Investing in Employee Engagement Programs

Until resignation letters start pouring in, a lot of companies don’t realize that their employees are unhappy. Studies show that only 13% of employees worldwide are engaged in the workplace, leading to a large number of turnovers.

To increase employee retention, companies are devising several ways to create a more productive work environment. Engaging employees goes beyond merely providing free meals and company excursions; it’s about focusing on the individual employee’s needs and addressing their concerns.

An engaged employee has the willpower to show up to work on time every day and proactively seek to achieve their company’s goals to the best of their ability. With that said, engaged employees are more productive and are likely to stay longer in a company.

We list down six employee engagement programs to help companies maintain and satisfy their workforce.

Employee Engagement Programs

Employee engagement programs are company investments. They not only keep employees happy, they also attract talent. While many of these setups come at a cost, the important thing is for companies to land on a program that’s meaningful to their employees.

1. Workplace Wellness Programs

Employee engagement and wellness go together. For one, high stress levels lead to poor physical and mental health, which derail employee morale. Moreover, many employees are too occupied with work that they can’t find the time to go to the gym or simply exercise.

Providing wellness packages lowers stress and boosts the employee’s emotional well-being.

On-site fitness classes, like yoga or indoor biking, help employees stay fit and healthy while at work. Offering company-provided gym memberships also empowers healthy living and attracts potential employees.

Wellness packages also save on costs. A study by the ITA Group shows that companies that implement an effective wellness program save $5.93 for every $1 spent on health costs. It may just be the solution to curbing premium health packages, disability claims, and sick leaves.

Unpaid, month-long sabbaticals should also be an option for tenured employees.

2. People Analytics

Companies analyze their talent because they want to see patterns that could allow them insight into employee life.

Understanding these patterns helps the organization improve its processes, from recruitment to employee mobility. Moreover, this predicts turnovers and increases retention.

People analytics improves business productivity by 25%. There are three types of data that can help management measure their employees’ happiness at work:

People data refers to demographics, skills, and engagement. In addition to conducting employee satisfaction surveys, companies are also measuring the type of personalities and cognitive abilities they attract.

This allows companies to determine appropriate personal development trainings to set up in the future.

Program data includes attendance, participation in trainings, and project outcomes.

Absenteeism provides insight into employee health, while involvement in the organization’s programs and projects gauge the employee’s interest in company initiatives.

Performance data pertains to performance rating, which peers and managers usually submit through 360-degree surveys.

This helps employers track progress against goals and make informed decisions about compensations and perks. It’s also a key indicator of growth and improvement within the company.

3. Skills Improvement and Development

Employees constantly crave growth and challenges and feel more engaged with work when they’re learning something new. Some organizations place a premium on education and allow a more flexible schedule so that their employees can find time and opportunity to learn.

When employees see that their managers are invested in their growth, employee morale increases.

One way of achieving this is for managers to invest in job-related learning tools, such as an online library, professional conferences, or online courses—anything that could help an employee improve on their job.

Companies with big budgets could offer career development options, like reimbursement programs for further studies. Organizations could also benefit from personal coaching programs, in which managers could set learning goals and allow employees to assess their learning.

Some organizations reward employees with simple perks when they take the initiative to learn something new and apply it to their work. This could be a free lunch or an option to take a full day’s leave.

Team building activities are also part of an employee’s training. They promote teamwork, review the functions of departments and employees, and emphasize the company’s goals and mission.

4. Company Events

Company events promote camaraderie and build relationships. They connect employees not only to their colleagues but to their employers as well.

Meeting with a manager in a more casual setting reduces stress and tension from work and even gives employees something to look forward to.

From set-up to participation, company events promote team collaboration and creativity. Mingling with other departments can help employees obtain fresh ideas and think outside the box. These events can also form networks that can benefit an employee’s career in the long run.

Some company events encourage employees to invite their families. Seeing colleagues through the eyes of their family members provides insight into their character. These can create real connections, as colleagues are able to show their personal sides.

5. Fundraising Activities

Conducting activities outside of work also boosts employee engagement. Fundraising activities, in particular, provide a sense of community. It strengthens the identity of the organization and fosters teamwork.

Some organizations incentivize competitive fundraising.

Companies that are divided into departments can make pledges, such as riding their bikes to work for a week or selling used items to the company’s neighborhood. The team that raises the most funds naturally receives a reward.

Another way to engage employees in fundraising activities is to allow them to host or organize a charity event of their choice.

Allowing employees to take the wheel can be empowering and brings up the morale. What an employee brings to the plate can also be surprising. Some companies even adapt personal causes into its culture.

Other organizations allow employees flexibility in their schedules so that they can volunteer at their own personal time. On the other hand, some employees who can’t find time off from work have the option to donate to charity from their paychecks.

6. Recognition and Awards Programs

Employee engagement touches on the emotional and functional commitment of employees. Two-thirds of employees, who feel that their companies did not appreciate their efforts in the past week, are twice as likely to leave the company.

When employees feel valued, they’re more motivated to do their work and stay in the company. Some initiatives to validate employees’ efforts include:

Public recognition. Organizations create end-of-the-year events or award nights to hand out trophies or certificates to deserving employees.

Private recognition. One formal way for managers to recognize their employees’ hard work is by writing them personalized thank-you notes.

Monetary incentives. A traditional way of rewarding hard work is by increasing the employee’s compensation or giving bonuses. Some companies also offer group-based rewards in the form of travel or vacation.

Fully Engaging Employees

When employees start disengaging from their work, productivity decreases. This often leads to high turnover rates, from which companies can incur losses.

Engaging employees goes beyond company perks; it involves looking at the overall needs of the employee, such as health, social life, and performance.

Investing in employee engagement programs is an excellent way to keep employees happy at work, draw in talent, and help the company flourish.