Easy and Impactful Employee Engagement Ideas

Figuring out how to improve employee engagement is a big focus at many companies because it affects everything from service delivery and customer satisfaction to bottom-line costs. When you create a culture where employees are engaged, it doesn’t just mean they are happy. Engagement means employees are committed to the success of the organization and go above and beyond to help the company reach its goals, without even being asked.

The following employee engagement ideas are simple to put in to practice but go a long way in increasing employee engagement, especially for companies that have remote or dispersed teams.

1. Practice Radical Candor

Radical candor is a concept developed by Kim Scott that encourages leaders to “say what you think while also giving a damn about the person you’re saying it to.” It requires you to “challenge directly”, i.e. provide feedback and criticism, in a manner that shows you “care personally” about the person you are speaking to.

By practicing Radical Candor, leaders and managers demonstrate that they genuinely care about their teams while also helping them do their jobs better. It contrasts the following three actions that do nothing to improve employee engagement and performance:

  • Sugarcoating criticisms and providing vague praise
  • Being cruel when giving criticisms or providing insincere praise
  • Failing to provide any criticism or praise

When employees can expect that they will receive meaningful recognition for their work, as well as advice on what to work on going forward, it transforms the way teams interact. Employees will feel valued by the organization and more comfortable bringing new ideas to the table. As a leader or a manager, this is one most effective employee engagement ideas for making an impact on your team’s performance.

2. Help Employees to Get to Know Each Other

Creating team cohesion and encouraging teams to get to know each other outside of their work responsibilities is a great way to boost engagement and job satisfaction. Gallup research has repeatedly shown a link between having a best friend at work and the amount of effort employees expend in their job.

For example, the research found that women who strongly agree they have a best friend at work are more than twice as likely to be engaged (63 percent) compared with the women who say otherwise (29 percent). Gallup chocks this up to the fact that we now live in an era where many employees expect their job to be more than a paycheck and seek out organizations that have a great culture.

Having work events outside of the office is a great way to help employees get to know each other. Ideas include team lunches, happy hours, holiday parties, off-sites and company retreats. These events where employees can spend time together without talking about work is where relationships are forged.

For remote employees and dispersed teams, such as those in field service, who don’t have regular face time in an office, you have to do things a bit differently. At the most basic level, offsite employees need to be able to communicate with each other in real time. Everyone should be able to easily message, call and video chat with each other to build those important relationships.

Rather than doing a team lunch, for example, you can encourage employees to create groups chats where they talk socially about common interests. These social groups help create that sense of belonging that is so important for employees to have. On top of creating this virtual water cooler, it’s important to still have periodic meetups where employees can connect in person.

3. Focus on Collaboration

There is a huge focus on collaboration in the workplace right now, and rightly so. Improving employees’ team collaboration skills has big benefits when it comes to reducing wasted time and preventing any miscommunication. Added benefits include inspiring creativity and boosting engagement, which yields a huge upside for most organizations

In order to improve collaboration, employees need to be equipped with the right communication and conflict resolution skills, as well as the right employee communication tools. In this post on team collaboration skills, we cover 4 important behavioral aspects of successful collaboration.

On the technology side, employees who aren’t working face to face need to have a real-time secure communication app. Note that email is not a real-time communication tool and will have negative effects on productivity and efficiency if used for collaboration. Additionally, employees should never be putting your business at risk by communicating over consumer solutions like WhatsApp or iMessage.

With a way to communicate, the next step is to provide collaboration apps that match the work employees do. Among desk-based teams, G Suite and Trello are popular choices that allow users to work together on the same document and effectively manage projects.

For deskless teams who spend their days working with their hands and speaking to customers, easy-to-use, mobile-first apps are necessary. When technicians need to work together on a customer problem, having all of the necessary information in one place, rather than locked in different apps is crucial. By choosing a real-time communication app that integrates with the workflow apps technicians use on the job, deskless teams have everything they need to communicate and collaborate.

Top 3 Employee Engagement Ideas

Ideas for how to improve employee engagement are plentiful and experts will surely uncover more and more ways to make an impact in today’s digital workplace.

In the meantime, these three employee engagement ideas are a great place to start. Remember to practice Radical Candor, provide avenues for employees to build relationships, and educate employees on team collaboration skills.

Learn more about Employee Engagement in our post: What Does Employee Engagement Really Look Like?

ABOUT Kristen Wells

Kristen is the senior manager of corporate communications at PTC and editor of Field Service Digital. She is passionate about elevating the stories of women in field service and improving communication between the field and the office. Prior to ServiceMax, Kristen held content marketing roles at startups such as Zinc and cielo24. Kristen holds a B.A. in Communication with an emphasis on Professional Writing from the University of California, Santa Barbara.