10 Employee Engagement Initiatives To Improve Satisfaction

Employee engagement metrics reveal how satisfied employees are with the organization they work for, whether they are interested in the work that they're doing, how connected they feel with the company's values and mission, and whether they feel motivated to go the extra mile in their work. It's not something that you can evaluate based on a single number, as many behaviors can indicate engagement or the lack thereof. Engaged employees are less likely to look for positions elsewhere, will recommend the company to their friends and family as a great place to work or to be a customer of, and have a sense of pride about being involved in the organization.

Here are 10 employee engagement initiatives to put into place for an improved employee experience that leads to better productivity, growth, and resiliency.

Employee Engagement Initiatives to Try

  1. Create accessible employee feedback channels. If your employees don't feel like their requests, complaints, comments and other communications are being heard, then they're going to feel disgruntled about the experience. Make it easy for your people to get in touch with you. Offer multiple feedback channels, and make sure to include an anonymous option for people who may not be comfortable giving negative feedback with their name attached to it. As part of your performance management efforts, be responsive about going through this feedback and taking it into consideration when it makes sense for the organization and your team. Be authentic and transparent in your communications with your team so they feel comfortable coming to you when they need to have a conversation. 

  2. Address issues in the company culture that stand in the way of employee engagement. Sometimes the company culture is what gets in the way of employee engagement. It may create a work environment that is counterproductive to the results that you're trying to get. For example, some technology companies have an issue with "bro culture", where most of the perks and team building activities are centered around male-centric opportunities, which can alienate women and make them leave for other companies. While that's an extreme example, there may be subtle ways that have a similar impact on employees in your organization. Even if you can't change the company culture as a whole, you can personalize a team culture that works best for your people. 

  3. Conduct exit interviews to identify problems in employee engagement. Current employees may shy away from fully open and honest feedback, even with anonymous tools in place, because they don't want to potentially put their position at risk or damage their reputation. If they're leaving for another company, it's important to know why. In some cases, the reason doesn't have anything to do with their engagement level with the company. For example, they could be moving to another location due to their partner's job or changing career fields entirely. In other cases, the reasons are directly related to their experience with the organization. Look for common trends in this feedback to determine systemic issues that can be addressed. 

  4. Incorporate a coaching tool into your daily workflow. For example, Cloverleaf is a powerful platform that can help you drive your employee engagement initiative. You can visualize your team on the Team Dashboard to get a quick view of everyone involved in engagement efforts. Automated and personalized coaching tips go straight to your people's inboxes, and that helps everyone understand each other more. When they work better together, you'll see higher employee engagement. 

  5. Provide volunteer and charity opportunities. Many people have causes that they donate their time and money to support. Some companies offer a charity match, where they match the employee's donations dollar-for-dollar at a non-profit of their choosing. Other organizations will allow people to have paid time to volunteer at chosen organizations, or organize teams to help at a local non-profit. Not only do these initiatives improve employee engagement, they also boost your reputation with the local community. 

  6. Empower your people with the right tools. It's hard for team members to stay engaged when they're working with old, slow, or insufficient tools. Do their workstations take 10 minutes to boot up and they have to wait ages for essential software to load? Are they tethered at a desk when they need to spend more time with other employees for collaborative efforts? Are the email systems constantly going down and losing important messages? These are a few ways that the employee's tools can lead to a lack of engagement. Talk to your team about the way they work and the problems that exist with their current toolset. Employee satisfaction will go up when they have solutions that support their business processes and work the right way, each time. When your organization plans on rolling out new software and tools, make sure that the relevant department has reached out to the end-users of these solutions first. The company can avoid a lot of problems by simply asking which features are must-have and choosing business software based on that information, rather than upending the way that everyone works by not gathering feedback first. 

  7. Set up an employee mentoring system. The initial onboarding when a new person joins your organization will get them up to speed on business processes and other basics, but that doesn't mean that they'll be operating at full productivity after that. Match up your senior team members with the newest in a mentoring system so new hires have someone readily available for questions, comments, and concerns. Not only does this help promote collaboration between team members, but it also facilitates skill and knowledge sharing between your people. This responsibility also gives the mentors experience in leadership roles, which can help them with their career plans and upward mobility. 

  8. Provide time and resources for personal projects. Innovation can come from the most unlikely places. If your team members have ideas for personal projects related to your organization, do what you can to give them the time and resources to work on these efforts. Google is one of the most well-known for empowering employees to pursue side projects, which are known as 20 percent projects due to the amount of work time they can take up. Depending on the size of your organization and your project commitments, you may not be able to give them 20 percent of their time to these ideas, but there should be some natural downtime that would be suitable for it. Your team may have a budget for sponsoring these efforts or you can allow them to use specialized equipment and software for these projects. If team members have different skill sets and a similar idea, you can pair them up together and have them collaborate on bringing it to life. 

  9. Invest in professional development for team members. Making your employees feel valued is another way to improve their satisfaction and engagement levels. Bring in people for professional development workshops, send team members out to relevant business conferences, and identify other ways to help support the professional development of employees. The skills that they learn directly benefit your organization and can help employees continue on their upwardly mobile career paths. For roles that are chronically understaffed due to talent shortage, such as IT roles, professional development training also makes it possible to cover these skill gaps. 

  10. Provide recognition for employee achievements. Recognition goes a long way towards making employees feel valued and valuable to your organization. You want to recognize extraordinary efforts, as well as the everyday personal celebrations that people have. You can set up employee of the month awards or create category specific options for your team members. Try to make these awards personalized and unique for your team, so you build a sense of team identity. If you're able to offer some perks along with the award, such as gifts or additional paid time off, put those into place. You want to balance out these rewards so that they're enough to motivate team members to put in more effort without creating an overly competitive environment among employees.

Other Ideas to Improve Employee Satisfaction and Recognition

As far as personal celebrations, birthdays and holidays are always good starting places. If someone has a significant life event happen that they're willing to share with the rest of the team, you can also have recognition for that. For example, if someone has a baby, adopts a new pet, or achieves a personal goal, they can get positive affirmations for that. Some people may not feel comfortable sharing much of their personal life with work, and that's okay too. Try to focus more on those team members' professional efforts, such as earning certifications or having high performance ratings during a particularly tough project. 

Employee engagement initiatives provide many benefits for the individuals, your team and the organization as a whole. These 10 options get you off to a good start for improving employee satisfaction. 

The Cloverleaf Team