Employee engagement is the key to optimistic team members who are self motivated to do great things. And it’s more important now than ever, as remote work is increasingly common and even considered the new norm amidst COVID-19. Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace report, only 15% of employees worldwide are engaged in their jobs. The rest are either unengaged or actively disengaged, according to Forbes. These 15% are emotionally invested and committed to their team and company. While engagement ranges on a spectrum, there are short-term and long term ways to improve employee engagement.

Balanced Employees Are More Productive. 

It might seem counterintuitive, because you’d think the employees who work after hours and devote extra energy would get more done. Research shows a direct correlation between work-life balance and employee engagement. People who have that sense of balance are free to tend to their personal lives, so when they do work, they get to be all there. Those who experience a good work-life balance work 21% harder than those who don’t, according to a survey from the Corporate Executive Board, which represents 80% of Fortune 500 companies. 

Balance allows for a more positive outlook on an individual’s workplace, and that positivity translates to productivity. Take that balance away and you run the risk of employees showing reduced performance, more turnover, and even serious health problems due to burnout (Anderson et al, 2002). Creating a culture of balance in the workplace is essential and helps employees to feel engaged and do better work.

Tip: Create a culture of work-life balance by not sending emails after work hours. Instead, use a scheduler to send them the next morning. Aim for balance to improve employee engagement.

Engaged Employees Feel Recognized and Appreciated.

According to data from Bonusly’s 2019 Engagement & Modern Workplace Report, 84% of highly engaged employees were recognized the last time they went above and beyond. Compare this to 25% of actively disengaged employees. Recognition goes a long way in terms of employee engagement. Employees feel appreciated and motivated to repeat this type of work. 

One BusinessSolver study found 92% of employees felt their managers showing empathy is critical to driving retention. Employees want strong leadership, but not so strong that humanness is missing. An EY study found that less than half of the professionals around the world feel like they can rely on their employer. If that trust isn’t there, employee engagement isn’t either. Building trust and showing appreciation go a long way to improve employee engagement. 

Tip: Even if you think you already do this, make note of how many times you recognize an employee for something during a given week. Each week, try to up that by one.

Address Engagement Regularly.

One of the most effective ways to judge an employee’s engagement is by simply asking them. It seems obvious, but regularly check in if possible to ask employees if they’re feeling engaged. If not, ask them what would make them feel that way. This opens up conversations that might not happen otherwise, and can solve some engagement issues you didn’t even know existed. 

Tip: When you meet in a one-on-one setting with an employee, ask about engagement as a first check-in question. This way you won’t forget to ask it, and can steer the rest of the conversation based on their answer.