5 Ways to Boost Employee Engagement

At this time of record unemployment, making sure employees are satisfied and engaged–and, ultimately, plan to stick around–is paramount for many HR leaders. However, the challenge of understanding when employees are starting to disengage, and, harder still, catching them before they do, continues to plague HR professionals.

In a recent post, HR executives on Forbes Human Resource Council shared advice for tackling employee engagement. While the 13 experts offered a few pieces of tried-and-true tactics–such as welcoming feedback and promoting a culture of transparency–there were several standout suggestions, including these five tips:

Ask, Ask and Ask Again: Sara Whitman of Hot Paper Lantern suggests it’s not enough for managers to ask for feedback during reviews or periodic check-ins. At the end of every meeting, she writes, managers should ask direct reports for their feedback and, when suggestions are offered, follow up to keep the person apprised of any actions taken.

Use Retention Interviews: Retention, or stay, interviews can help managers and HR leaders keep their fingers on the pulse of employee engagement and satisfaction, says John Feldmann of Insperity. Importantly, there should be an anonymous component incorporated to any retention-interview process so employees feel empowered to be honest.

Step Into Their Shoes: LevelUP Human Capital Solutions’ Curtis Grajeda shares that managers need to be intentional about putting themselves in their employees’ shoes, advising them to reflect on their own careers, particularly past relationships with managers–what worked and what didn’t. Managers should do this regularly, he writes–and take concrete action if they think they’re replicating bad behaviors.

Check Your Ego: Putting in place mechanisms that invite feedback and give employees a voice needs to go hand in hand with managers, HR leaders and C-suite executives letting their egos take the back seat, says Patricia Sharkey of Sharkey HR Advisors. “This is a genuine assessment for improvement–not a popularity contest,” she writes.

Utilize Style Assessments: Reverb’s Mikaela Kiner advises that style assessments can help team members to learn about their own, and other people’s, strengths and working styles. In particular, she suggests utilizing the DISC assessment–which measures dominance, influence, steadiness and conscientious.

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Jen Colletta
Jen Colletta is managing editor at HRE. She earned bachelor's and master's degrees in writing from La Salle University in Philadelphia and spent 10 years as a newspaper reporter and editor before joining HRE. She can be reached at [email protected]