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Employee Engagement

Employee Engagement Strategies in 2022: What’s different and what should HR prioritize?

Looking back at the year that has almost gone by, one might be tempted to only notice the obstacles it has brought in. But what it has also brought in is an entirely new variety of workplaces, now known as the hybrid workplace, and along with that a set of new changes, challenges, and learnings that nobody in the HR space can afford to ignore.

Aside from re-establishing change as the only constant, there’s another thing that this year has made extremely clear: the only way an organization can make it through such times is by keeping employees engaged and eventually retaining them. However, we’re also aware that this is easier said than done.

The traditional workplace has been left behind in 2020 and certain employee touchpoints have also become a thing of the past. But, employee turnover remains expensive. How then does one ensure engagement and retention in the year ahead? While there’s no foolproof method to be followed, here are a few things HRs can do to ensure higher employee engagement and lower attrition in 2022.

What are employee engagement strategies?

Employee engagement strategies are initiatives implemented by the organization to increase the engagement levels among the workforce towards their work and the management. Good employee engagement strategies are not and cannot be led entirely by HR; participation from all departments is required for their success. Employee-generated ideas and activities for employee engagement may prove more successful. Open and consistent communication may do wonders for employee engagement efforts. 

In a perfect world, employee engagement strategies would increase the likelihood of employees developing a favorable relationship with the firm. Employees who feel emotionally connected to a business are more likely to remain.

Here are some employee engagement strategies that you can quickly implement to boost engagement:

Organize frequent team building activities

Team Building Activities

When it comes to employee engagement, one size does not fit all. You need to know your employees to know what keeps them motivated. With the distance between HR and employees having increased now, getting to know your employees can be especially difficult.

Team building activities, such as impromptu ice-breaking quizzes or team members sharing trivia about themselves, can help employees open up and induce a feeling of togetherness among teams. Amongst the biggest struggles with remote working, loneliness is a major concern. This goes out to further show how it is essential for HR to prioritize team-building activities and tools a lot more than they did in the traditional workplace.

Team building needs to become a part of the HR strategy, as opposed to the one-off activity that it was earlier. By making such activities a part of the company culture, HR can ensure they know their audience a lot better and create retention strategies that work.

Prioritize work-life balance and wellness

Work Life Balance

With remote working entering the scenario, work-life balance has gone for an absolute toss and there’s fear that this might become the new normal. Employees are now always accessible and there’s nothing to stop managers from handing out assignments at any hour of the day or night, and one does not need statistics to know that this is leading to higher levels of stress among employees. 

We can agree that there’s no way to immediately enact a culture where work-life balance and employee wellness becomes a priority. However, the fact that a whopping 77% of employees have experienced burnout at their current job indicates the need to ensure employees take time off. It is also crucial for HR  to conduct regular surveys and pay attention to employees who show signs of burnout. Reaching out to such employees and figuring out a way to ensure they have enough time to themselves can go a long way in ensuring organizations do not lose them.

Do not underestimate the power of a wellness program, as well. 58% of employees say that a fitness and wellness package is a major factor that determines whether or not they accept a job offer and later stay with the organization. So, if you don’t yet have a wellness benefit as part of your job offer, 2021 might be the year to consider including one.

Give out constant appreciation and recognition

Recognition programs

Positive reinforcement can go a long way in keeping employees motivated, and recognition does exactly that. When employees do their job well or go out of their way to make an initiative a success, ensure that their efforts are not overlooked. 

Having a structured employee recognition program in place can help ensure employees get the much-deserved praise and do not feel disengaged with the organization. Putting out company-wide announcements when an employee does something worth recognition can go a long way in ensuring your attrition rates are kept at a minimum.

Invest in your onboarding and training program

Training and Onboarding

In a traditional workplace, new hires went through a proper training process and HR departments could be directly involved in their onboarding. One of the major challenges of both the remote and the hybrid workplaces is to ensure that training and onboarding do not deteriorate.

An efficient onboarding process can increase your new hire retention by 82%. The power of a good first impression is not unknown and it has a major impact on employee retention. Socializing a new hire was an organic process in the traditional workplace, but will have to be consciously instilled in the new hybrid workplace. 

Be it a buddy system, or having a proper training deck in place, go with whatever works better for your organization. However, pay special attention to your new employees and ensure they do not feel overwhelmed and lost.

Make your leadership more approachable

Approachable leadership

A culture of trust and transparency can help employees feel at home, and your leadership is a good starting point for the same. Keeping your employees keyed in on any major decisions and making them feel like they have direct insight into how your organization functions, can help ensure employees remain more invested.

From an investment announcement to festival greetings, try to ensure important information comes directly from the leadership’s mouth and reaches every employee in the warmest way possible. It might even be a good idea to make leadership a part of any team-building activities and for them to seek feedback from employees about what can be improved.

Plan team-building exercises

Transparency is advantageous for gaining a complete understanding of the state of the business. Employees must have trust in one another and the management. This is where team-building exercises come into play. 

Team building can range from engaging icebreaker games to collaborating on a service project. Team building enhances, among other things, communication, leadership, and camaraderie. All of these factors contribute to reduced absenteeism and improved employee satisfaction. 

Offer volunteers time off with pay

One way to get employees involved with their teammates is by providing them with volunteer opportunities. However, you may show appreciation for volunteering and your employees’ time by providing them with VTO: Volunteering time off. This means that they will continue to be compensated for the 1-2 days per year they volunteer for a preselected organization or subject they are passionate about. 

Employee-Focused Workplace 

Employees appreciate a caring and accommodating work atmosphere that meets their everyday needs and demands. An effective labor management system reduces employee stress, enhancing efficiency and production. This necessitates the establishment of employee-centric workplace culture. 

Moreover, developing an employee-centric environment can increase employee engagement. As a leader, you must comprehend and recognize the significance of a work culture shaped by employee input. And in today’s business environment, a people-centered culture improves brand value and attracts millennials. 

Encourage psychological well-being

2020 was difficult, and we are still recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic’s aftermath. The virus outbreak is still there, but the human population is gradually adapting. However, the pandemic has taught us the importance of mental health care. People struggled to adjust to the abrupt change as their social lives ground to a halt. This negatively affected mental health by increasing stress and anxiety. Consequently, productivity and engagement levels decline. 

As a leader, it is essential to acknowledge the change and the need for a mental health program. If you have already implemented such a program, you are well on your way to engaging your workers. 

Celebrate small occasions 

Celebrating each employee’s special day is a powerful employee engagement tactic. This will increase their morale and make them feel appreciated at work. The unique occasions may include- 

  • Birthday festivities 
  • Work anniversaries 
  • Promotion 
  • Obtaining specific milestones 

Improve employee experience

Employee engagement is dependent on employee experience. Without a positive employee experience, your staff will lose enthusiasm and motivation. This can severely reduce the productivity of the employees, which can impair the organization’s overall success. 

For your workforce to be fully invested in their work, they must believe they have the ideal working conditions. Employees should be able to voice their concerns without receiving harsh criticism. In addition to providing adequate space for creativity in the workplace, encourage individuals to experiment with new and alternative work methods. Consequently, your workforce will be more receptive to varied ideas and eager to take chances to advance the firm. 

To Sum up 

Employee engagement strategies are your ally in establishing an engaged and productive atmosphere. Highly engaged employees improve overall performance and boost job happiness, decreasing employee turnover. Moreover, an employee-centric work culture enhances the organization’s brand and image considerably. Adopting the appropriate employee engagement strategies promises to benefit you and your workforce in the long haul.

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