A Blueprint for Effective Employee Engagement

Employee Engagement = Business Results

As an HR practitioner, employee engagement is probably part of your everyday conversation.

With good reason. Gallup has found that engaged employees are likely to stay at their jobs longer, be healthier, show up to work more often, and be more productive. Employee engagement isn’t just about happiness, it’s about business results.

While many companies are investing in employee engagement programs based on the belief that their very existence will boost engagement or enhance company culture — they’re not quite getting what they’re looking for. We’ve developed this blueprint for employee engagement to help you get better results.

Build Employee Engagement Now

In our third-party ROI Report, 100% of Kazoo Customers reported that our Employee Experience platform boosted their employee engagement. See how it can help you create an engaging employee experience today.

employee reward ideas

Great Employee Engagement – What Does it Take?

At Kazoo, we study engagement every day. We’ve run market research projects involving thousands of employees. And it’s very clear. Employee engagement requires an engaging employee experience built on four foundational pillars:

  • Meaning. Letting employees feel they have a part in their group’s direction, their own work, and even the company’s goals adds meaning and purpose to their job.
  • Connection. Employees want to feel connected to their coworkers, their managers and the company goals.
  • Appreciation. Give it. Feel It. Research has shown that employees are more motivated by appreciation than by a paycheck.
  • Impact. Impact on company direction. Impact on the community. Impact with their job. Employees want to influence the world around them.

Building Plans for a Positive Employee Experience

But employee engagement doesn’t just happen on its own. Building successful engagement programs takes more than a few surveys and an annual review process.

Engagement takes structured support. And we can help you build that structure. In our guide, you’ll learn how to:

  • Provides employees a foundation of meaning
  • Applies appreciation to motivate employees
  • Maximizes connections to work efficiently
  • Gives employees a voice and a sense of impact

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Set A Foundation of Meaning

Employees want to have a voice in their job’s direction. And they (particularly millennials) want to feel like they can influence the health of the world around them. Giving employees a way to have their voice impact the company and community boosts employee engagement.

  • Let Employees Lead. Whether it’s teaching a training course, designing a team-building activity, or getting a group together for a fun run – asking employees to take the lead on a project that matters to them (sometimes outside their work area!) gives them a sense of impact.
  • Career Growth Opportunities. Growth builds employees engagement. You can give your employees a mentorship lunch with an executive or rewards for taking a class to show them that their growth matters to you. In a survey of highly engaged top performers, 45% said that professional or skill development was a top motivator, and another 13% said opportunities for advancement mattered to them.
  • Reach Out to the Community. Group donations and volunteering as a team can bond a team together and increase individuals sense of meaning. So you can spend a day working at a community garden, mentor students, do a blood drive, or just collect donations for a charity as a team. In our own office, we’ve seen how giving together bonds us together. Our customers agree. And the data agrees: studies show people want to give back.

Frame it All with Appreciation

People just flat out like appreciation. Whether it’s directed at them, or just at people around them, being surrounded by appreciation builds employee engagement.

  • Say “Thank You” Regularly. Employees, particularly millennials, want to know what they’re doing well on a day-to-day basis. New York-based software company Return Path discovered that their executive that doled out the most cross-departmental recognition also had the highest performing team. See their video for more ideas to boost employee engagement.
  • Tie Rewards to Spontaneous Recognition. Working on something that has meaning is the fastest path to employee engagement. But, behavior science shows that doing work just to get a reward can kill motivation while an unexpected thank you can boost it. Show employees that you value them by spontaneously using a reward to say thank you for work that supports a purpose.
  • Recognize the Whole Team. While individual recognition is great – team recognition is even better. When you reward the whole team, it makes the individuals perform better.

Open Doorways for Connection and Engagement

Just like connections between rooms make a good flow in your house, connections between employees (or just helping them reconnect with themselves) can boost employee engagement.

  • Let employees reward each other. Studies show that most employees get more out of spending $20 on a coworker than on themselves. In our own customer base, Team Detroit was surprised when employees started using reward points to buy more points to reward their coworkers.
  • Regular R&R. Your employees spend hours and hours at work, then they need some time to recharge. We’ve found (and so has Harvard Business Review) that giving an employee predictable time off improves the entire team’s performance.
  • Volunteer as a Group. Many people see participation in volunteer activities as a true measure of employee engagement. Volunteering as a team both shows you how engaged employees are and gives you a path for boosting connection.

Top it Off With Impact

Everyone wants to feel like they matter. Giving employees a way to see that the time and thought that they give to their work has a purpose should be the basis that all engagement programs are built upon.

  • Communicate your Core Values Every Day. Purpose is one of the most powerful motivators your employee can have. So, build your employee engagement programs with that purpose. The Kazoo platform makes this easy by tying every piece of recognition to a core value. When employees understand how their work connects to the corporate purpose, it builds their own employee engagement.
  • Give Frequent and Specific Feedback. Many companies, like Adobe and GE are ditching the annual performance review in favor of more regular, forward-looking coaching sessions. Employees want to know how they’re doing and what they’re doing well. More frequent feedback gives employees a stronger direction, makes it easier for them to perform well, and gives them a better sense of meaning.
  • Include Leadership. Having corporate leadership and management involved with recognition and engagement helps keep employees connected to the corporate purpose. For example, have the CEO give recognition to employees or teams that live out the corporate values at a company meeting.