Employee engagement is a cornerstone of organizational success. It impacts nearly every area of a company’s operations, from profits to productivity, and can be used as a benchmark to help measure employee happiness and manager effectiveness. Statistics show that employee engagement is on the rise, but despite this, only around 15% of employees worldwide are currently engaged in their workplace.
Improving employee engagement is a common goal for company leaders, and engagement initiatives can be highly successful with the right approach. With newly available tools and technologies, there have never been more opportunities to drive and measure engagement. We’ve gathered some of the most effective employee engagement strategies that remote teams can implement with the help of digital workplace tools.
What is employee engagement?
The employee engagement definition according to Gallup is the degree to which employees within your organization “willingly go the extra mile, work with passion, and feel a profound connection to their company”. Employees who are more engaged are likely to make positive contributions to your company’s profitability, culture, and reputation; those who are less engaged have the potential to create setbacks in all of these areas.
Three levels of employee engagement
In addition to providing a concise employee engagement definition, Gallup also distinguishes between three different levels of employee engagement. Employees at each of these levels exhibit specific attitudes and behaviors that set them apart from the rest.
- Engaged: These employees are highly invested and involved in the company. They exhibit enthusiasm both towards their individual role and the overall mission of the organization.
- Not engaged: Employees that are not engaged have a neutral attitude towards their work. They show up on time every day but lack the motivation to pursue anything above the basic requirements of their role.
- Actively disengaged: If an employee reaches this level, they not only lack engagement but harbor negative feelings of resentment. This resentment may drive them to intentionally act in ways that undermine the company.
Why does your employee engagement strategy matter?
Employee engagement has many crucial implications that permeate the walls of your organization. Research shows that organizations with higher engagement levels benefit in a number of ways, including:
- 22% higher productivity
- 21% higher profitability
- 25-65% lower turnover
- 48% fewer safety incidents
- 41% fewer quality issues
10 employee engagement ideas for remote teams
One of the challenges that managers of remote teams face is maintaining employee engagement without the ability to interact face to face. But with the help of remote working tools, you’ll find that engagement is not only possible but thrives as employees reap the benefits of working from home. These employee engagement strategies are designed to help you leverage technology to increase, track, and measure engagement across your remote workforce.
1. Give employees the tools they need
According to Deloitte, only 38% of employees are satisfied with the tools and technology their employer supplies them with. In an increasingly digital world, giving employees access to up-to-date tools is not an option. But many companies lag behind, citing barriers such as cost and lack of infrastructure to support a digital transformation initiative. As the U.S. Chamber of Commerce says, “You can’t do a first-class job with third-class tools.”
One answer is to implement an off-the-shelf packaged solution that incorporates a full suite of digital workplace tools. For example, Powell Software’s intranet in a box includes access to Office 365, Microsoft Teams, SharePoint, and more from a single dashboard. Additional needs can be met with easy third-party app integration. The tools are always up to date with the latest features from Microsoft.
2. Provide adequate training
While it’s important to give employees the tools they need, these tools are completely useless without the right training. With a corporate intranet, it’s easy to create and distribute multimedia training materials including documents, videos, and links to third-party resources. Employees can ask questions and exchange knowledge with chat-based tools like Microsoft Teams and even attend live virtual training seminars.
3. Include leadership coaching for managers
As you’re building out a training program for employees, don’t forget about managers. Research by Gallup estimates that 70% of variance in employee engagement can be attributed to management. Managers should take the role of an “engagement-creating coach” instead of an “engagement-destroying boss”; the former empowers employees by nurturing strengths and assigning work accordingly, while the latter takes a transactional approach that focuses merely on work output.
A digital workplace is an important tool that enables managers to step into the type of leadership role you need. The features in a digital workplace allow managers to provide personalized, one-on-one feedback to employees at more frequent intervals, and track their team’s success along the way.
4. Facilitate interpersonal relationships
Your team might work well together in a project setting, but how well do they really know each other? Research in psychology shows that positive social interactions at work have a major impact on boosting engagement, with additional benefits like improved collaboration and lower turnover. According to Gallup, 82% of engaged employees report that their company “encourages close friendships at work”.
A corporate intranet makes peer-to-peer communication easier than ever, with individual and group chats always available to anyone who wants to reach out. Many companies take advantage of group video calls to organize virtual coffee breaks or happy hours in which employees can get to know each other on a more personal level.
5. Conduct surveys
The gold standard for measuring employee engagement is by conducting regular surveys. These surveys measure different aspects of engagement such as basic needs, individual opportunities, teamwork, and growth. With an intranet, surveying employees regularly is simple and flexible with multiple channels available for distribution. You can even customize engagement surveys per department for a more individualized look at each team’s performance.
6. Utilize data
Once you’ve begun conducting regular employee engagement surveys, you’ll have a benchmark against which you can compare data in other areas, such as productivity and turnover, and begin tracking success over time. A good intranet should allow you to do this. For example, the Powell Software analytics dashboard is a customizable tool that measures performance and other key metrics and compares them with engagement data.
7. Encourage regular check-ins
If your managers are only giving feedback to their teams at annual or quarterly reviews, it’s time to step things up. Engaged employees crave frequent one-on-one time with their managers. 89% of HR leaders believe that regular feedback is essential, stating that these evaluations remind employees that their work is important and meaningful.
When managers have access to a digital workplace, they become more accessible to employees, both for formal reviews and quick check-ins. Just one reminder: managers of engaged employees give feedback not only on past performance but on future strategies for personal success.
8. Incorporate recognition
One step that many companies leave out when providing feedback to employees is recognition. 84% of HR professionals say that recognition plays a key role in employee engagement, and recognition between peers is just as important as recognition from managers.
Digital workplaces are an excellent place to launch an employee recognition program. A customizable corporate portal, for example, lets you decide how and where to display acknowledgment of employees who have gone above and beyond.
9. Prioritize employee well-being
Research by Willis Towers Watson shows a shift towards prioritizing employee well-being programs as a way to improve employee engagement. Often these initiatives focus on physical and mental health. But could remote work flexibility, powered by a digital workplace, be a solution? Remote workers are found to have a better work-life balance and even a lower chance of getting sick. While enabling remote work shouldn’t replace your company’s well-being program entirely, it can certainly be an integral part.
10. Set engagement goals
Before you begin leveraging your corporate intranet to drive and track employee engagement, it’s important to ask one question: what are our engagement goals? Whether it’s a certain percentage improvement in engagement survey results or a decrease in turnover, decide which performance indicators are most important to your organization. From there, you can more effectively use your intranet as a tool in your overall employee engagement strategy.