Schools Workforce & Workplace
Apply Three Easy Practices to Accelerate Employee Engagement
Mia Mends
Mia Mends
Benefits & Rewards Services
Sodexo USA

This is the fifth in a continuing blog series based on insights and findings from the Sodexo 2016 Workplace Trends Report. The Report examines nine key trends affecting business outcomes and the quality of life of employees and consumers. To learn more, access the full article: Redefining Employee Engagement through Recognition.

Employee engagement is essential to creating a competitive advantage. Not only do engaged employees characteristically outperform those who are not engaged, they have an optimistic mindset associated with their work. Studies prove that engaged employees are not only more productive and positive, they are more economical for the corporation thanks to higher retention rates.

The 2016 Workplace Trends Report, which examines key trends affecting business, cites the lack of engagement among today’s employees as a serious problem. As the war for talent heats up, recruiting, engaging and retaining the best and brightest employees becomes even more crucial in the workplace.

Traditionally, employee engagement programs aim to improve employees’ attitude and gain their involvement through incentives and rewards. However, new methods are needed to engage today’s multi-generational workforce. Businesses need to create employee programs based on peer and social recognition that reach every level of an organization. Employee engagement must be a core business strategy as opposed to a strictly Human Resources process.

Here are three best practices to make engagement a core business strategy:

1. Tie programs to corporate values

Today’s workforce is driven by values. Potential employees seek employers that share their values such as community involvement, health and wellness, and environmental impact. When a corporation can tie their values directly to the programs they implement, employees find it easier to make the connection between the recognition they receive and what the company stands for.

For example, a company that values health and wellness may reward employees for making healthy choices. Tying the reward to an action like choosing a healthy meal reinforces healthy behavior and focuses on the employee’s quality of life. This approach is more likely to encourage employees to continue making healthy choices and feel appreciated by their employer. 

2. Support your workforce with the right tools

With approximately 30% of the workforce working remotely, it’s important to implement the right communication strategies to reach all employees. While it’s more challenging to recognize and communicate with customer-facing front line employees, they play a valuable role in consumer satisfaction and are an extremely important group to have access to giving and receiving company recognition.

Companies need to assess which tools and communication mediums work best for their employees. Companies can choose to be active and formal in their communication through team meetings, briefings and training, or they can be passive and informal through the use of intranets, social media and recruitment programs, or a combination of both There isn’t a wrong way to communicate to your employees—companies need to align their communication and engagement strategies so that they are consistent with their corporate culture.

3. Don’t follow a one-size-fits-all approach

Though critical for the organization as a whole, employee engagement begins on the individual level and is subjective. By tapping into individual beliefs, talents, goals and life experiences, you can better drive performance, mindset and well-being. You wouldn’t recognize a digitally-focused Millennial the same as a community-focused Baby Boomer. Ensure your recognition program engages these diverse individuals.

Employee engagement is one of the most pressing human capital challenges that organizations face today. And it’s a key determinant of business success. Unfortunately, many of today’s businesses miss the mark and fail to find opportunities to genuinely connect with their employees. But, with the right mindset, proper tools and strong leadership, your company can increase its employee engagement.

For more on this topic and for an example of how to implement a successful recognition program through taking advantage of employee wellness, go to the Workplace Trends Reports.

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Mia Mends is CEO of Sodexo Benefits & Rewards Services, U.S.

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