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It’s no secret that for most company management teams, the bottom line is what drives the business.

Yet, when talking the talk, many leaders will tell a different story. When asked about their primary business concern, one in three American CEOs point to keeping talent on the team.

According to Forbes, one of the key incentive keeping talented professionals at their current companies is employee engagement.

But what is employee engagement, exactly? According to Gallup, engaged employees are involved in, enthusiastic about, and thoroughly committed to their work and their workplace. Though this might sound simple, it’s rarer than you’d think: the same Gallup poll found that 87 percent of employees are not engaged at work. Meanwhile, they also found that companies that foster high levels of employee engagement will outperform competitors by 147 percent in earnings per share.

The numbers don’t lie — engagement is not only good for employees, but good for companies, shareholders, and leaders.

So now that we’ve solved the “what” of employee retention, we’ll get to the “how”: here are five proven ways to improve employee engagement.

Start by measuring. Before you hit the ground running with employee engagement programs, you need to do some research and find out what matters to your employees. To do this, you’ll need to measure employee satisfaction, overall engagement, and the source of that engagement. Are they engaged by your company’s vision? By its mission, capabilities, or values? Compare what’s working within your organization to what could clearly be improved upon. Discern differences between teams and departments, then dig deep to understand the roots of those differences.

Managers must be up to the challenge. Though employee engagement and satisfaction start in HR, they certainly don’t end there. These concepts are important throughout your workplace ecosystem, and anyone who manages anyone else needs to bear them in mind. Little things like continual feedback, off-site activities, and/or honest and open discussions about personal achievements can make a world of difference.

Always keep the company’s overarching message in mind. Ask yourself: what message is this company delivering? How do we deliver it? When do we deliver it? There’s a constant stream of information that must move from the company’s leaders to the rest of its employees. If you’re committed to keeping all employees engaged, connected, and invested to the company’s vision and goals, it’s important that you constantly evaluate and reevaluate your deliver. Does it come in an inspiring, motivating package, or is a barebones “bottom line” delivery? Plus, these messages need to come from company leaders at a time that is fair, timely, and effective for all.

Help employees find their voice. As HR managers, we have dozens of daily decisions to make. It’s not unusual for our to-do lists to be several pages long, spanning a wide variety of topics. And it always helps to have a deep knowledge of each topic, which adds an element of research and learning to every bullet point. One great way to increase employee engagement is to spread some of this responsibility among employees, not only heightening the overall level of expertise within your organization, but positioning individual employees as experts who can help make decisions, strategize, and resolve complex problems.


Do you have any of your own tips for engaging employees? Share it with us!

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