Ensuring employees are engaged is key in business, as it leads to a higher company morale and improved quality of work. Further, a lack of engagement can be a telltale sign that something is wrong.
For companies finding that their employees aren’t engaged—whether it’s during meetings, feedback sessions or fun social outings—there are ways leaders can drive motivation. Below, 10 members of Young Entrepreneur Council discuss some simple things companies can do to get employees more engaged and involved.
1. Establish Trust And Build Connections
Even when we don’t think so, most people are sufficiently motivated. They want to perform their jobs well and support the people around them. However, everyone has a unique personality, and disengagement can be as simple as feeling uncomfortable or unconfident in various situations. Especially during this transitional moment when people are adjusting to new workplace arrangements, new staff dynamics and a confluence of other factors, building trust and connection is often the missing ingredient to employee engagement. Rather than sorting people into distinct camps—motivated and disengaged—consider doubling down on establishing trust and building connections. You may be surprised by the results. – Marshall Mosher, Vestigo
2. Ask Them About It
When I’m not seeing a lot of employee engagement, my move is simple: ask them about it. Rather than try to throw them more stimulus, I like to set up an open conversation about why they seemed less engaged, starting by requesting feedback or asking if there’s anything I could have done to be more engaging. My go-to questions to ask after a meeting, feedback session or social event are: “Did you feel X was productive, fun or valuable?” “Is there anything I could have done to make it more engaging?” “Are you comfortable with the work you’re doing or the team dynamic?” and “Is there a particular reason why you were quieter than other times?” More often than not, your team will tell you what’s going on and what you can do to improve. – Luciana Safdie, Spot Meetings, Inc.
3. Encourage Daily Collaboration
I have always found that encouraging collaboration from everyone every day produces a more outgoing team. People don’t communicate if they don’t know one another. So, creating an environment where they communicate daily and get to know one another leads to far more productive meetings and feedback sessions. – Zach Binder, Bell + Ivy
4. Host More Interactive Meetings
Because our employees work almost entirely remotely, increasing motivation and involvement can be uniquely challenging. This has prompted us to host a monthly virtual all-hands meeting during which we welcome our new employees and encourage them to introduce themselves. Furthermore, to increase employee involvement, we invite team members to give presentations on informative and relevant topics, which are both enjoyable and stimulating. At the end of each meeting, we encourage our team leaders to give shoutouts to high-performers, helping to improve motivation and morale overall. Our virtual all-hands meeting has been effective at unifying our remote teams and ensuring everyone feels part of the same well-oiled machine. – Jack Perkins, CFO Hub
5. Give Equity In The Company
One way we’ve tried to elicit more buy-in and engagement from our employees at Klickly is by going hard on equity. Giving equity in the company incentivizes employees, instilling a sense of ownership and investment in the business. When the whole company is working toward a shared vision, it makes it easier for everyone to get motivated for a great outcome. We have seen this to be a huge factor in the overall involvement and motivation of our employees. Offering equity to your employees creates the opportunity for long-term personal buy-in with company-wide benefits. – Cooper Harris, Klickly
6. Realign Expectations
To inspire engagement, I realign expectations. I’ve started many all-team meetings by reminding the group I am there as a visionary. Any issue on our list is for them to discuss and solve. I will weigh in, but not before others contribute. Sometimes, a lack of engagement is a sign of over-dependence on you. Try attending meetings and staying silent. Or, remove yourself from meetings where you are not required to make a decision. We need to empower our teams to own their roles and make decisions even when we are not in the room. Our job is to motivate them to engage, experiment and try to resolve issues collaboratively. They don’t always have to rely on us for the final answer! – Trivinia Barber, PriorityVA
7. Experiment With Different Types Of Events
I think it’s important to have different kinds of events to engage more of your employees. People who get nervous during social meetups might feel more comfortable in a virtual conference or would open up more during an online team game. Consider creating different types of feedback sessions and events that include written, verbal and experiential activities. You’ll provide more opportunities for people to shine with what they’re good at. – Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner
8. Make Decision-Making A Team Effort
As the boss, your No. 1 job is to ensure the team is productive, collaborative and happy. To succeed in this department, you need to allow employees to feel a part of the decision-making process. If you’re holding regular meetings and feedback sessions to make sure everyone’s getting the important information, be sure to make it a team effort. This will typically make employees eager to provide their input on their areas of focus. In addition, strive to get feedback from your employees in a more spontaneous way. That means, when you do have a formal meeting, it should often be in a smaller setting and with less structure. The key is to strike the right balance between what works for your culture and what works for your team. – Candice Georgiadis, Digital Day
9. Invest In An Employee Experience Platform
One way of boosting employee engagement in meetings, feedback sessions or general social events is to invest in an employee experience platform. There are various tools like Nectar that help you do that. By using these tools, you can involve all your employees in celebrating the small and big achievements of their teammates. They can appreciate their teammates publicly and also earn rewards for their own achievements. It’s a great way to keep the employees motivated and boost their engagement as well. – Thomas Griffin, OptinMonster
10. Make Sure Employees Are Actually Available
When you set up meetings and feedback sessions, you want to make sure that your employees are actually free to participate. Business owners often set up events and meetings but neglect to reduce their staff’s workload. It’s possible that your employees aren’t active or participating because they’re concerned about the work that they have to pick up later. You can deal with this by staggering the event for different groups, by reducing or removing some work or by having your events during slow periods. When employees feel like they don’t have piled-up work waiting for them, they’ll be more present and participate in company activities. – Blair Williams, MemberPress