May 28, 2019

The power of checking in: driving engagement by reaching out

Having engaged employees doesn’t just result in having a happier team – engagement drives company profitability and productivity. Here are three ways to foster engagement by staying connected with your people.

In today’s constantly changing, technology-driven world, it’s not uncommon to feel like you’re working in your own bubble. It’s important to frequently reach out to your employees, whether they are virtual or in the office, so that they feel a human-to-human connection. Ensuring team members feel heard and have opportunities to share their voice is more significant than you might think. Simply checking in with them can truly make a difference and help drive engagement in your workplace.


Having engaged employees doesn’t just result in a happier team. Engagement is linked to greater profitability for your organization. According to Gallup, teams with stronger employee engagement perform at higher levels, have higher productivity, better retention, fewer accidents, and 21% higher profitability. Engaged workers not only perform better but have better health outcomes as well, which can contribute to decreased absenteeism.


So how can you help? Check out these three ways to increase engagement and create a stronger, more sustainable team.


Forget the annual survey

Measuring engagement annually – or even twice a year – doesn’t cut it for today’s workforce. By offering a pulse survey on a more frequent basis, your employees will provide their anonymous feedback through a familiar mechanism. Having a shorter and more focused feedback tool, such as a pulse survey, will capture the key themes and issues that are important to your people.


Having an ongoing check-in tool to better understand your team’s motivators and communication styles can also help drive engagement among team members. This can help you track engagement in real time, have stronger team interactions, and understand your team on a deeper level.


Look past the formalities

It’s important to provide your workforce with a variety of forums for formal and informal feedback on a regular basis. Try capturing the sentiment of your team during your one-on-one meetings or collecting feedback through an “always on” portal. At Ceridian, we have an internal ideas portal where any person can confidentially post their ideas about the employee experience, and have other employees vote or respond to their ideas. This provides a forum for employees to share their brightest ideas that they might otherwise feel uncomfortable sharing.  


Informal discussion is valuable for all generational groups, specifically millennial employees who crave instant feedback and open communication.


Intentionally dedicating time for team building during meetings will help your colleagues feel more comfortable sharing their thoughts. For a virtual team, playing a game of Think ‘n Sync can help your team get to know each other on a personal level and feel more comfortable sharing their thoughts. Including gamification such as a Kahoot! survey during a team meeting can also be a fun way to boost engagement while providing a mechanism to collect targeted feedback.


Using a technology tool is an efficient way to approach performance management. HR Dive explains that in a recent Wakefield Research study, more than 60% of employees said they feel the traditional performance review is outdated. Modern technology-based approaches will assist you in facilitating timely and actionable feedback. It’s important to remember that engagement is an ongoing priority, and by providing a variety of feedback options, your employees will feel empowered to share their thoughts.


Related: Four tips for effectively engaging today's workforce


Use it or lose it

Once you collect feedback from employees, communicate key findings with them, and act on it. Being transparent about the results further leads to stronger engagement. Leveraging trends in related metrics will help trigger action items and monitor impacts of the implemented changes.


Communicate and celebrate with your entire organization about how their feedback has made a positive change. You can communicate via your intranet site, newsletter, team meetings, or other networks. Your team will feel valued knowing that their feedback made a difference.


Related: Tips for making the performance review process more effective


Although it may take some time to establish the foundation, providing a variety of avenues to collect feedback, whether during informal check-ins, one-on-ones, or surveys, will make a difference. It is time well invested. Taking action can lead to amazing transformations, and having an engaged workforce contributes positively to your employees’ wellbeing and your company’s bottom line.


Read next: Rethinking employee engagement: How to engage your modern workforce


Lisa Bull

Lisa Bull is Vice President, Talent Development at Ceridian where she oversees learning and development, performance management, onboarding, and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs globally. 

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