In 2021, the United States saw the worst employee engagement statistics in over a decade. Only one-third of sampled employees in a Gallup study said they were engaged in their jobs. Worse still, 16% admitted to being ‘actively disengaged at work. That means more than 1 in 6 American employees are unhappy and uninterested in their work.
The cost of disengagement is high — in fact, it can cost you millions of dollars per year. They also tend to be less creative and innovative, which can lead to stagnation within organizations.
So, what can you do to increase employee engagement and create a more productive, creative team? Check out these five team engagement ideas that really work.
Team Engagement Idea #1: Stop limiting potential
A mistake that many CEOs, managers, and business owners make is limiting the potential of their team. They do this by setting strict expectations about the way they should behave, work, and even think. As a result, team members feel like they can’t be creative or take risks.
This is not to say leaders shouldn’t have boundaries and expectations; asking a certain standard of your employees is necessary for quality control. However, it’s important to also allow for creativity and risk-taking. This can be done in a number of ways, such as setting goals rather than rules, being open to new ideas, and giving employees the freedom to make mistakes.
When team members feel like they are able to think and act creatively, they are more likely to be engaged in their work. They will also feel appreciated by the company, which can lead to a stronger team bond.
Ideas for removing restrictions from your team:
- Set goals rather than rules. This will give employees a sense of direction while allowing for some creativity.
- Be open to new ideas. If you’re always closed off to new suggestions, team members will stop bringing them up.
- Give employees the freedom to make mistakes. As long as the mistakes don’t harm the company, allow your team to learn from their errors.
Allowing your employees room to grow and to be themselves can only benefit your business, as it allows for uncapped potential and innovation.
Team Engagement Idea #2: Share leadership around
While a clear and consistent leadership structure is important to your business, sometimes it can be beneficial to rotate leadership roles around. This helps to keep team members engaged and invested in their work, and it also allows them to learn new skills. You can rotate leadership every few months or even every week, depending on your business’s needs.
Rotating leadership can also help prevent burnout. When team members are constantly in charge, they can become overwhelmed and stressed. Rotating leadership allows them to take a break and recharge, which can help them be more productive when they return to their role.
Assigning leadership responsibilities to others doesn’t necessarily mean sharing your role around, however; it can simply involve giving promising individuals a few more responsibilities here and there, as they are ready for them. When team members sense they are being prepared for a leadership role, they are likely to be more invested in their work.
Ideas for sharing leadership with your team:
- Allowing team members to lead meetings or take charge of specific tasks
- Rotating leadership every few months or weeks
- Giving promising individuals more responsibilities as they are ready for them
- Encouraging team members to give feedback and suggestions for improvement
- Providing leadership training and development opportunities
Team Engagement Idea #3: Be transparent
If you are someone who prefers to keep the background details of your business under wraps, you aren’t alone. Many leaders opt for a structure in which every team member knows their individual responsibility, and theirs alone. This can be a successful way to manage a team — but it’s not the only way.
There are benefits to being transparent with your team members, even if it means sharing information that makes you look bad. In fact, transparency was found to be the top contributing factor in employee satisfaction.
When you are open and honest with your staff, they feel like they are a part of something bigger. They understand the company’s goals, and they know how their individual efforts contribute to the whole.
Being transparent also allows your team to develop trust in you as a leader. When team members know that they can rely on you to be honest with them, they are more likely to take risks and put forth the extra effort.
Ideas for increasing transparency:
- Sharing your company’s vision and goals
- Including team members in the decision-making process
- Fully explaining the rationale behind your decisions
- Being open about your own mistakes and lessons learned
If you are uncomfortable with sharing too much information at once, start by gradually sharing more over time. As your team becomes more comfortable with one another, they will be more likely to share information and ideas freely.
Team Engagement Idea #4: Prioritize consistency
No employee wants to feel as though they are walking on eggshells in terms of their work situation, which is why it’s important to be as consistent as possible with your team.
In order for them to feel as though they are a long-term part of the organization, they need to know that you value their time and the role they play; otherwise, there is no reason for them to remain engaged and invested in your company.
Being consistent with your expectations, communication, and work approach will help to create a sense of stability for your team. This allows them to focus on their work rather than constantly worrying about what might happen next. Additionally, it shows that you are reliable and that they can count on you to be a dependable leader.
For example, if you always communicate changes or updates to your team in a timely manner, they will be less likely to feel surprised or blindsided by sudden changes. Likewise, if you establish guidelines and expectations at the beginning of a project, team members will know what is expected of them and can work more efficiently.
Ideas for maintaining consistency:
- Being timely with your communication and keeping everyone in the loop
- Establishing and sticking to guidelines and expectations so that everyone is aware of what is required of them
- Focusing on the long-term instead of making constant changes that might upset team members
By remaining consistent as a leader, you will help to create a stable and productive working environment for your team. This, in turn, will lead to better results and a more engaged workforce.
Team Engagement Idea #5: Celebrate and share in your successes
As important as it is to stay focused and productive, celebrating and sharing in company successes should be held to similar importance. Celebrating successes can take many different forms, but it is important that each employee has a way to feel involved and appreciated.
Every active member of your team contributes to the company’s successes in some form, whether that be facilitating client onboarding, creating products, making sales, or taking care of administrative duties — so it’s only right that they are recognized for it and allowed to celebrate.
Ideas for celebrating success:
- Share a quick victory email or Slack message to congratulate team members when they do something great
- Throw a small party in the office, complete with cake and bubbly
- Give out special awards, like Employee of the Month, to highlight standout team members
- Recognize individual successes and contributions on the company blog or website
No matter how you choose to do it, make sure team members feel appreciated and like they’re a part of something bigger. When everyone feels good about what they’ve accomplished, it creates a positive cycle of motivation and productivity that benefits the entire team.
Extra tips for added engagement
If you’ve implemented the first five team engagement ideas and you are looking for ways to increase your engagement even further, here are some bonus tips:
- Get to know your team. Take the time to learn their names, their backgrounds, and what they care about. Make an effort to get to know your employees and understand what makes them tick.
- Encourage creativity and innovation. Give your team the freedom to come up with new ideas and solutions. This will help them feel ownership of their work and increase their engagement levels.
- Stay positive. Always be positive in your interactions with your team. Encourage them, praise their successes, and help them learn from their failures. Negative attitudes will only drag down team morale and engagement levels.
- Talk about losses and failures. While it’s important to stay positive, it’s also important to be honest with your team. Talk about the losses and failures as a way of learning from them and improving in the future.
- Have fun! Work can be stressful, so make sure to have some fun along the way. Organize team-building activities or just take some time to relax and enjoy each other’s company.
By implementing these team engagement ideas, you can create a more engaged and productive team that feels positive about coming to work each day.
Team Engagement Ideas: Bottom Line
The past couple of years have been poor in terms of team engagement — so it’s time to change the trend, and you can be a part of that. Managers must start being more creative and proactive when it comes to creating a team that is willing to work together.
Remember that team engagement is not a one-time event, but rather it’s an ongoing process that should be tweaked and adjusted as needed. By using these tips, teams can become more productive and effective.