Management & Leadership

How to Boost Employee Engagement as a New Business

Any business, especially a new business, wants to have motivated and engaged employees. Engaged employees are happy about coming to work and excited about working toward common goals. When employees have the drive and motivation to succeed, their energy inevitably contributes to the business’s success. They aren’t just coming in to just to clock hours and collect paychecks. That’s why it’s important to pay attention to employee engagement and focus on how you can improve it to keep your business thriving. 

According to Gallup, employee engagement in the U.S. recently saw its first annual decline in a decade — dropping from 36% of employees who felt engaged at work in 2020, compared to 34% in 2021. This pattern continued into 2022, as 32% of full- and part-time employees working for organizations are now engaged, while 18% are actively disengaged. There’s no doubt that changing workplace factors such as remote work, job insecurity, and prioritization of family and person issues have caused this effect. As we see engagement slipping across the board, it’s time to focus on getting your employees back to loving where they work and wanting to put in the effort to help your new business grow.

8 Tips to Boost Employee Engagement 

It’s time to turn this around and get your employees enthusiastic about your new company. Here are 7 helpful tips to follow.

Tip #1: Improve communication 

Communication is key – especially when it comes to engagement. It’s easy to get your wires crossed and have miscommunication across teams and departments – especially in remote and hybrid settings. That’s why it’s imperative to focus on improving communication methods and ensuring everyone is clear on their tasks at every step. Whether this means having frequent check-ins or time to meet in smaller groups to discuss projects and plans, focusing on clear conversation will help all employees be on the same page and feel they are effectively working together toward a goal. 

Tip #2: Focus on physical and mental wellbeing 

We’ve all seen the importance of work-life balance and prioritizing our wellbeing. Show your employees that you value things that will enhance their personal and professional wellness, such as the importance of exercising, eating healthily and focusing on mental health. For example, you may initiate company-wide wellness programs for everyone to participate in.  Let your employees know that they should use their PTO and that some time off can help them feel refreshed when they come back to work. Allowing your team to take care of themselves will not only show them that you care but they will feel ready to come to work feeling to do their best. 

Tip #3: Encourage interaction 

You want to instill a sense of belonging among your team. As some of us are working in a hybrid or remote setting, we lack the usual interactions with our coworkers and team members. It’s a good idea to try to bring everyone together every once in a while, to foster team-building relationships and encourage “water-cooler” talks. When employees build relationships with each other, their communication will be more effective and efficient in the long run. A great way to bring people together, for example, is to host a volunteer day where the team can get together for a good cause and socialize during and after the session. Volunteering also helps boost morale and makes people feel good about helping the community.  

Tip #4: Prioritize recognition 

Recognizing your employees for a job well done shows them that you appreciate their hard work and dedication to the company. When you recognize employees, you show them you notice their efforts and give them a morale boost to keep going. You can recognize your employees publicly during meetings or privately by sending them gift cards or other rewards if the budget allows. Any kind of recognition is a sure way to increase engagement as employees will want to keep succeeding, especially if they are going to be rewarded for it. 

Tip #5: Promote good company culture 

Company culture comes from within. Your organization’s culture is comprised of values and goals that your employees can connect to and feel inspired by. You want to have a shared culture that allows coworkers to feel safe, comfortable, consistent and cared for. When leadership focuses on having a positive culture that prioritizes their employees and the community, employees will be drawn to upholding these values and will have a shared sense of belonging. Nurturing company culture starts from leadership and trickles down. Therefore, it’s important to set a good example and abide by the values that you want the company to follow. 

Tip #6: Provide flexibility 

Anything can change at the drop of a hat. This is especially true when it comes to personal issues and other changes. Giving your employees the flexibility to tend to personal matters without shame is one of the best ways to boost engagement. Being able to have flexible schedules gives employees time to prioritize personal issues when needed, and then give 100% of their attention when they’re at work. Flexible schedules prove to be valuable because employees feel like they are being trusted, giving them the incentive to be productive during their working hours. 

Tip #7: Invest in employee growth 

Your employees don’t want to feel stagnant at their jobs. Giving them the opportunity to grow and encouraging ongoing education or certifications is a great way to boost engagement and keep them excited for the future. Training opportunities to learn new skills is also a valuable effort to keep them engaged and more productive. When you focus on investing in your employees and look into upskilling, you lower the risk of them looking for other roles elsewhere. Talk to your team and ask them periodically what their goals are and what else they would like to be doing at the organization. 

Tip #8: Give feedback opportunities 

Feedback is your friend. You want to give your employees the option to share their thoughts and concerns and how things can improve in the business. Understanding what needs to be changed for improved efficiency, productivity and engagement can be a huge help when it comes to maintaining company culture. Do your employees need more hands-on deck? Do they need better communication channels? Conducting quarterly surveys can help as well as 1:1 meetings with managers will help give a better sense of what needs to improve moving forward. 

The time and energy you put into focusing on your employees’ feedback and well-being will demonstrate that you value their opinions and that they are a priority for the company. You want employees to be invested in your business. Boosting employee engagement will improve productivity and increase loyalty in the long run. For a new business, low turnover and passionate employees will be a driving force in the success of the company, and therefore, engagement should be managed and prioritized every step of the way.

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