Last updated December 23, 2020
If you’ve been following our guide to employee engagement, you now know what employee engagement is. You also should have an idea of what an employee engagement strategy could look like. At this point, you know that engaged employees look like a NASA janitor feeling like he’s helping a man get on the moon, and that it’s a wonderful way to boost profitability.
If you’re looking for some employee engagement ideas, you’re at the right place. In this post, we’ll show you examples of employee engagement initiatives that created passionate employees.
Everyone is passionate about something. And when you have a team full of talented people, one of the best ways to encourage them to follow their passion is to use their Talent For Good. That’s what Johnson & Johnson (J&J) offers to their employees: an employee engagement program that lets them use their skills to help communities.
We know that two of the main drivers of engagement are purpose and professional development. This approach tackles both.
Letting employees choose how to help a variety of nonprofits helps not only get more engaged employees but also enhance the skills they use at work. Employees at J&J have plenty of remote work volunteer opportunities: they can translate social media content, develop business plans, do market research, or choose from plenty of other activities that help causes they care about.
“It’s not just our partners who benefit, our employees have the unique possibility to develop new perspectives and stretch their skills, while taking something back to their daily lives and professional roles.” Emelie Dorlin, Senior Manager Community Impact at Johnson & Johnson Switzerland
BNP Paribas understood that they’d need to go the extra mile with initiatives to maintain engagement levels when they reopened post-lockdown. Being sensitive to their social responsibility, the leadership team launched an employee solidarity initiative.
They launched a lot of purpose-driven initiatives, which not only helped employee wellbeing and engagement but also demonstrated their company values.
Some initiatives included collecting food for the Fondation Partage, blood drives with the Geneva University Hospital, remote brainstorming sessions for nonprofits, and building tiny houses for those in need.
Co-workers collaborated on these projects, which also served as team-building exercises.
Lemonade is a New York-based insurance provider for homeowners, renters and pet insurance. It closed its initial public offering (IPO), raising $319 million this July, largely thanks to their remarkable employee performance. Forbes voted them as one of America’s top startup employers for 2020, and rightfully so. Lemonade is very intentional and open about creating a caring work environment for its employees.
They have 3 pillars of a caring work environment, which are:
It’s more than just perks and intentional work-life balance, even though those are important, too. Seeing your human resources as people who want to be included and developed is vital to employee retention and satisfaction.
There’s nothing that will create disengaged employees faster than feeling judged and unwelcome. That’s not what new employees (or all team members, for that matter), experience when they join DuoLingo. They are adamant about creating an inclusive work environment.
As a part of this initiative, they’ve created Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) to help support everyone on their team.
“ERGs enable employees to meet and support people like them, while advocating for a diverse and equitable workplace that includes everyone.” Elise Walton, Employee Experience Manager, Duolingo (source)
They’ve hit the nail on the head. Research shows that inclusivity increases employee engagement and that a sense of belonging drives organisational performance.
In fact, inclusion and belonging is extremely important: one study found that a single incidence of “micro-exclusion” can lead to an instant 25% drop in an individual’s performance on a team project.
If there’s one thing you can do to avoid disengagement, it’s making sure that everyone feels accepted.
Highspot is a sales enablement and sales performance solution that knows that nothing is more important than their people. Going beyond quick fixes like Zoom happy hours, Highspot gives special attention to making sure management supports employees.
That means learning and development. For all employees, of all levels, across different departments. They focus on training to make people better. Not just training to train, but really with a focus on making them better at their jobs.
“When a company invests in setting people up for success, they are more likely to exceed goals, feel satisfied, and continue to grow with the company.” Haley Katsman, Growth Enablement, Highspot (source)
One interesting focus is on building their managers on how to sustain company culture. This kind of training helps their managers be more empathetic and focus more on the people than the financial bottom line (but focusing on people boosts the bottom line, anyway).
The highest-performing employee engagement strategies are based on values. On seeing the value in the employees, seeing their value as humans, and respecting their social and environmental values beyond the workplace.
It’s about giving employees a platform and the support they need to explore their values. When you’re creating your employee engagement strategy, think about how you can support their dreams: what do they wish they could do that would make them better as people?