We're honored to be named one of Oregon's Top Workplaces thanks to the investments we've made in fostering employee engagement.
We were recognized based on our strengths in four areas:
- Our highly transparent culture ensure employees at all levels are informed about what's happening in our company.
- We celebrate small wins to build momentum for big success.
- Our leadership actively listens to voices across the organization to learn from our workforce's diverse perspectives.
- We strive to have high-impact meetings to empower employees to focus on the activities that drive their success.
In this article, I'll share the activities that helped us foster employee engagement in each of those areas.
Be Transparent With Employees at All Levels
Employees who are well-informed about their organizations' decisions and plans are more engaged than those who are only provided with the information necessary to do their jobs.
There are a couple of reasons why:
- They understand how their work supports the organization's goals and can better visualize their potential career growth
- They're more accepting of company changes because they know what's driving them
- They feel trusted, which encourages reciprocal trust in the organization
Ultimately, the better informed your employees are, the more likely they will perform in ways that align with your organization's broader goals.
Many leaders intuitively understand this concept; however, they often only apply to senior-level and above teams, leaving frontline and junior workers in the dark about what's happening in the organization.
To foster employee engagement throughout your entire workforce, launch initiatives that reach all levels. Here are a couple of activities that we use:
- Company-wide morning huddle: In our daily huddle, representatives from all departments give updates, including KPIs, small wins, and best practices that everyone can use.
- Weekly talking points from the CEO: Our gives managers talking points about what's on his mind each week to share that information with employees.
- Townhalls on our annual plan: At the beginning of the year, leaders from each department share key goals and initiatives in a town hall that everyone is encouraged to attend.
Activities like these are easy to implement and can significantly improve employee engagement.
Celebrate Small Wins to Foster Big Success
Everyone wants to feel like they're part of a winning team. According to Energage's research, employee perception of their organization's ability to execute plays a significant role in the amount of effort they invest in their jobs. In other words, when they think your company is winning, they're more motivated to support continued success.
To create and sustain this perception, celebrate positive efforts throughout your organization so that employees are constantly exposed to progress in your organization. These small wins create momentum that motivates your workforce to achieve immense success.
Here are a few of the activities we host to engage employees in our company's broader success:
- A monthly ceremony for employee-nominated awards in categories such as representing our core values and delivering outstanding client service.
- Space in our daily huddle for sharing positive feedback highlights from our clients to celebrate our service team's great work.
- "Orange Moments" where we spontaneously recognize employees for going above and beyond.
- Weekly KPI updates that are shared with the entire company so that everyone sees our on-going positive performance.
Keep in mind that for recognition to drive success, it needs to be based on performance that pushes your company forward. If your management team struggles to find worthy efforts to recognize, you likely need to look for opportunities to improve your workforce's skills and processes. Once you've boosted performance, you can continue to foster employee morale with lots of recognition.
Actively Listen to Voices Across Your Organization
An abundance of research shows that diverse teams are more innovative, financially successful, and smarter than homogenous ones. Much of the benefits stem from diverse groups having a greater quantity of ideas; however, an arguably larger reason for their success is that having various opinions forces people to think differently.
Instead of quickly coming to mutual conclusions, diverse teams in open-minded cultures consider how to combine the best parts of several perspectives to create a holistic solution. Not only does this generate more successful outcomes, but it also fosters engagement by ensuring that every employee feels heard and respected.
Here are some of the initiatives we've implemented to ensure that our leadership actively listens to voices from across the organization:
- Administering employee engagement surveys at regular intervals and using that data to drive our efforts.
- Encouraging frontline staff to form committees on topics, such as wellness, new technology, knowledge sharing, etc.
- Having a company-wide open door policy and actively encouraging employees to reach out to anyone in the organization with questions or collaborate on projects.
- Inviting representatives from frontline teams to participate in strategic planning meetings to ensure our leaders consider their perspectives when making decisions that affect them.
Initiatives like these help you leverage your workforce's talent and make everyone feel heard and included.
Make Meetings Worthwhile
Meetings are one of the most overlooked contributors to employee engagement. An environment full of overly long, disorganized, and/or hostile meetings leaves employees feeling drained and confused.
On the contrary, when your organization has fewer, high-impact meetings, employees collaborate more productively and remain aligned on goals. To achieve this outcome, work with your managers to limit discussions to brainstorming sessions and conversations about critical and/or sensitive issues. You can share all other messages via methods like email or chat.
When you make this shift, meetings support your employees' success instead of pulling their attention away from priorities.
Here are a few of the ways that we run high-impact meetings:
- The meeting host sets clear agendas based on input from our teams on what needs to be discussed.
- We assign a moderator to make sure the panel follows the schedule and ends on-time.
- After meetings, a designated person sends a follow-up email with action items (if any) and dates so that everyone is clear on the next steps.
Keep in mind that the ideal frequency of meetings varies based on each teams' workload. Ones that leverage project management tools and assign employees largely independent portions may need only to connect live a couple of times a month to keep everyone aligned. In contrast, highly collaborative groups may need daily meetings. Work with your employees to find the cadence that best fosters engagement and productivity.
One of the most important lessons we've learned on our journey to becoming a Top Workplace is that sustaining employee engagement requires a wide variety of initiatives and a continuous improvement mindset. Combined, these elements allow you to create an environment that empowers your workforce to perform their best.
About the author: Emily formerly led Prialto's content production and distribution team with a special passion for helping people realize success. Her work and collaborations have appeared in Entrepreneur, Inc. and the Observer among others.