7 Employee Engagement Strategies to Implement in 2022
Employee engagement is higher than ever — but even so, only 20% of workers globally are engaged, according to Gallup’s State of the Global Workforce: 2021 Report. The costs of disengagement, however, are not so low, estimated at over $8 trillion annually in the U.S.
Recently, we looked at the benefits of using software to create or improve employee engagement strategies. But how do you know which strategies will be the most effective for your business? With so few employees saying they feel engaged, now is the time to address your strategy and strengthen engagement.
There are lots of ways to help your employees stay connected, motivated, and interested in their work. And now, workers are being transparent about what makes them feel engaged. So today, we’re taking a closer look at some employee engagement strategies that work — and that your employees actually want. Head into 2022 with new ideas to engage your A Players.
1. Use A Frequent Feedback Strategy
Employee feedback — both given and received — is an extremely valuable tool for engagement, performance, and retention. Regular feedback can lead to nearly 15% lower turnover, and as we know, a great majority of employees want more feedback.
This is nothing new, as the annual performance review has been on its way out over the past several years. Prior to the pandemic, many companies were already making changes to their evaluation strategy, offering performance feedback more often. The events of 2020 only sped up those changes in many cases. Organizations saw the value of “in-the-moment” feedback and often did away with annual reviews altogether.
Now is also a good time to gather feedback from your employees, too. Though you may be hesitant to ask for feedback while things are still in flux, it tells your employees that their opinions are important at all times.
2. Allow Flexible Schedules
68% of workers said they’d change careers for better work-life balance over better pay. If any of your employees may be part of that number, you might consider allowing more flexibility in their schedules. In general, employees want the freedom to determine their own work schedules (as their roles allow). That includes the flexibility of schedules and work environments: 55% of employees would prefer to continue working remotely at least three days per week.
Another fact that’s become apparent during the pandemic is that working from home doesn’t mean employees are slacking off. Productivity levels have remained stable — 52% of executives say productivity has, in fact, improved, despite the upheaval. Employees agree, with 34% saying they feel more productive than before the pandemic.
There are so many benefits of flexible scheduling:
- Less stress: Very few people like to be micromanaged, so the freedom to set their own hours and take breaks as needed reduces the stress of watching the clock.
- Better work-life balance: Flexible scheduling allows employees to pick children up from school, attend appointments, and avoid burnout.
- More engaged employees: Giving employees more control over their schedules helps reduce absenteeism and increases job satisfaction, morale, and retention.
3. Be Transparent
When employees understand what’s going on at their companies, they’re more likely to feel engaged. Being transparent with employees builds trust and helps them understand the “why” behind their work. It can be difficult to be transparent around things like compensation and professional development opportunities. But, according to one CHRO, it’s worth it to work through those difficulties and create a company culture of transparency to attract and retain top talent.
4. Set SMART Goals
67% of employees whose managers help them set goals are more engaged. Setting and meeting goals is a top indicator of employee success. Goal-setting is motivating and provides clarity around expectations. You can also align individual goals with company goals to help employees see how their work furthers those larger company objectives.
The SMART approach to goal-setting contributes to increased transparency and helps confirm that goals can actually be accomplished as planned. SMART goals are:
5. Consider Well-being To Create Thriving Employees
Gallup’s 2021 report gave us some important insight into factors that affect employee engagement, including overall well-being. Well-being refers to how employees are doing at work and in all other aspects of life. Well-being has an impact on employee engagement, which refers only to how they feel at work. Gallup identified five areas that contribute to a person’s well-being:
- Career well-being: Level of enjoyment of their work
- Community well-being: Satisfaction with where they live
- Social well-being: Fulfilling friendships and relationships
- Financial well-being: Adequate resources and money management abilities
- Physical well-being: Having the energy to get things done
Employees who were thriving reported high levels of satisfaction in all of these areas. When employees are thriving, they’re less likely to experience burnout and, in turn, are more engaged. As Gallup found, employer policies can have a huge impact on employee well-being. In order to remain competitive in the labor market, employers should implement strategies that have a positive impact on well-being:
- Offer professional development opportunities that align with employees’ strengths.
- Encourage better work-life balance with flexible schedules.
- Provide healthcare plans that include mental health and telehealth benefits.
- Incorporate financial wellness resources, like access to a financial planner or money management workshops.
- Start an initiative to help employees get to know each other — anything from a mentorship program to an informal club.
6. Help Employees Create Connections
The last point in the list above is an important one: according to Harvard Business Review, strong relationships at work contribute to increased innovation and productivity. As remote or hybrid work environments become more common and permanent in 2022, those relationships are less likely to happen naturally. New and younger employees are more likely to report difficulty feeling engaged or excited about work.
If you want to improve engagement, you’ll need to be intentional about providing ways for employees to create connections. There are many proven methods to help build relationships at work you can add into your employee engagement strategy:
- Begin a mentorship program. 91% of employees who have a mentor are satisfied with their job. They also prefer mentorship to many other forms of professional development.
- Create avenues for informal conversations. Set up non-work-related messaging groups, start a book club, and/or set up 10-minute randomized coffee chats where employees can connect on a personal level outside of their direct team.
- Make time to connect intentionally. Ask managers to conduct regular one-on-ones with each of their reports. Set aside time during weekly team meetings to chat about how everyone is doing. Designate time to check in with your employees about their life outside of work.
7. Appreciate, Congratulate, Celebrate!
This strategy is a low- to no-cost way to boost morale and engagement, and employees resoundingly agree it’s effective. Recognition programs make employees feel like their contributions are noticed and their work matters. They can also reduce turnover by 31%. According to Great Place to Work®, 37% of employees said recognition that was more personal would motivate them to produce better work.
According to Great Place to Work®, 37% of employees said recognition that was more personal would motivate them to produce better work.
GPTW also observed that feeling appreciated at work is related to higher job satisfaction. They even found that employee recognition can inspire extra effort. Feeling appreciated also led employees to have a more positive perception of their companies. Those employees were over two times more likely to think that promotions are fair, that innovative thinking is embraced, and that people at their company are willing to go above and beyond.
With so many different approaches, employee engagement strategies can get overwhelming. Get back to the basics by asking, what is employee engagement? Employee engagement measures how comfortable, supported, and connected your employees feel with their work, their colleagues, and your company. If your strategies contribute to that goal, you’re on the right track.
Employee engagement measures how comfortable, supported, and connected your employees feel with their work, their colleagues, and your company.
More effective employee engagement strategies are possible with the help of ClearCompany’s award-winning Talent Management Platform. Our Employee Engagement Suite is packed with features including recognition tools, pre-built and custom engagement surveys, and goal planning.
This article was originally published on the ClearCompany blog by Melanie Baravik.