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Workforce Engagement

The involvement and enthusiasm an employee feels toward their place of work will show up in the form of coworker engagement – either for good or for bad. Striving for engaged employees is not a magical solution to solve every problem an organization faces, but it is a recipe that, if followed and adapted to a company’s specific needs, can create a powerful and successful company. 

What is workforce engagement?

Workplace engagement is an HR term used to describe the level of commitment an employee feels towards their job and the company they work for. More than happiness or satisfaction, workplace engagement is a deeper emotional connection employees feel towards their overall work experience and their employers. When employees are engaged at work it will change their motivation in their roles, how committed they feel to the organization, and their passion for the company’s goals. Engaged workers actively contribute their strengths and talents, and feel excited about the impact they can have on their company. This emotional buy-in from employees who are engaged will change their reasons for motivation from a paycheck or a future promotion, to furthering the organization’s goals and mission. This will then snowball into forming a stronger and more favorable company culture. A common thread among employees who feel deeply engaged in their work see their company as highly advantageous, feel an emotional connection with their team of coworkers and genuinely love their work. They will desire to work hard, go the extra mile, recommend the brand to others, and seek to help the company succeed. On the opposite end of the spectrum, disengaged employees feel negatively about their jobs. They may feel indifferent toward the company, or even resentful, and will feel no connection towards helping to achieve the organization’s goals.   

Why improving engagement for employees matters

One doesn’t have to search for very long to hear the difficult challenges many companies are currently facing in today’s work environment. Hearing terms like “the great resignation,” or “the big quit” can send HR leaders into a panic. Looking at BLS statistics from 2022 shows us that over 47 million Americans quit their job in that year alone, and 4 million of those happened in the month of October. Because employees are faced with the reality that their overall well-being takes a major blow by staying in a toxic work environment, they are taking a stand to reshape the standards and expectations in the workplace. Today, more than ever before, workplace engagement is vital to the health and success of a company. Here are reasons why workforce engagement matters:

  1. Higher Employee Retention

What is employee retention and does engagement influence it? Employee retention is a company’s ability (or lack thereof) to retain its workers and prevent high levels of turnover. Looking at rates of a company’s retention shows how many employees are engaged and stick around at their job, and for how long. This is often measured by looking at how often a business is hiring new employees. Signs that retention is a growing problem show up the in form of how engaged employees are with their job and each other. While employee retention rates include the number of workers who are let go for various reasons, the discussion is usually centered on employees who leave voluntarily in search of a better job or opportunity elsewhere. Losing one employee can cost a company thousands of dollars depending on their role in the company. This is why creating an environment where employees are engaged and recognized matters. How much does it cost a company if employees are not engaged and retained? Here’s how the cost shows up:

  • Time lost during the hiring process
  • Negotiating higher salaries with new or replacement hires
  • Decrease in productivity from employees while they take on the extra work
  • Increased levels of burnout in existing employees
  • Missed deadlines
  • Severance packages
  • Potential lawsuits
  • Decreased company culture

When a company has high levels of engagement among their employees they have a higher rate of employee retention. Good employee retention is correlated with increased productivity, better workplace morale, and stronger company culture – all of which make employees motivated to be more engaged in their careers. If a company is noticing a trend of rising turnover rates and is struggling to retain its employees, it will also find lower levels of workforce engagement. Companies who want higher levels of engagement, and are struggling with their retention rates, can implement things like a stronger employee retention policy, incentivizing employees to stay with a retention bonus, increasing workplace appreciation, and researching other employee retention strategies that fit their particular workforce. Taking time to prioritize workplace engagement will have a direct impact on company-wide retention rates.

  1. Increased Employee Productivity

When employees feel highly engaged in their work they will naturally do more for the business, and that motivation directly positively impacts productivity levels. Gallup studies have shown that companies that showed higher levels of workplace engagement experienced a 21 percent productivity increase. Because engaged workers feel emotionally bought-in into the company’s goals and mission, they naturally feel motivated to see the organization succeed and often become the highest performers in the team. Engagement in the workplace often helps employees to feel a greater sense of purpose in the work that they are doing which gives them the ability to go the extra mile. 

  1. Higher Company Profits

When workplace engagement is high it will inevitably have a direct impact on a company’s financial performance. There have been many studies showing that the greater workforce engagement the more likely a company is to experience increased revenue, shareholder value, and profitability. Engaged workers feel more motivated to put their time and talents into helping their workplace achieve their goals. However, it is not just in increased profits that a company will see itself with a greater bottom line. By investing in their employee’s workplace experience and helping them be more engaged in their jobs, they will see it pay off financially in other ways. Engaged workers are more likely to stay at their jobs which helps a company avoid the costs of hiring replacements. As we stated earlier, turnover is costly, and keeping employees feeling engaged helps to keep that money in the business’s pocket. Many studies have also shown that disengaged employees cost U.S. companies billions of dollars each year from a lack of productivity. 

  1. Customer Satisfaction

A happy and engaged workplace is more likely to provide quality customer service than a disengaged counterpart. Because engaged workers feel an emotional connection to their job they are more likely to engage with customers in an inviting, friendly, and authentic way – and customers can tell. Customers can tell when an employee enjoys their job and it makes them more likely to return to that business, as well as recommend it to their friends and family. 

  1. Better Employee Health

Engagement in the workplace will have a significant impact on employees’ health and well-being – in all areas of their lives. Engaged workers are more likely to have better mental health due to a positive work environment, feeling valued and supported, and a sense of community with their team. When engagement levels are high employees say they experience less burnout and overall stress in their jobs. Their physical health is also impacted in a positive way. An employee who enjoys their job will be better able to engage in things like exercise, self-care, and sufficient rest. This leads to less absenteeism, more engagement in illness-preventing measures, and overall healthier lifestyles. 

  1. Decreased Employee Burnout

Workforce engagement has a tremendous effect on rates of burnout among employees. Burnout is described as a reaction to chronic stress and results in things like extreme exhaustion, disconnect, depression, and often a change in careers. Burnout is becoming an increasing problem, especially in jobs such as healthcare and service workers, and it prevents employees from engaging in all areas of their lives. It is linked to an increased risk of physical health complications such as diabetes and heart disease, and a spike in mental health problems. When a workplace has good levels of engagement among their employees they are more likely to have supports in place to prevent reaching such a drastic place before asking for help. They will feel as though their company cares about them and wants them to engage in things like proactive rest, taking days off when needed, and limiting times when they feel overworked. Employers who promote wellness and encourage a healthy boundary between work and home life will reap the benefits through higher levels of workplace engagement and happier, healthier employees. 

  1. Increased Creativity and Innovation

When an employee feels engaged in their workplace they will feel like they are safe and supported by their employers. This environment is a crucial foundation for innovation and creativity. Engagement is the first step to accessing creativity. It will empower workers to take risks, have a sense of ownership in their work, and collaborate with other members of their team. Workplace engagement creates a breeding ground where innovation can thrive. Employees who work in this type of environment are more likely to problem-solve, improve processing, and speak up to share their thoughts and ideas. 

  1. Better Company Culture

A huge incentive for organizations to invest in workplace engagement is the impact it will have on their company culture. A business’s culture is a part of everything it does, from the way they solve problems – to its mission and goals. Engaged workers feel like they are a part of something bigger than themselves and they will want to help to further that success. A positive company culture results in things like diversity, community, work-life balance, growth opportunities, effective communication, and employees who feel proud to work at their jobs. Alternatively, if a company has low levels of engagement, its culture will take a big hit. Workers will be less motivated in their work and lack a sense of belonging. They will be less likely to go the extra mile to see the company succeed, bring negative energy into the workplace, and be more likely to leave their jobs. As a result, the company’s brand and image will suffer, and the cycle will continue to repeat.

What kills workforce engagement?

The importance of workforce engagement in a company’s success cannot be overstated. The benefits listed above that come from high levels of engagement can often make or break a company, especially in today’s job market. In a time when hundreds of thousands of employees are leaving their jobs for better opportunities, causing turnover rates to be sky-high, businesses are being forced to prioritize ways to keep their employees happy and engaged in their work. Before a company can know what they need to focus on when building an engagement strategy it is important to know what things are currently negatively impacting their engagement levels. Here are 10 things that kill workplace engagement in any company:

  1. Layoffs

Layoffs occur when an employee loses their job for reasons out of their control. The decision is usually made by company executives to better the company in some way. Layoffs bring many negative effects for the company, such as bad publicity and the risk of lawsuits, but they also take a big toll on workplace engagement and turnover rates. Numerous companies, despite thinking their layoffs were compassionate, have experienced epic layoff failures and have suffered the consequences. Workplace morale takes a huge hit after a layoff, partially due to the way remaining employees have to struggle with increased workloads and corporate survivors’ guilt. Employees are smart and can often sense when layoffs are coming whether or not their leaders are trying to keep it quiet. After the increase of layoffs in the last few years employees have taken to social media to share their experiences – both the good and the bad. This has led to recruiters realizing that they are facing an uphill battle of challenges as they try and recruit top talent that is willing to stay at the company. HR leaders are also having to try and combat the current trend of “quiet quitting” that is wreaking havoc on workplace engagement and productivity. 

To try and combat the ways that layoffs kill workplace engagement, companies can implement some of the following:

  • Conduct stay interviews to help employees feel like they are being heard so that they are less likely to leave. Most companies use exit interviews, but asking the right questions during stay interviews helps leaders to know what things they need to be changing to bring down levels of turnover.
  • Study other companies’ successes and failures to learn the best ways to lead after layoffs. 
  • Motivate employees after layoffs by building trust and learning effective communication
  1. Lack of Workplace Appreciation

All employees want to be appreciated for the work that they do. We spend so much of our lives at work and often see our co-workers for more time than we do our family and friends. If employees are trying to work hard and feel engaged, but aren’t receiving acknowledgment or appreciation for it, they will start to feel burned out. Going above and beyond can only happen for so long without a leader’s praise or rewards before it becomes too much to sustain. While management might not be able to recognize every good thing an employee does, it isn’t hard to have practices in place to thank team members and show gratitude for their hard work. Without adequate appreciation for valuable contributions, talented employees are more likely to disengage from their work and begin looking elsewhere for a job environment where they will be rewarded and appreciated. Using a simple and easy gesture like a an online group greeting card or shout-out board from Kudoboard is a great way to boost workplace engagement. They might seem small to leaders but they make a big difference in helping employees feel valued, appreciated, and motivated in their roles. 

  1. Poor Communication

Communication is necessary for any workplace to run effectively. Coworkers need to be able to trust each other and have strong communication with one another. When employees feel out of the loop and don’t understand their roles it can get dysfunctional very quickly. When managers are the only ones giving out information or orders to their employees without letting them speak up and ask questions, it makes it difficult to share ideas and work effectively. This flow of communication that only goes in one direction creates a toxic work environment. Communication needs to happen on all levels and should be encouraged so that employees feel like their leaders are transparent, and leaders feel like their team has a voice. When this type of quality communication exists, engagement among employees can thrive – but without it, workplace engagement diminishes quickly.

  1. Leadership Not Focused on Engagement

The type of leadership style a company employs has an impact on the employees and their levels of engagement in their work. If a company is not careful, everything they are doing to build their company and its success can be heavily undermined by their management teams. Leaders often fail to establish authority, effort to engage and elevate employees and gain trust among their teams. This also means employees miss out on helpful feedback to further improve their work. It is easy to see how this style of leadership can erode work engagement among teams. Companies who wish to move their businesses in a forward and up direction will need to address issues within leadership to foster a more results-oriented environment before expecting to see improvement in workplace engagement. 

  1. Lack of Development Creates a Lack of Engagement

Providing opportunities for growth and development tells employees that they are valued and wanted on their teams and that their company is interested in seeing them succeed. When there is a lack of development in their career, the opposite message comes across. The #1 reason employees change jobs in today’s market is a lack of opportunities to grow within their careers. Turnover rates rise when employees become bored and disengaged from the monotonous takes they are asked to do that don’t seem to have any real importance. These otherwise talented employees will often decide to leave to seek out jobs that provide appropriate levels of challenge and chances for growth. When a company lacks this it will negatively impact job satisfaction and work engagement. 

  1. Too Much Competition Reduces Engagement of Employees

Some challenges and competition in a workforce can be beneficial, but too much can lead to a toxic work environment where employees quickly become disengaged. It is not a healthy experience to go to work always pitted against co-workers and only recognized in a positive way when it is in comparison to how others are performing. Yes, competition can be motivating at times, but employees need to feel as though they are valued and able to succeed on their own merit for all of their hard work. Leaders who opt for a regular route of competition can cause employees to lose trust in their co-workers, erode positive aspects of the company culture, and lose sight of the real goals and mission of the company. When these things come together it will undoubtedly lead to lower levels of workplace engagement. 

  1. Unhealthy Work-Life Balance

Having regular time off the clock where there are no lingering “to-do lists” or emails to check is crucial for employees to recharge and stay engaged in their work. People need time to feel engaged in all areas of their life, not just work, to feel satisfied and happy. When employees are regularly messaged outside of work or constantly asked to do more than their job entails, it shows that the company doesn’t respect their employees’ time. This type of culture bleeds employees dry of all their passion and motivation for their work and leads to high levels of disengagement and burnout. Not having healthy boundaries in the workplace is one of the best ways to ensure high turnover and low engagement. 

8. High Turnover starts with Low Engagement of Employees

Many things will cause turnover rates to climb, but it is helpful to know what turnover specifically will do to kill workplace engagement. High turnover rates will cause employees to feel unsafe or uncertain in their jobs as they see their team members regularly leave. They will question their job and are likely to disengage as their morale plummets. As their colleagues leave, it often places extra stress and responsibilities on their shoulders and they are likely to experience overwhelm or burnout as they try to manage the heavier workload. It is difficult for employees to remain engaged and motivated when they are constantly reminded of the difficulties of staying in their positions. This will also impact team dynamics as people are constantly coming and going, making it difficult to create strong work relationships. For a workplace to have thriving engagement levels it is crucial for there to be communication, trust, and cooperation among teams who are not consistently wondering who will be the next person to leave.

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Workforce engagement and the employee experience

Employee experience, often referred to as EX, is a term that has become increasingly popular in the last few years throughout the workplace. It refers to everything a worker hears, sees, feels, and does during their time at a company. It is used to describe a full birds-eye view of all the pieces that come together to make up an employee’s job – from beginning to end. Employees go through six different stages (attract, recruit, onboard, develop, engage/retain, and exit) referred to as the employee journey or employee lifecycle. Each stage directly impacts workplace engagement in its own way – here’s why:

  1. Attraction

What it is: the first impression given to potential employees, whether or not they get hired. Attraction is connected to the public perception of a company and its brand awareness. People are more likely to apply for a job that has an actively positive brand. 

How it affects engagement: This step is the first interaction employees have when a company. Often it is something that happens outside of the company’s direct contact. Based on how an organization runs and builds its company culture, people will either be drawn to apply for a job or feel the need to look elsewhere. If an individual has a positive opinion of a company they are more likely to be excited to join the organization and make an impact in their time there. 

  1. Recruitment

What it is: The recruiting stage deals with finding talented people and starting the hiring process. This step is fragile because everything about the company will nudge the individual to continue the process or back out. That means details like how the application process looks and feels, as well as company reviews online, become much more important. 

How it affects engagement: The interactions an individual has in this stage with recruiters and hiring managers greatly shapes their perceptions of the company. It is here that they get a true first impression of the employees who currently work for the organization and begin to picture themselves as a part of that team. If they see a company full of people who work well together and seem to enjoy their jobs, they are more likely to start their roles with that same optimism and motivation. 

  1. Onboarding

What it is: Onboarding deals with bringing new hires into the company and helping them to assimilate into the team, culture, and work environment. Whether it happens in person or through a virtual onboarding, this is the step that sets employees up to succeed or fail. Here they will learn what their role looks like within the company, the values and goals of the organization, and what type of work environment they will encounter.  

How it affects engagement: The onboarding process can make or break an employee’s experience. If a company has a strong onboarding process they are three times as likely to feel supported and prepared in their roles and feel confident in their ability to perform in their role. A negative experience in this step, especially if it is virtual, has been shown to lower retention rates and decrease levels of confidence and workplace engagement. Onboarding sets the tone and pace for productivity and workplace engagement during the employee experience. For this reason, many companies chose to hire an onboarding specialist to help them prioritize their employees’ engagement and happiness from the beginning. 

  1. Developing

What it is: Development and training is an ongoing practice of providing employees with the opportunity to learn and grow throughout their careers. Employers provide regular training to allow workers the chance to learn new skills, explore interests, and advance in their jobs. 

How it affects engagement: In a 2019 study, 94% of employees said that they would remain at their jobs longer if they had opportunities to learn and grow. When workers are allowed the chance to develop within their jobs in ways that excite them employers will see a significant impact on workplace engagement. Not only will employees feel more excited and motivated in their roles, but improvements will also be seen in company culture and employee retention rates. 

  1. Engagement

What it is: This is the reason you are here! Engagement is the fifth stage of the employee experience, but it is less about checking off a box on a to-do list and more about walking a continual path alongside employees. This step deal with employee happiness and how excited, loyal, and dedicated they feel in their job. 

How it affects workplace engagement: When a company decided to place priority on this step of the employee experience, it shows. Engagement in the workplace is linked to many things like productivity, company culture, job satisfaction, and retention rates. Whether or not engagement levels are high will directly impact the customer experience as well. 

  1. Exit

What it is: In this step an employee is going through the process of separating from their place of work. This can happen for many reasons – layoffs, termination, retirement, or finding a different job opportunity elsewhere. Companies use various types of offboarding strategies to help this process run as smoothly as possible. These include things like team farewell traditions and various exit interviews and surveys.
How it affects engagement: This is the last interaction an employee has with a company before leaving, and it allows managers a chance to gather invaluable information before they go. Vice Presidents of EX can organize and conduct employee surveys, both during their time at the company and when they leave, to understand the company’s strengths and weaknesses so they can implement better initiatives to keep their employees happy and engaged. Being able to recognize signs of a negative employee experience in their workplace points leaders in the right direction of where to start making progress.

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How to improve workforce engagement

Workplace engagement is not something that can be solved with one easy solution. It takes continual effort in a multifaceted approach. Organizations are not one-size-fits-all, which means whatever strategies are used to improve engagement will have to be tailored for each unique team dynamic. Here are commonly used approaches that many companies how found to be effective in improving workplace engagement:

  • Create a positive company culture where employees clearly understand the company’s goals and values, and feel a sense of ownership there. 
  • Invest in quality leadership through development programs to ensure managers are properly equipped to lead with empathy, effective communication, and integrity. 
  • Create better communication and feedback channels so that teams are regularly on the same page and feel able to share feedback, ideas, and concerns.
  • Prioritize DEI initiatives to ensure a work environment where employees feel safe, valued, and supported – regardless of their gender, age, race, religion, etc. Workplace engagement cannot thrive unless DEI programs are implemented effectively. 
  • Implement practices that recognize and reward employees and their hard work. Workplace appreciation is one of the best motivators and it can be free and inexpensive. Group shout-out boards, celebrating important dates, and many other ideas are low-cost ways to make a big difference in workplace engagement. 
  • Offer growth and development opportunities for employees to enhance skills, advance in positions, receive mentoring, and set goals. 
  • Prioritize employee well-being by implementing wellness programs, hybrid work flexibility, proactive rest, healthy work-life balance, and initiatives that help employees feel safe to ask for help.
  • Implement more positivity and morale-boosting strategies in the workplace.
  • Use regular workplace engagement surveys to get feedback from teams on how engaged they are feeling and where they want improvement. These surveys can then be used to create stronger engagement strategies going forward.

Creating a workplace engagement strategy

Designing a custom workplace engagement strategy requires a lot of thought and effort but will pay off in big ways. Taking on this task may seem daunting at first, but taken one step at a time it can come together powerfully. Here are some ideas on how to create a workplace engagement strategy:

  • Take a look at the state of your current workplace and assess the levels of engagement. Use surveys, focus groups, or interviews to gather information. When reviewing this information, chose the main areas where improvement is needed and identify which aspects you want to address first
  • Get company leadership on board with prioritizing engagement. When managers are excited about something it will effortlessly bleed into everything that they do. It is difficult to get anywhere if management does not think engagement strategies are necessary or helpful. 
  • Improve your onboarding process so that you don’t lose valuable engagement from new hires in those first few weeks. Set them up for success with a strong onboarding phase so they know what to expect, what success looks like in their roles, and what goals and values are important to their new employers. 
  • Gather feedback from employees on what types of growth and development opportunities they want and find ways to make them happen. 
  • Identify what key factors play into workplace engagement, especially among current team members. Use surveys or other methods to find which aspects to prioritize. 
  • Set measurable and specific goals, and communicate to everyone involved what those goals are and how to achieve them. Then, use methods to track progress and assess productivity, engagement, and satisfaction.
  • Involve both employees and leaders in decision-making to ensure that all voices are being heard and valued. Once changes are ready to be made, be sure to effectively communicate the new initiatives for engagement so that every team member understands what is happening and what they can expect. 
  • Repeat, repeat, repeat. Regularly assess whether current initiatives are working and what areas still need improvement. Create an environment that fosters open and ongoing communication so that employees feel safe to give feedback or suggestions.

Popular ideas for workplace engagement

  • Have fun together! Work doesn’t have to be serious and dull; team engagement can significantly improve when members have the chance to share in fun activities and celebrations. Even remote teams have plenty of team-building activities that are fun to create meaningful interactions.  
  • When trying to implement more to consider celebrating important days like Juneteenth to value Black employees in your workplace and create a more inclusive environment. 
  • Play games together and implement more team-building activities. Have access to many different activities that can foster better relationships and team morale. 
  • Try hosting “learning lunches” where lunch is catered and, as a team, employees can share what they are working towards, express ideas or concerns, learn new skills, and interact in positive ways.
  • Engage in various wellness programs that help to improve employees’ overall well-being such as meditation classes, health workshops, and other ways to encourage rest.
  • Celebrate holidays and other meaningful dates throughout the year. You can do this by celebrating birthdays, holiday events, handing out Kudboard online cards to celebrate important days as a group. Some commonly celebrated days to recognize at work are:
  • Provide regular training for management to improve their management styles and learn new ideas to try with their ever-changing workplace.
  • Find ways to show appreciation or express gratitude within your field of work. For example, if you work in the healthcare profession consider using a product like Kudoboard to thank healthcare professionals during stressful times like we experienced with the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Start a book club with interested employees to read books connected to your workplace, or that contain information that would positively impact your employees.
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How to improve engagement for hybrid teams

Hybrid workspaces are becoming increasingly more popular in later years and it doesn’t

look like that will be changing any time soon. Studies show that 90% of employees want some form of hybrid flexibility, and 60% say they prefer hybrid work entirely. If companies opt out of offering hybrid roles they will miss out on large groups of top talent, hinder employee performance and productivity, and have lower retention rates. Companies that choose to lean into hybrid work, and strategically create a culture within hybrid workplaces will see considerable benefits. 

Though many employees prefer hybrid options for their roles, it doesn’t come without some challenges and difficulties which require proactive strategies from management. Workplace engagement can at times be difficult to maintain in remote positions when face-to-face interaction is limited. Here are some challenges companies face regarding engagement in the workplace:

  • Communication: hybrid teams can find themselves in situations of miscommunication, or even lack of communication because they are not seeing each other in the office. Remote workers might feel disconnected from the other members of the team causing lost levels of engagement. Finding ways to communicate effectively as a hybrid team.
  • Inclusion: employers may find it difficult to provide equal and fair opportunities to remote and in-office workers. Questions of how to ensure DEI initiatives and goals are being met become harder to answer. Some ways to combat those challenges are to regularly get feedback from all employees, make empathy and vulnerability more present in leadership, conduct mental and emotional check-ins, and prioritize team building. Workplace engagement has the chance to thrive if efforts to provide diversity, equity, and inclusion are prioritized. 
  • Building Relationships: it can be especially difficult to build meaningful connections with team members when there is no in-office interaction regularly. When that connection is lacking, levels of team engagement will inevitably suffer as a result. Management will need to implement ways to keep remote teams connected, celebrate important events like birthdays and holidays, and interact in ways that build trust and camaraderie. Companies like Kudoboard provide helpful solutions for remote teams looking to show workplace appreciation and have fun regardless of distance. 
  • Mentoring and Training: As seen in earlier sections, keeping teams engaged through regular opportunities for growth and development is crucial for high retention rates. Ensuring that remote employees have the same access to learning and training as in-office workers can be tricky, which can leave those who are remote feeling left out and disengaged. Implementing things like mentorship programs and hybrid work policies can help to keep track of the experience of all employees and ensure learning opportunities are available to everyone

Even though remote work comes with its challenges and difficulties, the benefits to both employees and employers can outweigh the bad if management handles things correctly. Doing so will strengthen teams overall and ensure high levels of workplace engagement – both in the office and out.

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Frequently asked questions about how to engage employees

Many factors are at play when looking at why employees today are struggling to stay engaged in their jobs. Here are some of the main culprits:

  • Lack of understanding and emphasis on engagement strategies from management 
  • Employees’ roles not providing enough challenge and opportunity for growth
  • Working for leaders who do not value employee contributions or show integrity
  • Not enough employee recognition and appreciation
  • High levels of stress and burnout
  • Unhealthy expectations regarding work-life balance
  • Toxic workplace culture
  • Fear of layoffs
  • Lack of DEI support

The four main groups who contribute to the success of workplace engagement: company leaders, HR, managers, and the employees themselves. Company leaders set the tone and vision for the company and promote an engaged workplace culture. HR runs the show in the background by organizing engagement initiatives and supporting managers in ensuring teams have the tools and resources needed to fully engage. Managers are on the front lines interacting regularly with team members and building relationships and an environment where workers can thrive. They celebrate team wins and console the losses, provide appreciation, take feedback, and find ways to help their employees grow. Employees play an important part in workplace engagement by giving honest feedback about their engagement levels, assisting in problem-solving, seeking to understand their own stumbling blocks in their productivity and motivation, and willingly creating relationships with their teams.

There are many different methods for tracking and measuring workplace engagement used by management and HR teams. Some of the most popular ones are engagement surveys, pulse surveys, focus groups, productivity metrics, turnover and retention rates, and assessments of interactions with employees.

The terms “workplace engagement” and “workplace satisfaction” are often used interchangeably even though they are not the same. They are correlated with each other, and positive levels of one will greatly impact the levels of the other. Workers who feel satisfied are more likely to be highly engaged, and engaged workers have a greater likelihood of job satisfaction. Satisfaction at work has more to do with employees feeling happy and content, whereas workplace engagement is more related to positive feelings about the overall job experience.