With employers being squeezed for innovation to retain their workforce, employee engagement strategies have become the need of the hour – especially when lack of engagement often leads to a reduction in productivity and a rise in attrition. Pay, and benefits such as bonuses and increased holiday allowance, are no longer enough – with purpose and wellbeing fast becoming priorities for job seekers.


Research shows that engaged employees feel connected to a company’s vision and mission; they see the company’s success as their personal success. They are also found to be more motivated and more productive. Implementing strong employee engagement strategies, not convoluted processes, will therefore help your bottom line. In fact, an independent study by The University of East Anglia’s Norwich Business School using Glassdoor’s UK data, found a concrete link between employee satisfaction and financial performance. We caught up with Simon Johnson, General Manager, Freshworks UK to get 5 tips on building the foundations correctly.


Building your employee engagement strategy around culture


It is important to remember what businesses are made of — people. Since we are emotional beings, our feelings can, and do, have a significant effect on our work. The culture within an organisation can hugely determine how employees feel about their work and their engagement with it. Indeed, over half (58%) of us say that company culture is more important than salary when it comes to job satisfaction.


So, as an organisation evolves or scales, how do you ensure the culture stays intact? While it’s extremely valuable to build a physical workspace that makes employees feel comfortable, it’s important to remember that culture has to be built into the processes of an organisation, alongside motivated leadership, great managers, and a nurturing environment. And this is where employee engagement strategies come into play.


Here are five key strategies for building strong employee engagement into your company culture:


  1. Creating a culture team – consider launching a team of cross-company individuals that can act as culture champions. Peer-to-peer engagement from across the business will help bring the company’s values to life. It also puts the culture in employees’ hands. As well as identifying any issues that can be taken to leadership to resolve, an important function of this team should be running regular bonding activities and socials to keep employees connected and engaged. For example, competition is healthy and instils a sense of teamwork and hones skills, so you could consider holding quizzes or hackathons.


  1. Engraining team rituals– a team ritual boosts morale, brings everyone closer, and gives employees a sense of achievement. It need not be something physically strenuous. It should just be an activity that everyone performs together, such as sounding a horn when new business is won, celebrating milestones – birthdays, work anniversaries and the end of big projects – or making a special effort to welcome new starters.


  1. Running regular all hands meeting– an all-hands or town hall meeting is one where the company leadership outlines the growth of the company and the direction it is taking, as well as answers questions from, and actively engages with employees. Staff can often lose sight of the bigger picture while being consumed by their work, but via a company-wide meeting, the leadership team has the opportunity to remind employees that they are a part of a bigger picture and that their efforts count. This goes a long way in keeping a team engaged.
  2. Implementing internal social media– an internal social media platform such as Microsoft Teams, Yammer or Workplace lets employees connect with their colleagues on shared interests. Announcements can be communicated to the entire organisation using multiple formats like text, image and video. It also becomes a place where employees can engage with one another and express themselves freely and candidly. In addition, implementing internal social media also helps leaders keep a check on the pulse of the organisation and overall employee morale.


  1. Using technology to extend two-way conversations – organisations that don’t seem approachable or appear not to listen to employees’ needs often struggle with employee engagement. This can be alleviated when you make communication easier. One way to do this is by creating an internal service desk, which acts as a single stop solution for any issue, query or request that an employee might have. Whether they need a new laptop, or an item added to the office shopping list, the internal portal drives engagement with employees by making reaching out easier.


Further to this, our research shows that 24 per cent of people admit using software they hate makes them want to quit their jobs. Organisations must bear ‘software dictatorship’ in mind when implementing new technology and tools in the workplace. Employee buy-in is a must with 60 per cent of workers saying it would make them feel respected if management involved them in deciding what software to use.


There are several ways you can and should gauge the effectiveness of your employee engagement strategy and overall company culture, from one-on-one conversations with managers to a company-wide survey where you can capture the company’s voice.


Remember, a collaborative, communicative and engaging culture is also known as an employee-centric culture. It re-invigorates organisations by holistically engaging employees, improving retention, and increasing innovation.