Growth / Team Development

4 tips to hyper-engage employees

Max Woolf

Updated: May 27, 2020 · 4 min read


You’ve got the best people onboard. All of them can juggle more projects than Kim Kardashian posts Instagram selfies. But— The new car smell of the job wore off, and staffers' engagement flatlined. Some drag their feet to work, and others are about to check out. Worst part? You can’t seem to jumpstart the morale and get performance numbers back up. Don’t stress. You’re about to learn how to hyper engage employees. Strap in.

Get a reading of engagement levels

First things first. You want to gauge current employees’ engagement. It’ll show you care and want to make a conscious effort to ensure they’re happy at work. Plus, you'll get insights into what to improve. Problem? You can’t just ask how engaged someone is on a scale of 1 to 10 and move on. Because engagement is an emotion, and that makes it hard to quantify. Good news? You can use pulse surveys to ask questions related to engagement and measure it more accurately.

  • Personal Growth: Do you feel there are opportunities for growth at your organization?
  • Relationship with the Manager: On a scale from 0-10, how close are you with your manager?
  • Happiness: Do you leave work at the end of the day feeling happy?
  • Want to see more? Check this Officevibe guide to learn how to measure employees’ engagement levels like a pro.

    Create a culture of recognition

    Here’s the thing. It’s a no-brainer that you should recognize employees to kickstart engagement.

    But— Most managers work their tail off without getting any tangible results from recognition. The good news? There’s a bulletproof formula that will help you create a recognition-rich environment.

  • Verbally praise staffers at least once a week.** Eighty-two percent of employees don't think managers recognize their work as often as they should./li>
  • Facilitate peer-to-peer recognition.** When co-workers recognize each others' efforts, it feels authentic compared to manager-only praise. For starters, set up a #Kudos channel in Slack and encourage staffers to recognize small and big wins.
  • Match recognition with the outcome. When you give recognition, ensure it matches the ROI of the staffer’s contribution. Otherwise, you’ll leave them hanging with a feeling they aren’t appreciated enough.
  • Be specific. People don't like it when managers drop the generic good job! It means nothing to them. If you want your praise to pop with authenticity, you need to throw in specifics (e.g., Thanks for staying late on Friday. It means a lot to me because there's no way I could've finished editing that article on my own.)
  • Be inclusive. Ensure you praise both high flyers and low-performers (when appropriate.) Otherwise, you won’t jumpstart team-wide engagement.
  • Be quick. Recognize employees’ efforts as early as possible without waiting for the next 1:1 or quarterly review.
  • Provide Opportunities for GrowthBeing stuck in a rut stinks.Your employees hate it too because 80 percent of them will call it quits if they don’t get training.


    Start a personal development fund. It’ll help employees learn on-tap by spending money on improving skills. Here’s how staffers can use the fund:

  • Sign up for an online course (e.g., on Coursera or Futurelearn.)
  • Hire an industry expert to mentor them.
  • Attend an XYZ workshop.
  • Don’t have the budget? Shift gears.

    You can always use high-flyers as coaches and ask them to pass wisdom. Here are two ways A+ players can do it:

  • Organize weekly/bi-weekly company-wide workshops.
  • Run through a series of 1:1s with an employee.
  • Fix management style

    Some managers like to micromanage. Others give directs a boatload of autonomy. Which option is better to torpedo disengagement? Andy Grove, a co-founder of Intel and the author of the book High Output Management, knows: He suggests you should be either hands-on or off depending on employees’ performance. Low performers (and employees that just took on a new role) need a lot of guidance and support. Otherwise, they feel left out, and their engagement will nosedive. A+ players want the opposite. They want managers to minimize their involvement and focus on tracking KPIs. The tradeoff? Employee engagement will rise from its ashes. So—What do you think? There you have it. Four battle-tested tips that will help you slash disengagement. What’s your experience with creating a high-engagement environment? Drop me a line in the comments. I’d love to chat!

    Max Woolf is a writer at ResumeLab.He’s passionate about helping people land their dream jobs through the expert career industry coverage. In his spare time, Max enjoys biking and traveling to European countries. You can hit him up on LinkedIn.

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