9 Simple Ideas to Drive Employee Engagement

Leanne Buehler, Ph.D., Principal Science and Innovation AdvisorEmployee EngagementLeave a Comment

Clients often ask us for ideas on best practices for driving employee engagement. At Newmeasures, we believe that actions should be aligned based on the strategic objectives of the organization, as opposed to rolling out generic employee engagement initiatives (think: pizza Fridays, organization-wide training, etc.). That being said, we regularly encounter amazing ideas to drive employee engagement from the organizations we work with. Here are a few to get your creative juices flowing:

Ensure Employees Feel Valued from Day One (or Earlier). We’ve seen organizations do great things to value employees even before their first day. One organization sent every member of the team to say hello to a job candidate they were hoping to hire while he was onsite for the interview process. As a result, the candidate immediately felt valued and got a sense of the culture. We’ve seen other organizations ask new employees questions before their first day such as: what is your favorite candy bar or drink, or what is your t-shirt size? When employees arrive on their first day they are given treats or t-shirts to welcome them in a personalized, meaningful way.

Incorporate “feeling valued” into Regular Meetings. When we look at the thousands of organizations in our database, we see that overwhelmingly businesses are more strongly focused on driving results as opposed to valuing people. To achieve a better balance, some of our clients have used one-on-one meetings to talk about progress toward business goals AND discuss what could be done better to make that person feel valued. This simple agenda item serves as a proactive check-in to make sure employees have what they need to accomplish results and feel appreciated.

No Rules, Just Innovation. Want to encourage new ideas? Put your money where your mouth is. One organization going through a new product launch wanted to tap in to the creative ideas of its employees. They gave each interested employee $800 to generate buzz for the product. No rules, no monitoring – just make a big splash to promote the product (while keeping all activities safe and legal). The result was excitement with employees and the execution of some pretty amazing ideas for a low cost (including a billboard, a polar bear jump, and a well-attended concert).

Recognize Significant Others. When employees are working hard and putting in long hours, it’s not just employees that are impacted, but their loved ones as well. After a particularly taxing project, one organization sent pizza to team members’ homes so the entire family could be recognized and appreciated for the hard work.

Set the Example for Work-Life Balance. Senior leaders set the tone for how long and when people work. One Newmeasures client received feedback that workload was a concern. When the CEO realized that people were watching and noticed that he stayed until late hours every day, he started making sure that at least one day a week he left at 4:30. Through his example, employees started to truly embrace that work-life balance was encouraged.

Reward with Choices and Experiences. Research suggests that experiences bring more happiness compared to physical gifts. Some organizations are tapping into this wisdom to reward employees. Companies like enjoywishlist.com offer rewards in which employees get to choose local experiences from a list of options. The benefit? The employee picks a gift that is meaningful to him/her and connects the positive feelings from the experience with the organization.

Use the Hot Seat. Driving accountability for employee engagement can be a challenge, especially when leaders are focused on running the business. To keep engagement top-of-mind, one organization uses a hot seat method. In each executive meeting, a leader’s name is drawn from a hat. That leader talks about what he/she has done since the last meeting to drive employee engagement. This process is quick and simple and has the benefits of keeping employee engagement front-of-mind for all leaders.

Encourage Well-being. Encouraging health and well-being is beneficial for productivity and morale. One Colorado-based Newmeasures client promoted teamwork and physical activity by having executives lead employees on hikes to the top of 14,000 foot mountains. They then posted the completed hikes on a map in their lobby. Another company encouraged employees to bike to work and provided breakfast when employees arrived at the office. Research shows those organizations that promote physical activity experience fewer sick days, lower healthcare costs and improved morale, making it a win-win for employees and the organization.

Connect Virtual Teams. More and more often we are working in teams where not all of our members are in the same physical location. And yet, the success of business still depends on personal relationships. Several Newmeasures clients have rewarded employees by giving them the opportunity to travel to other locations both internationally and locally. Even having the opportunity to spend time in a different office that may be next door can be a great change of pace and strengthen relationships between colleagues. Such an opportunity also fosters deeper understanding of the organization and how one fits in to the big picture.

We give kudos to the great work being done to promote employee engagement!

What great ideas have you seen to drive employee engagement?