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January 11, 2024
|
5 mins to read

How to actually boost employee engagement

We're rethinking the concept of employee engagement, and exploring six key ways to actually make a difference.
Alex Mullen
Web Content Writer

If you’re an L&D professional, the chances are you spend a lot of time thinking about employee engagement.

After all, isn’t that the entire point of Learning and Development? How can we engage our employees so that they feel invested in both their own development, and that of the organisation?

From employee satisfaction surveys, to gamification, to learning initiatives, L&D teams across the world work tirelessly in the noble pursuit of engaging their people. But research released by Gartner reveals something interesting about this issue: 60% of employees don’t even know the meaning of the word.

From the Gartner report:

“...Employees don’t understand what their organisation is currently doing to increase engagement. Gartner analysis found that this is in part because “engagement” is an HR term that doesn’t resonate with employees.”

This research proves that we need to be rethinking how we approach the issue of employee engagement. So, how do we go about actually boosting employee engagement in a meaningful way that has a long-lasting impact? We’ve identified six ways to get started.

Listen

Starting a blog about employee engagement aimed at L&D professionals with the advice “listen to your employees!” might be preaching the obvious to the choir, but hear us out.

Another thing that the Gartner report exposed was the fact that “listening to your employees,” just like the word “engagement,” is often misinterpreted or misunderstood. The research found that while employers would try to boost engagement by adding more initiatives, what employees actually wanted were “fixes to difficult processes.”

Now as a disclaimer, we at Thrive obviously believe that Learning and Development is a crucial part of employee engagement. That being said, it’s imperative that you build a solid foundation before adding it on top. Simply pushing L&D onto your employees won’t fix existing issues; it will merely add to their to-do list.

It’s crucial that employers actually talk to the workforce to find out the true root of dissatisfaction. What could we change to make their jobs easier? What isn’t working?

Acting on this feedback should be the first step. This, in turn, gives everyone the tools to do their jobs without complications.

Learning and Development

Once you’ve laid the solid foundation for the rest of your efforts, you can focus on Learning and Development.

It’s no secret that when approached in the right way, Learning and Development is a huge boon to employee engagement. This shouldn’t simply be something that you throw at the wall to see if it sticks; it should be a focussed, measured practice that practically addresses your employees’ needs and those of the business.

Of course we’re biased, but we happen to think that a learning platform is an indispensable piece of technology when it comes to focussed Learning and Development. This allows you to store all your own content (and even off-the-shelf content) in one central place, and create custom learning strategies for each individual.

When employees feel that their employer is invested in their professional development, they are more likely to feel a sense of autonomy and, yes, engagement. In fact, one study found that 80% of employees feel that learning new skills would make them more engaged.

Make sure that your Learning and Development strategy strikes the balance between mandatory compliance training, sector-specific training, and optional learning. This combination forms a well-balanced recipe, leading to employees feeling empowered within their roles, knowledgeable, and invested.

Feedback and communication

People tend to get demotivated when they feel they don’t have a voice.

Equally, people can’t meaningfully engage with their work if they don’t know what they’re doing well or how they could improve.

By creating a culture of feedback and communication that goes both ways, you let your employees know that you’re listening, and that you’re invested in them. Provide regular performance reviews, feedback and goals. Celebrate their wins, and help them connect to their purpose.

Speaking of which…

Purpose and connection

Another way to boost engagement is for employees to connect with the organisation’s purpose or values. It’s been found that “purpose” is actually one of the biggest drivers of employee engagement, with 82% of people saying that it’s important to have a purpose at work according to this McKinsey and Company Report.

This is a two-pronged strategy: Your people need to connect to both the company’s mission, and their role within it. What impact does their work have on the wider organisation, on individuals, on the world?

For organisations whose work impacts individuals, consider finding employees who typically don’t witness the outcomes of their work, and directly connecting them with the people who benefit from it.

From American author and professor, Adam Grant:

“We bring in one person who’s benefited from the work that you do—to talk for five minutes about its impact—and we get over a 400 percent caller-by-caller spike in weekly productivity.”


Coaching and mentorship

Mentorship and coaching are both crucial elements of employee engagement.

Linking back to our points on feedback and communication, it’s invaluable to provide employees with a genuine sense of long-term guidance. We’ve explored how coaching can change the game for you and your people in this informative article by Coach Aimee Young, which provides this advice:

“In coaching, the aim is fundamentally to help the individual improve their own performance; teaching them new ways of working, and challenging habits or thinking patterns that might be holding them back. A great coach believes that each person already has the answers within themselves, and merely needs help to find them. Whilst coaching isn’t therapy or counselling, it is a relationship that relies on trust, vulnerability and honesty.”

According to Aimee, coaching helps workplaces to reach more people, create lasting behaviour change, and have this ripple through the organisation at every level - not just senior leadership!

Create a coaching culture that starts from the top-down, ensuring leaders have bought into the impact coaching will have. From there, you can train management in coaching skills that they can weave into their everyday conversations.

Autonomy

Autonomy is such a valuable ingredient in employee engagement. Autonomous employees are not rigidly restricted, or told how and when to work. This then gives them the freedom to explore their own professional development, and work in the way that benefits them (and the company!) the best.

Autonomy isn’t just a HR buzzword that’s being thrown around for brownie points - there’s tangible research to prove its positive outcomes. According to a report by Effectory, 79% of highly autonomous employees report high levels of engagement - which just serves to further demonstrate the direct link between these two things.

The word “autonomy” can sadly have some dinosaur CEOs and leadership teams quaking in their boots. So, to set the record straight: It is not about creating a no-rules, no-structure, Lord of the Flies style working environment where everyone runs amok and the business suffers because of it.

Instead, it is about providing structure and guidance, and then giving people the freedom to work at their own pace and chosen environments within this structure. Autonomous employees are still given clear goals and tasks - but they don’t have anyone breathing down their neck while they complete them.

Not only does this boost employee engagement; it also leads to more innovative, successful businesses.

Thanks for reading our guide to rethinking employee engagement. To see how other customers such as Ted Baker have used Thrive to increase engagement by 77%, with 140,000+ content views and 57% of their content being shared by the employees themselves, book a demo with a member of our amazing team today.

Something to add? Join in the conversation over on LinkedIn.

More Stories

See all

See Thrive in action

Explore what impact Thrive could make for your team and your learners today.

January 11, 2024
|
5 mins to read

How to actually boost employee engagement

We're rethinking the concept of employee engagement, and exploring six key ways to actually make a difference.
Alex Mullen
Web Content Writer

If you’re an L&D professional, the chances are you spend a lot of time thinking about employee engagement.

After all, isn’t that the entire point of Learning and Development? How can we engage our employees so that they feel invested in both their own development, and that of the organisation?

From employee satisfaction surveys, to gamification, to learning initiatives, L&D teams across the world work tirelessly in the noble pursuit of engaging their people. But research released by Gartner reveals something interesting about this issue: 60% of employees don’t even know the meaning of the word.

From the Gartner report:

“...Employees don’t understand what their organisation is currently doing to increase engagement. Gartner analysis found that this is in part because “engagement” is an HR term that doesn’t resonate with employees.”

This research proves that we need to be rethinking how we approach the issue of employee engagement. So, how do we go about actually boosting employee engagement in a meaningful way that has a long-lasting impact? We’ve identified six ways to get started.

Listen

Starting a blog about employee engagement aimed at L&D professionals with the advice “listen to your employees!” might be preaching the obvious to the choir, but hear us out.

Another thing that the Gartner report exposed was the fact that “listening to your employees,” just like the word “engagement,” is often misinterpreted or misunderstood. The research found that while employers would try to boost engagement by adding more initiatives, what employees actually wanted were “fixes to difficult processes.”

Now as a disclaimer, we at Thrive obviously believe that Learning and Development is a crucial part of employee engagement. That being said, it’s imperative that you build a solid foundation before adding it on top. Simply pushing L&D onto your employees won’t fix existing issues; it will merely add to their to-do list.

It’s crucial that employers actually talk to the workforce to find out the true root of dissatisfaction. What could we change to make their jobs easier? What isn’t working?

Acting on this feedback should be the first step. This, in turn, gives everyone the tools to do their jobs without complications.

Learning and Development

Once you’ve laid the solid foundation for the rest of your efforts, you can focus on Learning and Development.

It’s no secret that when approached in the right way, Learning and Development is a huge boon to employee engagement. This shouldn’t simply be something that you throw at the wall to see if it sticks; it should be a focussed, measured practice that practically addresses your employees’ needs and those of the business.

Of course we’re biased, but we happen to think that a learning platform is an indispensable piece of technology when it comes to focussed Learning and Development. This allows you to store all your own content (and even off-the-shelf content) in one central place, and create custom learning strategies for each individual.

When employees feel that their employer is invested in their professional development, they are more likely to feel a sense of autonomy and, yes, engagement. In fact, one study found that 80% of employees feel that learning new skills would make them more engaged.

Make sure that your Learning and Development strategy strikes the balance between mandatory compliance training, sector-specific training, and optional learning. This combination forms a well-balanced recipe, leading to employees feeling empowered within their roles, knowledgeable, and invested.

Feedback and communication

People tend to get demotivated when they feel they don’t have a voice.

Equally, people can’t meaningfully engage with their work if they don’t know what they’re doing well or how they could improve.

By creating a culture of feedback and communication that goes both ways, you let your employees know that you’re listening, and that you’re invested in them. Provide regular performance reviews, feedback and goals. Celebrate their wins, and help them connect to their purpose.

Speaking of which…

Purpose and connection

Another way to boost engagement is for employees to connect with the organisation’s purpose or values. It’s been found that “purpose” is actually one of the biggest drivers of employee engagement, with 82% of people saying that it’s important to have a purpose at work according to this McKinsey and Company Report.

This is a two-pronged strategy: Your people need to connect to both the company’s mission, and their role within it. What impact does their work have on the wider organisation, on individuals, on the world?

For organisations whose work impacts individuals, consider finding employees who typically don’t witness the outcomes of their work, and directly connecting them with the people who benefit from it.

From American author and professor, Adam Grant:

“We bring in one person who’s benefited from the work that you do—to talk for five minutes about its impact—and we get over a 400 percent caller-by-caller spike in weekly productivity.”


Coaching and mentorship

Mentorship and coaching are both crucial elements of employee engagement.

Linking back to our points on feedback and communication, it’s invaluable to provide employees with a genuine sense of long-term guidance. We’ve explored how coaching can change the game for you and your people in this informative article by Coach Aimee Young, which provides this advice:

“In coaching, the aim is fundamentally to help the individual improve their own performance; teaching them new ways of working, and challenging habits or thinking patterns that might be holding them back. A great coach believes that each person already has the answers within themselves, and merely needs help to find them. Whilst coaching isn’t therapy or counselling, it is a relationship that relies on trust, vulnerability and honesty.”

According to Aimee, coaching helps workplaces to reach more people, create lasting behaviour change, and have this ripple through the organisation at every level - not just senior leadership!

Create a coaching culture that starts from the top-down, ensuring leaders have bought into the impact coaching will have. From there, you can train management in coaching skills that they can weave into their everyday conversations.

Autonomy

Autonomy is such a valuable ingredient in employee engagement. Autonomous employees are not rigidly restricted, or told how and when to work. This then gives them the freedom to explore their own professional development, and work in the way that benefits them (and the company!) the best.

Autonomy isn’t just a HR buzzword that’s being thrown around for brownie points - there’s tangible research to prove its positive outcomes. According to a report by Effectory, 79% of highly autonomous employees report high levels of engagement - which just serves to further demonstrate the direct link between these two things.

The word “autonomy” can sadly have some dinosaur CEOs and leadership teams quaking in their boots. So, to set the record straight: It is not about creating a no-rules, no-structure, Lord of the Flies style working environment where everyone runs amok and the business suffers because of it.

Instead, it is about providing structure and guidance, and then giving people the freedom to work at their own pace and chosen environments within this structure. Autonomous employees are still given clear goals and tasks - but they don’t have anyone breathing down their neck while they complete them.

Not only does this boost employee engagement; it also leads to more innovative, successful businesses.

Thanks for reading our guide to rethinking employee engagement. To see how other customers such as Ted Baker have used Thrive to increase engagement by 77%, with 140,000+ content views and 57% of their content being shared by the employees themselves, book a demo with a member of our amazing team today.

Something to add? Join in the conversation over on LinkedIn.

More Stories

See all

See Thrive in action

Explore what impact Thrive could make for your team and your learners today.