In the new world of hybrid work and shifting work culture, many organizations are struggling with a diminishing sense of workplace connectedness and overall declining sentiment. With the continued challenge of finding and keeping talent, employee commitment is becoming an existential concern. For example, our own research has found that disconnected employees are 4x more likely to resign in the next six months. How can you design an effective engagement program to keep employees on board, aligned, and contributing?
Enboarder’s recently published report, “The Future of Connection at Work: 2023 Global Employee Connection Survey,” offers some insight. Those findings highlight the importance of designing engagement programs that employees will use and value. Most importantly, it focuses on the core elements of authenticity, flexibility, and human connection — and how pivotal they can be in building employee engagement programs that actually engage.
Let’s take a closer look at these three strategies and how they can be deployed as part of an effective employee engagement programs.
Effective Employee Engagement: Align to Authenticity
As you create engagement opportunities within an organization, authenticity is crucial. Our recent research showed that employee participation is highest in peer learning and career development programs. However, the effectiveness of these programs is contingent upon their alignment with company values and the incorporation of employee feedback. Programs that do not feel inauthentic or forced — but are employee-driven — will resonate with participants.
Here are a few tips for adding more authenticity to your engagement programs:
Review and Align Programs With Company Values
- Evaluate current people programs and align them with organizational values.
- Involve employees in discussions about the company’s values and solicit their feedback on program alignment.
- Ensure programs are more employee-driven, avoiding the pitfalls of “forced fun” and top-down mandates.
Personalize Engagement Initiatives
- Programs that are tailored to individual needs and roles will feel more relevant and authentic to employees. They also increase their relevance and participation, addressing the concern of 21% of respondents who find programs irrelevant to their roles.
- Tactics like department-specific learning and development sessions can also address specific training needs and increase the resonance of these programs with employees.
Effective Employee Engagement: The Flexibility Factor
Another basic but critical determinant of employee participation in engagement programs is simply the convenience of timing. In our research, 43% of respondents cited inconvenient times as a barrier to taking part in programs. The emphasis should, therefore, be on creating self-paced, flexible programs that accommodate the varied schedules of employees and prevent information overload.
Here are some strategies for creating more flexible engagement opportunities:
Gather Feedback on Scheduling:
- Incorporate employee input when scheduling training sessions or events.
- Offer shorter, more frequent training sessions spread over longer periods.
Offer Self-Paced Journeys:
- Develop programs that allow employees to engage on their own time without feeling overwhelmed.
Effective Employee Engagement: Build on a Foundation of Human Connection
Finally, and most importantly, human connection should be part of any and every HR initiative, forging connections within teams and also between them and with the organization at large. Establishing connections is vital for enhancing social capital and fostering a sense of belonging among employees. Our recent research underscores the fact that employees yearn for structured and consistent programs that connect them to other people in meaningful ways.
Here are a few tips for imbuing human connection into your engagement programs:
Implement Peer Learning, Mentoring, and Career Development Programs:
- Peer learning, mentoring, and career development opportunities are highly welcome programs that employees find beneficial not only to their careers but to their employee experience as they connect with others and form lasting ties. Increase their frequency and accessibility to maximize participation and impact.
- Make the programs accessible, authentic, and relevant to employees’ roles to further increase participation and impact.
Prioritize Inclusive, Connection-Driven Programs:
- Place relationships and connections at the core of every engagement opportunity to foster a sense of ownership and commitment and enhance the overall culture.
- Employees are interested in DEI initiatives. Developing and enhancing these programs will meet those needs and also serve to strengthen workplace relationships and inclusivity.
In an age where we are often distanced from one another at work, going back to the basics and focusing on these strategies is important. According to our research, taking this three-pronged approach to designing engagement programs will result in programs that employees actually want to participate in — as well as several other important benefits:
- Boosts Employer Brand: Employees satisfied with engagement initiatives are twice as likely to recommend their workplace.
- Increases Productivity and Innovation: Satisfaction with engagement programs correlates with a workplace that encourages innovation and motivates going above and beyond job responsibilities.
- Enhances Employee Retention: Satisfied employees are likely to have longer tenures, with 44% planning to stay for more than five years.
- Contributes to Revenue Growth: A whopping 80% of satisfied employees reported organizational revenue growth over the past year.
- Promotes Workplace Connection: The vast majority of satisfied employees feel connected to their co-workers and have strong workplace friendships.
If you are looking to foster a working environment where every employee feels valued, connected, and engaged, you might want to explore further in our e-book, “The Enboarder Engagement Model: A New Way Forward” for a guide on leveraging the science of motivation and human connection to fully engage your people.
Enboarder can help you create the infrastructure to support more human engagement programs, bringing people closer to your organization and each other. Reach out to us today for a tour of the platform.