8 tips to increase engagement among frontline employees

Ruben Wieman

Ruben Wieman

Engaged Employee

We all want engaged employees. High employee engagement results in more initiative, higher productivity, and less absenteeism and turnover – to name a few benefits. Yet how do you give employee engagement the boost it needs? Check out these eight tips and discover how to go about it.

Table of Contents

What is employee engagement?

Employee engagement is the degree to which your staff is committed to your organization and willing to work hard. Generally – in nearly every definition of employee engagement – the one prevalent thing is that engaged employees are motivated, enthusiastic, and positive.

They feel a strong connection to your organization, which is reflected in their performance and results.

What is the difference between employee engagement and employee satisfaction?

A satisfied employee is not necessarily engaged. Employee engagement goes beyond employee satisfaction.

For example, satisfied retail employees are happy with their job duties, pay, and work schedule. However, you have to do something more for them to be engaged.

Employees become engaged if they are allowed to develop themselves and if they support the company’s standards and values.

Engaged employees are more likely to feel connected to your company than satisfied employees and actively participate in achieving your goals.

Employee Engagement Explained

What are the benefits of engaged employees?

The benefits of engaged employees to you as an organization are almost endless. We list the main advantages of a high employee engagement rate without being exhaustive.

  • Engaged employees are up to 43% more productive than non-engaged employees;
  • The more engaged your employees are, the more loyal they are. This makes them less likely to leave your organization, and you have less unwanted turnover;
  • Engaged employees tend to take things a step further compared to less engaged employees. They show more initiative and creativity;
  • A high level of employee engagement boosts team spirit. An engaged staff member is more willing to put in the work and is – for example – more likely to fill in for a colleague;
  • Engaged staff are happier and less likely to call in sick;
  • Engaged employees perform better and, with their positive attitudes, ensure satisfied customers and, therefore, more sales.

How can you increase employee engagement?

You are not satisfied with just satisfied employees; you opt for excellent employee engagement! Fortunately, there are several tips you can use to increase employee engagement.

Tip 1: Internal communication should be at the heart of your business

Employee engagement starts with the right internal communication. So, how do you make sure your internal communication is efficient and runs smoothly? The answer is technology.

More than 90% of your frontline employees own a smartphone. You should see this as an opportunity. Implement an internal communication app via which all employees can easily engage. 

Tip 2: Provide a personalized and engaging onboarding experience

Here’s a brief outline of how the onboarding of new frontline employees often works:

  • The employee is not properly introduced to his new colleagues. Or even worse: other colleagues do not even know a new employee is starting.
  • The new hire either receives an overload of new information, or he/she has to start working immediately without any clear onboarding program. 
  • The new employee misses lunch because no one told him what the regular lunchtimes were.
  • The new hire goes home. Tired and unsatisfied. He did not get a great first impression and he wonders if he still wants to work for your organization. 

This can be improved: prepare your employees before they start their first day. Make them go through a personalized online preboarding. This will help make new employees feel more welcome and engaged even before their first workday.

Tip 3: Inform and provide company updates

Every employee wants to feel connected to the company, from the cleaning staff and shelf stockers to the supervisors and managers. Therefore, let your team regularly know what is happening in your company.

A newsletter or company update? These are great ways to inform employees of the state of affairs. By the way, don’t just give updates when things are going well; also, let them know when things aren’t going that well!

H&M Internal Comms Examples
Example: How H&M communicates important updates directly with their frontline employees

Tip 4:  Allow employees to participate in the process

You’ll be amazed at how many great things come about when you give people room for input. While it’s really not a matter of including everyone’s opinion in every strategic decision, a brainstorming session, (digital) suggestion box, or a periodical employee survey can produce surprisingly good ideas.

Suppose you also implement a realistic idea every now and then. In that case, this will have a motivating effect, and employees will feel more engaged knowing their opinions matter. 

Tip 5: Acknowledge and value your people

Someone who spends their days working their butt off but never gets a compliment, a pat on the back, or a thank you will at some point start to try less hard.

Employees sometimes just want to hear that they did something right. A simple “good job” or “it’s looking good” already makes a big difference. A team outing, staff party, birthday present, or Christmas gift also makes people feel you are happy with them. 

An excellent way to make people feel that they are an essential component of the company is to display the result of their work. Did someone come up with a promotion?

Let them know how many extra store visits it has generated. Did an employee come up with the idea of digitizing promotion material? Show that their suggestion does indeed lead to greater efficiency.

Tip 6: Adopt an open, engaged and interested attitude

Be ready to listen and pay attention to someone, including their work-life balance. What did someone do during the weekend?

Is there anything you could help them with that they are struggling with?

Frequent conversations are always a good idea. After all, you would also like to provide positive and constructive feedback and hear if anyone has any feedback for you as a supervisor. 

Tip 7: Give employees freedom and responsibility

No matter how small the decisions people may make independently, exerting influence is always gratifying.

The more trust and responsibility you give your employees, the harder they will try to prove themselves and live up to your expectations.

Tip 8: Provide growth and development opportunities

Stagnation is not something most people enjoy. Development, on the other hand, usually is enjoyable.

Therefore, most employees will appreciate a training or eLearning program from time to time. Does anyone demonstrate an exceptional talent for leadership or planning?

Talk about it and see if there are internal opportunities for career development.

How to measure employee engagement?

Employee engagement can be measured in a variety of ways. For example, you could conduct an employee survey or culture scan.

Another way to find out what people think of each other and the organization is by letting people provide 360-degree feedback.

One of the most efficient ways to measure employee engagement is by conducting a survey. This gathers valuable feedback from your frontline staff and gives you insights and the areas for improvement on a silver platter.

The importance of communication

Do you want to improve communication and make your employees the most engaged employees ever?

The Oneteam employee app allows you to connect, train and engage all your employees through one central platform.

Watch the platform overview video and learn how Oneteam helps organizations like yours to make their frontline workforce successful and engaged. 

Ruben Wieman

Ruben Wieman

Ruben Wieman is the founder of Oneteam. He mainly writes about the future of frontline employee experience and key frontline HR trends. Fun fact about Ruben: Started his professional career working as a frontline worker at supermarkets and as a pizza delivery guy. The frustrations he encountered as frontline worker lead him to build an employee experience app focused on making the frontline workforce successful and engaged.

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