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7 ROI Driven Employee Engagement Strategies to Empower your Workforce

Swetha Bhattacharya

Last Updated: 1 May 2023

In this article:

Simple ways to get your team excited about coming to work

I recently read an extremely compelling argument on social media (yes, it’s an excellent research tool too!) It said, "if jobs can ask candidates for three references, then prospective employees should be able to speak to 3 happy employees too.”



Seems pretty fair, right? While it is not surprising that engaged employees are a company's best weapon against an economic downturn – 92% of business leaders agree that engaged employees make for successful teams and improve business outcomes. However… just 15% of employees across the globe and 35% in the U.S. are "engaged". Does this mean your workforce is unhappy, disengaged, or just not responding to your efforts? What are some ways to gain meaningful employee engagement?

In this article, we will share ten effective methods (with a modern twist) to get genuine employee engagement in a global workplace.

What drives employee engagement?

Often misinterpreted as job satisfaction, employee engagement has more to do with your workforce’s emotions and sentiments. A core human trait is to seek purpose and meaning, and the workplace is not exempt. Employees want to be acknowledged and positively contribute to the greater good. Therefore, employee engagement is the end goal, while employee experience is the journey. 

inFeedo’s people science-backed EX Framework identifies 7 key drivers with 57 elements each that provide a comprehensive and in-depth measure of experience at every touchpoint and stage in an employee’s tenure.

  1. Organization
  2. Manager
  3. Senior Leadership
  4. Team
  5. Organization Culture
  6. Work
  7. Career & Learning

The most significant contributor to today’s failing employee engagement strategies is still considered an “HR-led activity” instead of an ongoing, integrated, and organization-wide phenomenon. If you wish to rehaul your strategy for employee engagement, your plan should focus on pushing the drivers mentioned above. As an HR leader, there are three phases in the journey to employee engagement: 

  1. The beginner: You are trying to understand strategies for engaging employees  
  2. The investigator: You are looking for methods to work on disengaged employees  
  3. The amplifier: You are exploring solutions to increase employee engagement

Regardless of where you are in your journey, here are seven sure-fire ways to enhance employee experience and maintain high engagement rates across departments and teams. 

How can you design a scalable employee engagement strategy?

In a recent study by McKinsey, 70% of employees agreed that their sense of purpose is defined by their work. Most businesses recognize the importance of employee engagement—still, many struggle to create a workplace where employees are truly engaged.

The best strategies to build or improve employee engagement start with the realization that engagement within the workplace is bound to fluctuate. However, you can take these seven steps to ensure your team is happy by focusing on an overarching strategy of building memorable employee experiences. 

1. Define what employee engagement means to your business.

This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s important to understand what employee engagement means to your business: What are you trying to achieve? What does success look like? Clearly defining and announcing the employee experience you wish to provide (therefore, employees should expect) fosters transparency.

Once you have a clear understanding, you can start to put systems and processes in place to help you achieve your goals.

2. Quantify employee engagement

To enable better employee engagement and provide your teams with a meaningful work environment, you need to quantify their current satisfaction level. This metric will give your leaders and organization a benchmark for future trends

The quickest means to quantify is through employee engagement surveys. However, surveys have a bad rep: they’re unidirectional, easy to ignore, require time and effort to analyze, and often skew results with false answers.

Traditional, age-old methods (point-in-time sruveys, quarterly conversations, HR-led activities) cannot solve today’s problems. Unlike most survey solutions in the market today, Amber’s conversational AI questions have been designed to touch base with employees during crucial moments in their tenure. Historically, data suggests employees are most likely to leave during the first 6-months of their employment.

Amber connects and chats with employees beyond the 30-60-90-day milestones, which can be further customized by HR based on the insights she shares. Her modules range from tenure, moments-that-matter to an employee’s exit – curated to meet HR and employee expectations across the employee lifecycle. And most importantly, these modules help relieve a crucial HR problem… that of an unbalanced HRBP-to-employee ratio.

3. Prioritize employees over outcomes

Investing in employee wellness is not only the right thing to do, but it also makes good business sense. Happy and healthy employees are more productive, take fewer sick days, and are more likely to be creative. They are also more engaged with their work and have a positive attitude, which can rub off on their co-workers. Happiness is infectious, after all.

While some short-term costs may be associated with investing in employee wellness, the long-term benefits far outweigh the risks. Employee wellness programs are important in ensuring that employees are taken care of. These programs can include healthcare access, mental health support, and financial planning resources. They can also include fitness and nutrition programs to help employees maintain their health and well-being. 

But you can only achieve these if you know what your employees need. Instead of over-investing, continue to read to find out how you can intelligently become an organization that listens.

4. Build and maintain a listening strategy

What if your date took you to a steakhouse when you’re strictly vegan? The same applies to an organization that offers benefits employees don’t need or are interested in. 

  1. Do your employees effectively utilize your leave policy?
  2. Do they want more courses to further their career?
  3. Is paternity leave an overlooked requirement?

Touch base with your employees to understand what they need at different stages of their lifecycle within your organization. For instance, 1 in 10 employees has left a company because of a poor onboarding experience. On the other hand, an employee who has already been a part of your organization will require a significantly different approach to maintain engagement.

Employees need to feel connected and heard. You’re not expected to be a mind-reader, just a good leader who actively listens. There is nothing wrong with asking your stakeholders what they want, and you’d be surprised how many good ideas might pop up. 

5. Proactively close the loop on employee feedback

Have you ever been left on a blue tick instant message, only to get a reply three months later? It doesn’t feel too great, does it? Similarly, keeping communication open and closing the feedback loop is essential when your team conducts any activity. Employee engagement is not a unidirectional activity – foster an environment where employees and leadership actively listen.

Show your employees that their grievances, appreciation, and critique have been heard and are being acted upon. Go back to them for clarification and leverage their experience to enhance the overall employee experience. Bringing employees into critical business discussions and promoting transparency is a proven employee engagement strategy.

Your work culture needs to reflect your openness to feedback and critique – encourage feedback even when it is not solicited. A dependable environment elicits trust among employees, managers, and your team. Designing an action plan fuelled by employee feedback will earn you happier, aligned employees. 

6. Coach your leadership

Without gaining participation and support from organizational leaders, the potential for your business’ employee engagement will never be fully explored. Multiple studies have found that employees who perceive their senior leaders as effective are more likely to be engaged than those who don't. Additionally, employees who feel their leaders are accessible and approachable are more likely to be engaged than those who don't. 

The numbers don’t lie either: just 15% of employees strongly agree that leadership makes them enthusiastic about the future, and only 28% strongly agree that leadership genuinely cares about their health and well-being. Your managers, HR team, team leaders, and the C-suite should embody everything you preach to employees. But how? Meet the foundational requirements of employee engagement:

  1. Define expectations from your reportees
  2. Clearly outline their future within the organization
  3. Ensure your employees have the employee engagement tools and software
  4. Encourage employees to do what they do best
  5. Lead by example 

It has often been said that managers are the first responders if employees show disengagement. 93% of highly engaged employees are given adequate feedback regarding their work, role, and how they can be better, compared to only 41% of actively disengaged employees. Coach your leadership to identify and proactively act on performers who seem to be disengaged.

7. Invest in professional development

As per the Workforce Happiness Index, May 2020, only 62% of employees felt satisfied by the company's support for their career development. An integral part of feeling a sense of accomplishment or growth within an organization is that employees can further their careers. 

Several organizations mistake this as financial aid for courses. Employees should receive adequate financial support along with mental bandwidth, time, and their manager’s buy-in to provide additional support if required (in the form of study leave or time off work)

Score employee engagement gains in real-time

Employees who feel like they are part of something bigger will want to do what's best for their company and its reputation, which makes them more likely to take the initiative and improve on their own.

But all that great stuff doesn't happen just because you tell your employees to be engaged! Employee engagement initiatives are all about active listening, and listening has to be in real-time. When you consider action in response to employee feedback, you assure your employees that you have both (figurative) ears open. This is the key to creating a great workplace: Making your employees feel heard and valued. 

Creating a great place to work is our mission at inFeedo, something Amber has been doing for over 250+ organizations across 60+ countries and 700,000 employees.

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