It’s common to “take stock” of our personal and professional goals as we transition to a new year. We may take the time to evaluate how we performed against our own goals or resolutions, year-end reports and performance reviews can evaluate how we performed against professional goals, and we can evaluate our programs, vendors, and customer/client experiences as a way to measure progress against organizational goals.
The majority of organizations today have employee recognition programs in place, with the most commonly-used program type as milestone recognition or service awards. But employee engagement has grown beyond recognition and into elevated programs to address culture, wellbeing, drive, and more.
If you want to take a mental inventory or audit of your employee engagement program, start here:
Purpose — In one study, 57 percent of employees polled said “meaningful work” made the strongest contribution to their positive feelings about their work. Ultimately, everyone wants to know their work makes a difference — to the team, the organization, the community, and even the world. Does your organization make it easy for employees to connect to a greater purpose in their work? Does your mission statement have life? How do people within the organization live up to company values? And is there a strong sense of social responsibility with support from senior leaders and commitment throughout the organization?
Work Design — Part of the buzz around culture is about swanky office design, open work concepts, even trends like hot desking — but you don’t need to compete with startups and ad agencies for the most creative spaces. Ultimately, a good workspace provides a safe physical environment that supports productivity and is appealing to employees. But beyond the physical workspace, good work design involves the design of jobs, autonomy of employees, and a focus on innovation, with programs to support continuous product and services improvement and professional development.
Social System — Having a friend at work has an impact on how we feel about work. Feeling connected to a social system can provide a sense of belonging, meaning, and make work feel a little less like work. To evaluate your organization’s social system, ask these questions: Does your organization support diversity and inclusion in meaningful ways? Is onboarding an inclusive and thoughtful process, making new employees feel truly welcome, prepared and part of the organization? And — can employees communicate in ways that support their work?
Personal Growth — Nearly half of workers in a recent study reported professional development opportunities supported their engagement at work. In another study, 76 percent of Millennials said development opportunities were an important part of culture. Professional development can be offered in technical training, leadership development or support for personal growth. Want to know what your employees would appreciate most? Ask them.
Contribution Awareness — Everyone wants to feel appreciated for the work they do. There’s a lot of pressure on organizations to increase the feedback employees are receiving, but this doesn’t always mean more check-ins with the same manager or team. Performance insights can come from a variety of sources (including customers). And while more than 80 percent of organizations report having some form of employee recognition program in place, a holistic recognition system with tangible rewards can make a measurable impact on how values employees feel in the organization.
Advocacy — In the spirit of customer loyalty programs, today, we can foster advocates from within the organization as well. Does your organization support employee ambassadors and referrals? What steps can your engaged employees take to share their satisfaction with people outside of the organization? Can they (or do they want to) engage with the organization on social media? Can they (or do they want to) share their work achievements with their friends and family?
Wellbeing — Corporate wellness programs have gone beyond fitness challenges and into supporting mindfulness, wellness education, and opportunities to eat healthy and get exercise at work. Many organizations promote financial and psychological health for employees as part of supporting a holistic sense of security. If employees are not financially secure or emotionally well, the likelihood that they are able to do their best work is diminished. Organizations who recognize this support the whole health of their employees without being invasive or paternalistic. Employees need opportunities to willingly engage in, not required programs that could take away from their enjoyment of their jobs.
Want to learn more about how your organization is wired to support engagement? Take our free, innovative online assessment: Engagement Potential Index (EPI). Your results will be compared to industry benchmarks in a customized report alongside a tailored set of recommendations on how to improve your standing. If you’re serious about taking stock in your organization’s engagement program and you want to learn more about how to support employees, take the EPI today!