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4 Actionable Activities to Boost Long-Term Employee Engagement

Brian C. McIlravey

July 17, 2020 · 4 min read
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Over the past few months, organizations have had to adapt their daily business operations while empowering their workforce to remain productive during a pandemic. Employee engagement, which was already a challenge for some organizations, became even more complex. But those who recognize the positive impact of an engaged employee base are in the best position to navigate what comes next.

Successful companies know from experience that when employees are engaged, business benefits are sure to follow. By devoting some well-deserved attention to the people who keep the business running every day, organizations can realize higher profit growth and improved productivity, as well as greater customer loyalty and employee retention.

So, what steps can you implement to build and sustain engagement? We’ve put together a list of employee engagement activities that can help you make sure your efforts are headed in the right direction.

#1: Get leadership on board

Company culture starts at the top. Executives can make or break the success of your employee engagement initiatives. Your leaders have the power to create an open and transparent culture where collaboration, communication, and innovation drive revenue and growth.

Key actions:

  • Keep the dialogue open. A healthy company culture starts by proactively communicating with employees. Provide digital channels to easily communicate updates and address employee comments, feedback, and ideas.
  • Get leaders participating. Encourage transparency and a rapid flow of open communication and ideas between employees and executives. Invite employees to participate in business planning and decision-making sessions (even those in non-leadership positions).
  • Demonstrate the business value of employee engagement. Done well, employee engagement programs should simultaneously cut costs and increase profits, according to Gallup research. To ensure executive buy-in for ongoing employee engagement efforts, provide data that shows the financial benefits.

#2: Engage employees from day one

An employee’s first few weeks at a job can determine how long they stay with the organization. A study from 2019 found that 69 percent of employees are more likely to stay with a company three-plus years after a positive onboarding experience. You can inspire and motivate new hires with an effective onboarding experience that focuses on engagement.

Key actions:

  • Provide a knowledge base of policies and a forum to ask questions. Giving employees multiple channels to learn about the company in their first few weeks will help them ramp up faster and feel confident about taking on their first set of projects.
  • Create a structured, easy-to-navigate onboarding experience. Provide instructions for setting up their personal profile, managing subscriptions, learning about tools and processes, connecting with peers and SMEs, and finding important information.
  • Consider providing access to your onboarding center before day one. New employees are excited to join your team, and are eager to learn about your company’s mission, vision, and values – and what it takes to succeed. Help them get a head start by providing access to your onboarding resources.

#3: Treat employees like customers

In today’s job market, employees can be selective about where they work – and how long they stay. Treat employees like customers whose loyalty and attention must be earned, and you’ll have a better shot at retaining them for the long term.

Key actions:

  • Map out the employee journey. Be honest about potential career paths. Create clear expectations for their performance, with benchmarks to help them gauge their progress – and offer your full support every step of the way.
  • Approach employee engagement like a marketing campaign. As an HR leader, your “product” is the employee experience. Take steps to find out what employees think and feel to make sure you’re on the right track. Identify key influencers who believe in your company’s vision and mission – then harness their influence to launch positive change programs across the business.
  • Adopt flexible workplace technologies that allow employees to work on their terms. Do your remote workers feel equipped to do great work, no matter where they are? Provide online tools that offer easy access to peers, knowledge, content, and expertise – centralized on your company intranet via a single login.

Step #4: Reward the right behaviors

Recognize employees who exemplify company values – and watch how it reinforces their commitment to your vision and mission. Employees who demonstrate behaviors and attitudes that align with the company mandate will help build your brand with customers and will encourage leadership buy-in for your recognition programs.

Key actions:

  • Create an online recognition center. Give leaders and colleagues a centralized spot to share company-wide kudos, peer nominations, and promotions.
  • Launch employee performance management and recognition programs that align with your company values. Sharing exactly how employees have earned the recognition will help others know what to strive toward.
  • Encourage employees to share stories that show them “living” the company values. Find multiple avenues to celebrate staff achievements such as the company intranet, departmental meetings, social events, etc.

Give employees what they want

Engaged employees are an immensely valuable resource. They are more likely to work hard, think creatively, and produce better results – and that can have a profound impact on an organization’s profitability and productivity.

The key to engagement is to give employees what they really want:

  • To understand how their work aligns with company objectives
  • To find meaning and value in what they do
  • To feel acknowledged and appreciated
  • To know that their voice is heard

Improve employee engagement with digital workplace solutions

At Igloo, we work closely with our customers to build and deploy digital workplace solutions that address their key business challenges.

If you need tools to help you improve employee engagement without replacing the entire company intranet, you might want to consider a “Culture & Engagement” Zone instead. It’s designed to help HR teams meet their specific goals and includes these pre-built solutions:

  • Newsroom: Build stronger connections to the organization by keeping everyone in the know about company and industry news.
  • Social Center: Encourage employees to build personal relationships with a social newsfeed, events calendar, photo wall, and classified ads forum.
  • Recognition Center: Acknowledge and reward employees, announce promotions, and let people recognize colleagues in this one-stop solution.
  • Health and Wellness Center: Give employees a place to achieve work-life balance with a blog, nutrition area, and forums for sharing tips and advice.

Learn more about Department Zones for HR here.