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4 Tips To Improve Employee Engagement


Every business manager should understand the importance of employee engagement. As Bamboo HR points out, high employee engagement can result in a multitude of benefits such as better employee retention, better employee brand and thus strong marketing, and a more productive and financially successful workplace. Workshops and consultants all have their grand ideas for how to improve employee engagement, who promise to tell their wise secrets for a stiff fee.

In fact, improving employee engagement is not that hard or expensive because engagement is not about offering cool perks or the most money. It is about making workers feel like they are in a place they belong.

It is hardly surprising that as many of the social institutions where people congregated such as churches or civic organizations have weakened over the past few decades, people are turning to their workplaces to be that institution. Whether that is good for society as a whole is an entirely different topic, but business managers should do what they can to make workers feel wanted, engaged, and that they are moving forwards to a better place.

So how can business managers improve employee engagement? Here are four, simple powerful tips to do so.


Every business leaders should know the benefits of listening. The Houston Chronicle notes that listening can foster better customer relations or reduce conflict among other benefits. Listening is also a crucial tool towards improving employee engagement, because there is no “one size fits all approach” for this problem. Different employees have different motivations, and only through listening can you figure out each of their motivations.

Plenty of companies run employee engagement surveys to figure out what employees want, but too many companies collect this data and toss it down a memory hole. An ignored survey is even worse than no survey at all as it shows management’s lack of respect for workers who put their effort in filling out said survey. Consequently, any survey should have specific data which your organization’s leadership can act upon. Also publicize the results of said survey, and discuss with employees how you plan to address their concerns.

Have Good Managers

Any business leader at the top can talk about employee engagement, but that means nothing if your managers do not value it nor care about their employees’ success. Management is the single biggest thing which can make or break an employee’s engagement level, and so it is critical to make the right hires whether you hire from outside or promote from inside.

This is the reason for the old adage “Hire for character, train for skill.” A manager with many skills but a poor character will lack the ability to manage employees, making for a contentious relationship and disengaged employees. Always be open to training bright, sociable people on the skills they need to become managers, and make sure that they understand the importance of listening, empowering their employees, and do not attempt to handle everything themselves.

Be Wary of Social Events

Plenty of business websites such as Entrepreneur will say that a great way to build employee engagement and cooperation is to have fun events outside the workplace. The idea is that a softball tournament or blood drive can be a good way for coworkers to build bonds by being close to one another.

The problem is that effective social events do better as a way of fostering positive employee engagement that already exists instead of a way to create employee engagement out of scratch. If your employees are already disengaged, and won’t even click here when asked, forcing them to spend time with coworkers and managers they dislike will only worsen their morale. And even if they enjoy the event, having fun at a party or movie for two hours will hardly compensate for 40 hours of drudgery and disengagement.

If you want to improve employee engagement in the workplace, focus on the workplace first. Only when that sense of engagement is created should you consider getting the softball gear out. 

Promote a Reasonable Drive for Improvement

A good workplace needs a certain level of stress and tension to truly thrive. Everyone knows the downsides of too much stress, but too little stress can lead to boredom and counterproductive activities such as Internet browsing and gossip.

Good tension means that employees have meaningful work and they can see how their hard work has led to good results. That can either take the form of how it has impacted the company or world, or how they have grown either within the company or as a person. Employees are not just motivated by money, and want to know that their work matters. That is good for employers who wants workers that are more than mercenaries who will leave the company on a moment’s notice.

Set standards for what is expected from workers, hold people accountable to those standards including yourself, and reward workers who reach and exceed those standards. Make all of that visible, and you will promote employee engagement more effectively than with a high wage and social events. 

One Response

  1. I agree with the author’s
    I agree with the author’s focus on engagement and making employees feel like they belong. Industry leaders, like Southwest Airlines, Capital One and BHP Billiton, and hundreds of private companies empower employees to think and act like owners, driving and participating in the profitable growth of the company like true partners in the business. Their engagement and business results speak for themselves. These Forbes and Harvard Business Review articles provide more background:

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