How to Improve Employee Engagement

How to improve employee engagement has certainly become a hot topic that many organizations are talking about these days.  It’s not just about having happy employees.  It’s a key ingredient to success and accomplishing employee engagement can pay dividends for your business. Studies have shown that when employees are engaged, organizations reap these benefits:

  • Safety – employees have 70% fewer safety incidents
  • Attendance – employees have 41% lower absentee rates
  • Productivity – employees are 17% more productive
  • Retention – employees are less likely to leave
  • Quality and Customer Care – companies experience 40% fewer defects
  • Profitability – Organizations with engaged employees are 21% more profitable

Employee engagement isn’t just nice to have, it’s the way successful organization stay in front of their competition.  Compensation and benefits are important, but not typically the key factors that create an engaged workforce. It’s usually everyday activities and interactions that have the greatest impact on employee engagement.  The great news is there are many things you can do without investing money that can have a strong impact on your teams’ engagement.  Here are three simple tips that can help you improve employee engagement.  These will also make your organization more productive and profitable.

employees meeting on factory floor

Show Appreciation

It seems too easy, but a simple sincere thank you can have a big impact on an individual or team. Ask yourself: How many times a week do I actually take the time to thank someone for a job well done?  I am guessing it is less than you would admit.  That’s OK.  It can be easy to fall into the trap of not thanking someone for “doing their job”.  But that simple thank you can add fuel back to their fire and keep them moving forward with a purpose.

I have a simple mechanism that I have used to remind me to show appreciation on a daily basis.  Place two small objects (like special coins or tokens) in your right pocket every morning.  When you tell someone thank you, move one of these items to your left pocket.  By the end of the day, your goal is for both coins to be in your left pocket.  Soon it will become habit and you will see a difference in your team. I recommend you try it and then give others on your team two coins for their right pockets.



I’ll bet you’ve never heard someone say, “the problem with this company is they communicate too well!”  The reality is communication is a problem in most organizations. When an organization’s workforce doesn’t know the real story, someone will make one up.  Perhaps the only thing faster than the speed of light is the rumor mill.  We’ve all heard them.  One day a visitor walks through the office with a clipboard and the next day you hear rumors that the company is closing down.

This makes it hard for employees to be engaged and focus on what’s important.  Often, a simple routine email can thwart these rumors before they even start.  My recommendation is to develop a weekly email that covers these three topics:

  1. Recent company performance, such as: sales, production, quality, financial, etc.
  2. Current issues that should be the center of the organization’s focus.
  3. Upcoming events that everyone should be aware of, such as: customer tours, audits, sr. management visits, etc.

When there is transparency, employees trust the organization and when employees are organizationally aware, they make better decisions.  This is another positive effect that improving employee engagement can have.


Shorten Meetings

Who doesn’t love a three-hour meeting?… EVERYONE!  Long meetings can kill your team’s motivation.  Meetings are a necessary part of business, but many aren’t productive and rob your team of valuable time and energy.  Here are few tips to help you and your team have shorter / more productive meetings:

Have an Agenda and Stick to It

Publish the agenda prior to the meeting so everyone can come prepared. Review the agenda at the beginning of the meeting and quickly discuss any modifications needed.  Follow the agenda and collect and review any assignments or follow ups at the close of the meeting.  If there are topics brought up that derail the meeting, you may need to schedule a meeting specific to that subject.

Schedule Meeting Lengths

Make them appropriate for the agenda.  Most calendar programs have a default meeting length of 60 minutes. This results in many meetings being scheduled for an hour, even if that much time is not actually needed. Open your calendar preferences and change your default meeting length to 30 minutes, or even better to 15 minutes.  You can always change this when scheduling a meeting, but then it is a conscious effort.

Try Stand-Up Meetings

Getting rid of the chairs changes a meeting dynamic significantly. The energy goes up and the idle chit chat goes down.  This format works great for meetings that are intended to be short.  People are more engaged, and it is easier to keep everyone on topic.  Give it a try you may be surprised.


These are just a few things to get your team more engaged.  There are thousands of ideas to try and not all of them will work for every organization. The key is to understand what steals energy from your team and then find creative ways to improve in that area.  Not feeling appreciated, poor communication, and long meeting are three common areas in which I’ve seen many organizations struggle.  Try some of these ideas to improve your employee engagement if you think these issues are affecting your team.

Executek Recruiting Partners is a manufacturing and industrial executive search firm.  If you are looking for leaders that can drive employee engagement, contact us today to learn how we can help.

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