, train and retain great people, but those employees will never be great if they’re not engaged. And currently, less than one-third of all employees feel they’re engaged in their work.
Because we’re not involved in the day-to-day functions, it often feels like employee engagement is out of our control. But here are 5 ways HR can make sure we’re doing everything we can to ensure employees have everything they need to be engaged and are set up for success.
1. Train managers to be proactive in keeping employees engaged. Do they know some of the warning signs of disengaged employees? Do they check in regularly to make sure employees feel engaged with one-on-ones and possibly even regularly scheduled surveys? Are they present in what is really going on with employees, rather than flitting from meeting to meeting? One of the most important parts is just knowing how employees are doing and if they’re not feeling engaged.
2. Educate your employees with knowledge about the company’s greater mission and goals. Do your people know where the company stands? Do they know how their role fits into the greater goals? Do they know why their day-to-day job matters? If HR and managers can focus more on the “why” we’re all there, it’s easier to feel a real part of it. We all want to make a difference. Often just knowing they are making a difference is the key to feeling engaged. HR can have a huge hand in making sure all employees are being educated on the company’s mission. You have an opportunity to bring it up every time you have an employee stop by your office or have a spot in a company meeting. Many companies put their company’s mission on the walls or somewhere it’s accessible to all employees. Keep that “why” front and center in employees’ minds!
3. Act upon feedback. One of the surest ways to lose engagement is by receiving thoughtful, inspired ideas and then just forgetting them. Why not offer employees a place to request their fresh and new ideas? Why not make it a contest and implement the best idea. It can be related to company strategy, processes or even benefits and you can determine the winner(s) with other managers and leaders. Either way, you want people to keep coming up with innovative ideas so you best not be squashing them when they’re aired.
4. Value every single employee. Does HR—and other leaders—know the value each employee brings? Do you believe they make a difference? If you do, they will too. Make sure they feel valued and appreciated for doing their job the best they can, and it will matter—whether it comes from a manager, HR or coworkers. You can appreciate employees easily by noticing and then saying, “I recognize you’re doing a great job” or just a quick, meaningful “thank you.” It’s amazing how hard people will work and feel motivated to be appreciated again.
5. Plan for employee development. Do you care about your employees’ personal growth and development? Does their success matter to you as well? HR knows well that employees need professional development to stay on top of their game. It’s a great idea to budget a certain amount for each department so that when supplemental trainings or conferences come up, you can support employees’ desire to learn and grow. The best part is that their enhanced knowledge always benefits the company. Remember, it’s an investment!
The benefits of having engaged employees are clear. Your employees will be happier in their jobs, which will trickle to customers and coworkers. You’ll see more productive employees who are happy in their work and don’t need to go elsewhere to find a purposeful career. And rest assured, your company will feel the difference.