Pretty much everywhere you turn, execs and upper leadership at various organizations are voicing concerns about employee engagement after the past couple of years (if you’re still fuzzy as to what the term actually means, check out our article What is Employee Engagement). And rightly so, Gallup found that only about one-third of employees are actively engaged, with some of the largest drops in engagement being for managers.
And as you probably already know since you're on this article, engagement is crucial in the workplace; it impacts pretty much everything from how creative and innovative teams are, to attracting top talent and retaining them, to providing optimal customer service to clients...
So, what can you do?
As we head into the month of February you may find yourself wondering… where the heck did January go? I know I certainly have no idea how it flew by so quickly! And as a people influencer, HR professional, or really anyone tasked with employee culture, you may also be feeling the need to try some new strategies to keep or boost employee engagement and connection for your work team now that the year 2022 is (somehow already) fully here.
Traditional approaches? - While wellness programs aren’t necessarily bad, they may not get you fully to your culture and employee engagement goals on their own. And I am probably not the first to roll my eyes at suggestions of a zoom coffee “meet up” as a way to chit chat about the weather. So, what should you try as an HR professional to get your organization’s engagement up?
5 suggested activities
New things to try – While there are some tried-and-true, good ‘ole strategies to try out there that you probably already do, the following ideas may be ones that you haven’t considered before and are somewhat unique to the iAlign philosophy.
Sharing your vision – if you and your team are already in iAlign, this step is easier via our vision feature… if not, don’t fret, you can still do this activity! Take a few moments to sit and deeply contemplate where you want your life to go, maybe that’s in a year from now or in ten years. What’s the same? What’s different? Coming from a place of optimism, what does your best future life look like? Write 1-3 of these down (they can be either professional or personal) and share them with someone you feel comfortable talking to about them. Even better, consider looking for a beautiful image that helps remind you of that vision and put it in a place you often see to remind you of your why. If your team feels comfortable, have everyone share one and discuss why your visions have a place in your heart to help build a sense of community!
MyPurpose – Having difficulty casting a vision in the first activity or have others on your team that seem to have a hard time articulating what drives them? Consider heading over to take our proprietary MyPurpose assessment, currently offered free of charge for a limited time while it’s in the beta development stage. Not only will you gain scientifically backed insights into what uniquely drives you at work, if you have your team take it you can also gain invaluable insights into what motivates the rest of your work group!
Job crafting – What are some tangible ways of putting your vision(s) and purpose drivers to work? Task swaps are a great to bond as a team and potentially find ways that everyone can have more meaningful work. What do I mean? First check out our article on job crafting for the basics of the idea behind this activity… then for the task swap, have everyone write down the top 3 tasks they like the most about their current job role along with the 3 tasks they dislike the most. Next, get everyone together (virtually or in 3D) and challenge the group to find any creative ways that someone on the team can take at least one of someone else’s “dislike” activities on (at least temporarily) if they really wouldn’t mind doing it. Go around and see if everyone can swap out at least one of their most detested tasks for something that is even a bit better! Or at the least, doing something different can feel less burdensome, so switching things up occasionally can break up the tedium.
Upskilling and professional development – Speaking of new things, one of the most desired and necessary aspects of today’s workforce is the continuous need to upskill or reskill. Consider using your vision(s) from the first activity or top MyPurpose drivers to help point you in which direction to go… which online course can you audit or professional seminar can you take? Are there books on leadership or articles on 2022 trends you want to read? This activity is even better when shared with someone else on your team so ask around to see if anyone else is also interested in the same topics and use some self-motivation to learn something new together! As our Senior Product Manager Travis likes to say, “if you’re not growing, you’re slowing.”
Prosocial activities together (volunteering) – Last but not least, consider ways you can give back to your community and live out your values that may not be directly tied to your job! Research shows that volunteering together can help bring work teams together and finding meaning outside of work can be hugely beneficial/sufficient if work itself is lacking meaning at the moment. Consider asking HR or leadership about pre-existing opportunities or initiatives at your organization, you may be pleasantly surprised by what’s already going on or the eagerness to support you in your volunteering endeavors. Double down by leaning into your pre-existing strengths or use it as an opportunity to try new things and grow.
Engagement at work can be tricky even in the best of times, we hope this article sparked at least one idea for how to work together as a team to collectively align towards your group goals in 2022 😊