Here are several strategies for employers to engage their workers effectively

Passionate employees are critical to an organization’s success – so smart employers are always on the lookout for ways to boost employee engagement in the workplace.

But what does employee engagement look like and what can employers do to engage their workers effectively?

Employee engagement

Employee engagement is a measurement of how motivated, passionate, and invested employees are to their work, their employer, and their colleagues. Employees are engaged when leaders can align their strengths with the company’s goals.

While similar, engagement does not always equal job satisfaction, which is how happy an employee is with their role regardless of whether they feel committed and connected to the company. However, an engaged employee is motivated to achieve both their personal and company goals.

The importance of employee engagement in the workplace

Smart human resource leaders already instinctively understand just how meaningful employee engagement is in the workplace – because people who voluntarily engage and work towards shared goals can help in many aspects of the organization.

For example, a Gallup report found that companies with high employee engagement saw significant improvements in sales performance and, consequently, higher profits.

The report also found that employees who are more invested in the organization have a higher productivity rate than their counterparts. And it goes without saying that having productive, engaged employees can lead to greater loyalty, better retention rates, and enhanced customer experiences.

Effective ways to cultivate employee engagement

There are many methods in promoting employee engagement in the workplace. Below, we outline some easy ways to boost employee engagement that your organization can action right now:

  1. Measure engagement with surveys

To improve employee engagement in the workforce, employers should know where exactly their employees currently stand. Employee engagement surveys allow workers to give feedback that can help companies identify what’s working and what’s not within the organization. Collecting data through employee engagement surveys is vital for companies to know what needs of the staff should be addressed and benchmark for future efforts. It also ensures the collected data is relevant and actionable.

Additionally, sharing the results collected with the team can also help foster a sense of trust and transparency within an organization. It also opens a way for everyone to discuss new ideas and opinions on important matters.

  1. Train managers and supervisors on ways to engage employees

Managers have a significant influence on the engagement of employees. For example, if managers themselves are not engaged, employees would most likely see it as a reason not to be involved.

Give your leadership the tools they need to connect with the company and help engage employees. For example, companies can offer leadership development seminars and training programs to their senior and middle managers.

Managers should also learn to see themselves as coaches and mentors, providing employees with support, constructive criticism, and encouragement. Encouraging managers to attend onboarding sessions for new employees is one essential way to set the right tone from the start.

  1. Onboard effectively

The onboarding process is vital in creating a connection between new employees with their work and the goals of the company.

Consider introducing mentors that aren’t direct managers to guide the new employees in their first months. Additionally, introducing executive leadership during the onboarding events, and prioritizing relationship building between the new and old employees help create a smooth transition from onboarding to the regular work routine.

  1. Focus on feedback

Asking for feedback from employees is a vital part of understanding the company’s performance, but sometimes not everyone is willing to participate. Offering anonymous feedback methods for employees helps them feel secure in giving honest responses.

Once data is recorded, leadership should resolve matters and issues highlighted in the data. Employees also appreciate being informed of the findings that employers gather; regular meetings with teams are a great way to discuss the results and improve employee engagement.

Relaying feedback on an employee based on their performance can also boost their engagement with the company.

  1. Pay attention to your workers’ physical and mental health

According to a Gallup report, companies benefit when employee wellness is added to engagement programs. This means that organizations should promote healthy habits in the workplace, such as taking breaks during work, encouraging work-life balance, and even offering fitness subsidies and meditation classes. These could help employees feel more appreciated and prevent overworking.

  1. Recognize and reward employees

Effective employee recognition can help boost the morale of employees. When employees know that the company appreciates them and their efforts, they are more likely to trust and gain more motivation in performing beyond what is expected of them.

Asking managers to provide positive recognition as part of their day-to-day tasks can help motivate and engage employees. Make use of the communications channel system within the organization to acknowledge teams and individuals who have performed well. Additionally, an incentive program could help boost motivation within the workplace.

Remember that rewards do not work for everyone. Make sure to understand how employees respond to recognition and rewards and adjust methods to fit their preferences.

  1. Provide flexibility to employees

Another way to promote employee engagement is by offering flexible work schedules and other remote work opportunities. This helps employees create a good work-life balance by allowing them to  work comfortably in their chosen location and time. Providing employees with the option to adjust working hours for personal errands and other appointments helps them feel cared for by their employers.

  1. Help carve out the employee’s career paths

Employers should help employees achieve their professional goals. Showing support and offering ways for employees to advance in their career path can keep them engaged and less likely to look for other opportunities outside the organization. For example, offering internal workshops, team lunch-and-learns, and external education stipends could create career growth paths.

Ultimately, a good employee engagement strategy is one that is empathic to the needs of workers. When companies take that extra step to ensure that their employees are well taken care of, they will be rewarded with motivated people dedicated to their success.

Employee engagement is challenging enough when it is local. Introduce the complexities of finding and engaging employees in far-flung locales, and it can seem downright scary! But it doesn’t have to be that overwhelming. Most humans have the same basic needs, so there are a few key practices that can get you past cultural or geographic barriers and vastly improve the global employee experience.

We all know that having a good company culture with engaged employees leads to happier employees, but employee engagement doesn’t happen automatically. We work for it. At our company, we are on the front lines of managing global employee engagement, partly because our own team is so multicultural and dispersed, and partly because we spend so much time assisting our clients with managing their global teams.

Here are five ways we communicate internally to build our company culture and keep our team engaged.

  1. Over-communicate

The “rule of seven” is one of the oldest concepts in marketing. It says that a prospect needs to see or hear your message at least seven times before they act. To make an impact on your employees, apply the rule of seven to your global workforce. It isn’t nagging; research proves messages are more effective when repeated. At our company, we share and repeat company news internally via emails (with or without images), monthly all-hands meetings that everybody dials in to, team meetings, our company’s internal website, and we have an internal podcast to share company updates and highlight different team members weekly.

  1. Video On, Always

In the 1970s, psychology professor Albert Mehrabian deduced that communication is 55% body language, 38% tone of voice and 7% verbal. That’s important information for people who rely on the written word to communicate — but it’s even more important when you’re communicating with someone who doesn’t share the same first language. Our company has employees in 20 different offices spread over four continents with dozens of languages spoken, so we use video. A lot.

Global organizations should invest heavily in video communications technology. Whether an employee works at one of our primary office locations or remotely, everybody on staff has video conferencing capabilities so every meeting can be done face to face. Video enables our global team to connect regularly and more effectively regardless of location. We also took this to the next level and launched an internal “get to know your co-worker” video series. These videos help us get to know our teammates’ personalities, especially the parts missing from email like laughter, gestures and expressions.

  1. Break Down Barriers Through Effective Onboarding

Some companies go out of their way to avoid global hiring because it’s intimidating to effectively onboard and manage employees internationally. This is a huge barrier to international business. International business is extremely complex, and international ventures must prove their effectiveness quickly, so new hires must engage and learn fast. It’s important to standardize onboarding processes worldwide to ensure everyone has the same strong start, but you also need to understand local practices. Equal isn’t always equitable, and an onboarding practice that is helpful in one culture might be harmful in another. Take the time to study local practices that will set employees up for success wherever they are.

  1. Find Reasons To Celebrate

When people ask me how we maintain our company culture in 20-plus countries, I tell them that my team is great at celebrating each other, and a celebration helps people feel more connected, listened to and engaged. While video helps break down barriers, we also have an internal website for employees. We love to use our internal newsfeed to celebrate each other’s successes (with weekly shoutouts from/to employees), life events (from weddings and birthdays to cute pets and great vacations), holidays and traditions.

Diversity, creativity and gaining global perspectives are some of the greatest benefits of being part of a global workforce. So, embrace it all and celebrate it!

  1. Define (And Redefine) Success

If you want employees to engage with your values and thrive in your company, communicate what “good” looks like, and reinforce it. When it comes to how we treat each other, respect, dignity and kindness are at our core. We take every opportunity to show our employees these values matter, reward them for exhibiting them and find new ways for employees to practice them from day to day. Be sure all your employees understand what you stand for. It will make them feel more successful, and that success will keep them more engaged.

I built this company on the premise that you can have a highly profitable, scalable business while treating employees well. We define our success by what I call the triple bottom line: happy clients, happy employees and happy shareholders. Engagement is critical to our success. We can’t afford to leave anyone in our company, anywhere in the world, out in the cold.

In the end, we are proof that being global isn’t a barrier to engagement. A high-growth, highly profitable global team can have highly satisfied clients and highly engaged (happy) employees. We love what we do, and we find that treating people well, no matter where they are located, will always pay off in dividends for the long-term success of a company.

This article was originally published in Forbes

Businesses often track progress and results at the end of each month. But we focus too much on the numbers, forgetting about the value behind them. Each result is a set of actions and initiatives that led to it. Behind each number is an employee who puts in effort to achieve it. If we can connect the result achieved with the actions taken to accomplish it, this may help us better understand what worked, whether it was a good thing (something that led to growth) or a bad thing (a bottleneck or challenge to overcome).

Last year, I received a promotion and a team to fulfil company goals. I was looking for a framework that would help me to keep my squad focused, involved and motivated — and I found it in coaching.

I wanted to see if the same approach I use in individual coaching sessions — techniques to help increase self-awareness, resilience and confidence in the coachee — could also be used to improve the organizational culture. Spoiler: They did.

In six months, colleagues became more aware of their input and chronic stress decreased. And we’ve been able to solve a lot of issues as a result of new ideas from employees we did not expect to speak up. All of this helps us to prevent occupational burnout and gives each team member the opportunity to be heard and feel involved.

We have now made this approach a core part of the strategic sessions at the beginning of each month. Here are the four questions you can ask monthly to help increase employee engagement and performance:

  1. What’s something new you have personally learned about the industry in the last month?

Each of us works with tons of information while going about our daily routine. But we all see it from a different perspective. Our marketing managers are more focused on sales points and offers, while copywriters are focused on putting the right words together and creating stories, and the SEO team is eyeing up competitors and looking for ways to improve our search engine reputation. If we do not synchronize the knowledge we own, we lose insight into what is happening around us. In sharing personal knowledge, we empower better business results.

  1. What made us, as a team and business, stand out last month?

As a team, we have wins and failures. Some projects give us super results, while others don’t always turn out how we hoped. It’s important to take a moment to reflect on points of pride and celebrate the wins before jumping in to dissect the failures.

  1. What were our limitations?

In our October strategic session, my colleague pointed out a truth that I did not want to see: “When we take too many projects on, we lose ideas.” I realized we had started too many projects; exaggeration should be managed.

Consider your limitations — both as a team and an organization. Did you collaborate effectively with other departments? Can you make your processes smoother and more efficient going forward? After each monthly session, we identify some small improvements that can save time and help the squad cooperate more effectively.

  1. What can we try in the upcoming month?

This is my favorite question because we get to share our dreams and ideas. During one of our sessions, we came up with ideas on how to improve our corporate LinkedIn. Three months have passed and we doubled our visibility among our target audience of IT managers. We have started to use hashtags wisely, invite more peers to follow and post more up-to-date news.

The point is to ask each team member for their ideas. Why? To find commonalities, hidden gems and bottlenecks. Each friction point acts as a limitation; each pattern could be simplified to make success in scale.

Connecting the dots between the action taken and the result, we see what exactly works and how. This leads to personal growth for each employee involved and the team in general. It sounds like coaching — and it is.

This article was originally published in

Founded in 2017 in Cape Town, South Africa, Olympia Engage provides companies with a highly advanced, yet simple to use performance management system to help engage, inspire and reward their people. Get everyone performing at their best and reap the rewards with Olympia Engage!
Olympia Holdings
The Vineyards Office Estate, Manor House, 99 Jip De Jager Road, Bellville, Cape Town, 7530, South Africa
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