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4 easy wins for better employee engagement

Jamie Bell

You know employee engagement is important, but how do you make an impact on it quickly? It seems like most of the efforts and programs that go into creating a big impact also come with a big price tag: not only money, but also time, energy, buy-in, focus, team effort, and so much more.

While it’s not possible to massively move the needle on employee engagement overnight, there are a few things you can do to have a positive impact on your company’s culture with relatively little time or effort.

Here are four of our favorite ways to deliver quick, easy wins to improve employee engagement:

1.) Put focus on (and enforce) monthly one-on-ones

For starters, we all know that one of an employee’s most important relationships at work is with their manager. They can have a huge impact on how engaged (or not) a person is in their work, as well as their overall impression and experience with the company.

Secondly (and I’ve seen this first-hand!) — you would be shocked to know how many of your managers aren’t doing regular one-on-ones with the individuals on their team. Sure, they may be scheduled…but things are “coming up.” They’ll be rescheduled, shortened, or might completely lack clarity (as in the direct report has no idea that meeting is their formal one-on-one).

I recommend a super direct approach to this one: Work with your leadership team and put a strong and direct focus on one-on-ones. Audit each and every manager. Check their calendars, send out a quick survey (“When’s the last time you had a one-on-one with your manager?”), whatever you need to do to get the answers quickly.

Then, reinforce your expectations for leadership. (Typically, we require monthly one-on-ones.) At the company level, this is one of the quickest ways you can have a massive impact on the company’s culture and on employee engagement, even overnight!

2.) Make sure leadership is communicating consistently

Coming in at a close second to monthly one-on-ones is communication. We consistently see companies rank lower in this category when it comes to employee engagement surveys, and most often, the lack of communication is coming from leadership. Your employees want to hear about decisions made, progress on goals, and what the CEO’s focus is for the next week. They don’t want to be left in the dark waiting for a monthly newsletter or a quarterly all-hands meeting; those touchpoints are great, but they’re simply not enough.

The fastest way to improve employee engagement is to establish a consistent, reliable cadence from leadership, and to ensure that communication is heard by all employees. Seriously…start it this week! Don’t worry about polished templates or complicated frameworks. Just write out an update that celebrates your company’s successes and is honest about upcoming challenges. Over time, you’ll find a format that the team really responds to!

That being said: this is where we’d recommend a tool like Workshop, a communications platform built specifically to engage employees (and not just be a one-way email channel). It gives leadership a single, centralized place to share important information, via email, text, or Slack. With its user-friendly design and the added bonuses of comments, reactions, templates, and analytics, it’s the perfect way for leadership to share weekly updates with the team. You can browse the product and request a demo here!

If you’re looking to drive influence straight from the top, we also recommend a weekly update from the CEO, sent every Monday morning. (Here’s a template for that!)

3.) Reinforce the company’s mission and values

Employees want to be a part of a purpose-driven organization, and who wouldn’t want to encourage that?! Your company’s mission and values provide the perfect way for your team to connect their work with your overall purpose. It helps them get a sense of how their individual efforts contributes to the larger goals of the organization, and gives them a clear sense of pride in the importance of their work.

One way we’ve done this in the past: attach your company values to the employee recognition program or efforts you currently have in place! Whether it’s a simple Employee of the Month award (Need a nomination form? Here’s a template!) or a large-scale effort using formal software, folding in your company values is an easy way to recognize how employee performance and company culture work hand-in-hand. For us, we just made it a drop-down on our company ‘kudos’ and internal shoutouts: “This employee exemplified our company value of ________.”

If it’s the mission you want to reiterate, put together a little internal marketing campaign! Work with the creatives within your organization to put together a video, posters, shareable social graphics, or whatever you think might make an impact and get employees energized around the company mission.

4.) Check in with your new hires

BambooHR reports that one-third of new hires have quite a job within the first six months. On top of that, the recent pandemic has highlighted just how much employees want remote work and flexibility…and more than ever, the new hire onboarding process seems more like the new hire is evaluating the company, and less the other way around.

One way to immediately improve employee engagement is to check in with you latest round of new hires, to both make sure they’re bought into and engaged with the company thus far, and to reduce the chance that they’ll leave in the first six months to a year. Find out if there’s any aspect of onboarding that you can improve for future hires, and reinforce elements of onboarding that those new hires are particularly excited about!

Employee engagement often viewed as the key to unlocking employee productivity, low attrition, and creative innovation.

It’s not easy to do, and often requires long-term, cross-departmental efforts, buy-in from leadership, and sufficient budget to make a big impact. However, focusing your efforts on these four shortcuts are a great way to quickly improve employee engagement and set yourself on a great path towards a more positive company culture.

Need help creating an employee engagement action plan? Here’s a free template. 

Also — we’d love it if you shared your favorite employee engagement tips below!

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