Employee Engagement Best Practices 2022
Management & Mindset

5 Employee Engagement Best Practices You Need to Embrace for 2022

Providing ping-pong tables and unlimited espresso at work isn’t enough to boost employee engagement — it's the culture your company cultivates that counts.

It's never been more important for organizations to engage their employees. Throughout 2020 and 2021, companies with high employee engagement rates remained more resilient to the challenges posed by the pandemic. The best way to improve employee engagement is by adopting a set of best practices that ensure you genuinely put your employees first.

Traditionally, employee engagement has focused on what an employee can do for the employer, emphasizing an employee's commitment to the organization. Now, the tide is turning on this imbalance. The Great Resignation — which is still going strong — has shown companies that putting employees' needs first is the only way to retain them and attract top talent. Employees are spending time reflecting on their career needs, and over half are willing to quit to find a more satisfying job.

In today’s post-pandemic environment, the employee experience hinges on experiences that enable your people to thrive, and not just when they’re at work. Employees today care deeply about work-life balance, flexibility, and ample professional development opportunities — these benefits are the real perks your people want most. With that in mind, here are five best practices to nurture your top talent and keep teams engaged in 2022.

Looking for an even better way to keep your teams engaged in the world of hybrid work? Check out our 5 secret tips!

5 Tips for Engagement in the World of Hybrid Work

1. Fill the gaps in your onboarding process

A good onboarding process boosts employee engagement because employees are typically highly impressionable during their first days in their new role and quickly form an opinion of a company. According to one study, companies with effective onboarding processes increase their employee retention rates by 82%. A robust onboarding process gives new employees the chance to create relationships with managers and co-workers to sustain their engagement over the long haul.

In the field of SaaS product design, there’s a critical aha moment in which new users of a product or service begin to see its value. If users reach that moment quickly, they’re far more likely to remain customers for a long time. If they don’t see value within the first couple of months, they’ll likely jump ship. Employee onboarding is no different: The earlier you can communicate to your new hires the distinct appeal of working as a part of your organization, the greater the chance they’ll remain at your company for a long time.

Make sure your onboarding process boosts engagement by catering to employees’ needs when they are at their most impressionable. Preboarding — the time between an employee accepting a new position and starting the job — is an excellent way to make a great first impression because it builds a solid relationship early and better prepares incoming employees. Preboarding can be as simple as ensuring they have all the resources they need for a smooth first day and giving them early access to the platforms they’ll work with as part of their job.

Personalizing your onboarding process is another effective way to boost employee engagement by making the process more engaging and improving learning outcomes. For example, when designing your onboarding program, include personalized tracks to make their training more specific to their role.

Related: The 360Learning Onboarding Playbook

Personalizing your onboarding process is another effective way to boost employee engagement.

2. Develop realistic and achievable performance goals

It's important to make employees feel like they're part of a winning team. Unrealistic or unachievable team or organizational goals lower morale — when employees can't meet a goal, it’s defeating and lowers their motivation to put in 100% of their effort.

Help your employees create realistic goals by linking them to your organization’s objectives. A great way to help an employee develop pragmatic goals is to look at their past performance to find areas where they can improve. These goals should also tie into your business goals — when employees see how their personal goals are part of a bigger picture, they are more likely to be engaged.

Goals also need to be achievable. To assess your current goals, review your company’s and employees’ existing objectives to see if you have multiple misses. Then, take those missed goals and rework them using an Objectives and Key Results (OKR) system to create goals that can be measured and achieved.

Help your employees create realistic goals by linking them to your organization’s objectives.

3. Build well-being into your workplace

Employee well-being goes beyond physical health and includes a holistic view of mental health, family considerations, and other personal matters. Employee well-being affects everyone in your company — when your people aren't feeling well, they won't be as productive and will use more sick days, and your company will have a higher turnover.

Forward-thinking companies have offered well-being benefits for some time, and it pays off for everyone involved. For example, Zappos famously puts a lot of effort into caring for their employees’ well-being by prioritizing employee happiness through extensive training and encouraging personal expression. As a result of their policies, 82% of their employees say it is a great place to work, which is way above the average of 59%.

Learning to identify and manage employee overload can help solve well-being issues before they become disruptive. Keep your eye on employees who appear disengaged or who are more easily distracted than usual, and actively look for burnout. An effective way to minimize burnout is to look at which employees haven’t taken time off in months and remind them to use their paid time off.

Your HR team or managers don’t have the time to care for your entire team’s well-being, even when they want to. To fill that gap, offer your employees affordable benefits like BetterUp for professional coaching or a meditation app subscription that can lower their stress levels. These benefits give your employees different ways to improve their well-being, as well as showing your teams you truly care about their health.

Related: How Leading Companies Are Preventing Burnout (While Still Driving Growth)

Employee well-being affects everyone in your company.

4. Amp up your professional development opportunities

A robust professional development program is essential to retain current team members. One of the most common reasons employees leave their jobs is a lack of investment in their development. Over half of employees we recently surveyed said they would leave their job if there weren’t enough professional development opportunities available to them.

To amp up your professional development programs, ask your employees what they need and want to learn. Then, work collaboratively to create courses using interactive learning techniques which put employees at the center of their learning and keep them more engaged.

Remember, there are many opportunities to offer professional development outside of the classroom. Consider peer coaching and mentorship or providing opportunities to work on new projects, all of which are excellent ways to advance your employees' development.

Remember, there are many opportunities to offer professional development outside of the classroom.

5. Measure engagement effectively

Measuring employee engagement makes it easier for you to identify your company’s strengths and problem areas. It also builds trust by allowing all of your employees to voice their opinions. Measuring this engagement has a positive effect because it provides transparency and gives your teams a voice.

The best way to figure out what's working and find areas where you can improve is by capturing data from your employees. To begin, find out the current engagement levels of your employees. Once you have a baseline, use regular employee engagement surveys to determine whether you're keeping your employees engaged, and the extent to which your efforts are making a positive difference. Companies typically conduct employee surveys every year, but it's more effective to do them regularly because it shows you're taking an active interest in your work environment.

By asking your employees if your company has their best interests at heart, if their teams inspire them, and whether they agree with the way leadership is running the business, you can increase the likelihood of your survey generating actionable responses. If you’re short on time or unsure of what to ask, you can use an employee engagement survey template to make the task easier to manage.

Measuring employee engagement makes it easier for you to identify your company’s strengths and problem areas.

Learning and Development is crucial to keep employees engaged

Learning and Development has become a significant driver of employee engagement and should be at the heart of your learning strategies. Training and development are now top priorities for employees, and providing thoughtfully crafted training programs will help your employees be more engaged and show them you value their development.