engaged companies

Four Things Only Highly Engaged Companies Understand

Imagine your workplace utopia. Is it one of the more engaged companies?

Are you picturing Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson in The Internship? Napping pods, pop-up cafes, and gyms? Some trending startups even have in-office beer kegs.

While I can’t deny naps and endless streams of coffee sound enticing, their efficacy for truly engaging employees may not be as high as you think. These fun perks seem interesting at first, but after a while the novelty wears off, and companies are left with napping, smoothie-drinking, sandwich-eating disengaged employees.

Here’s how to go beyond on-the-surface perks and dive deep into building a strong employee engagement foundation:

Employee Recognition

The power of praise and recognition goes a long way in employee engagement. Unfortunately, many employers leave their staff guessing.

As a September 2016 Leadership IQ study found, most employees aren’t sure if they’re doing a good job. It’s difficult for employees to feel engaged when they’re unsure if they’re meeting expectations.

Recognition is a positive move toward engagement, but it’s most effective when you first consider employee personalities and company culture. It’s also important to remember recognition for your team’s hard work and effort needs to come from both leaders and peers.

If your team values community service, offer a volunteer of the month award. Or, consider an online recognition system where leaders and employees can give shout outs and bonus ‘points’ to those who have done something extraordinary.

Remember, effective recognition programs at engaged companies don’t need to drain your budget. Employees are motivated by simply knowing their peers and leaders see how hard they’re working, and appreciate their efforts.

360 Feedback

Offering feedback to employees on an infrequent basis – and not asking for any in return – continuously holds companies back from creating a solid employee engagement strategy.

At engaged companies, peers and managers should frequently give and receive feedback. Giving both positive and negative feedback encourages employees to continue doing their best, and motivates them to fix any current issues.

Negative feedback can be difficult to give and receive. In fact, Interact’s 2015 report found 37 percent of the 616 managers surveyed said they’re uncomfortable giving direct feedback and criticism about their employee’s performance that they might respond badly to.

To make everyone more comfortable with negative feedback, offer training to managers and employees. Teach them it’s OK to give constructive feedback as long as it isn’t degrading and is followed with positivity and encouragement on making improvements.

Regular Performance Assessments

Annual performance reviews aren’t just antiquated, they don’t provide crucial insight into employee satisfaction and engagement. This is why engaged companies are abandoning them.

For example, several years ago Adobe adopted ‘check-ins’ to replace their annual review process. They reported a variety of benefits – managers have genuine conversations with their teams; managers save approximately 80,000 hours of time they would have spent on the annual review process; and employees are more engaged in their feedback.

Performance assessments should be ongoing, one-on-one conversations between managers and their team. Having these discussions frequently will allow employees to get involved and excited about their own performance and growth. As your conversations grow, so will your team’s motivation and productivity.

My company, Quantum Workplace, conducted research and found over 85 percent of engaged companies use regular one-on-one assessments. One-on-one assessments help employers develop a deeper connection with employees and give both employees and managers a better understanding of goals, expectations, and potential growth opportunities within the company.

Bring each employee aside in a one-on-one setting to discuss how frequently they want to meet. Some may prefer a quick chat weekly, and others will want further detail once every quarter. No matter how often you meet, make sure your employees understand you’re invested in their future and are willing to help them grow to their highest potential.

Employee Input

Whether your team tells you they need a foosball table to help with their creative process or time in their schedule for a training course, employee engagement depends upon them feeling heard and understood. While 96 percent of managers say they value employees’ opinions, less than 75 percent of employees feel their managers care about their input, according to Randstad’s 2015 study.

Where’s the Disconnect?

If employees are actively part of the day-to-day operations, they may not understand how their input is put into action. Specifically ask for your team’s input on their daily process and the overall workings of the company. Send out a monthly email to show how you’re using their ideas to better the company.

How does your company engage employees beyond fancy perks?



Greg Harris

Greg Harris is the president and CEO of Quantum Workplace, a company dedicated to providing every organization with quality engagement tools that guide their next step in making work better every day. You can connect with Greg and the Quantum Workplace team on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.

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