10 Employee Engagement Goals and Ways to Achieve them in 2021

It’s the start of a new year and with that comes New Year’s resolutions, redefined goals and better intentions.

As an HR leader or a manager of a team, I’m sure you’ve thought about the things you can do to ensure 2021 is a prosperous one. Whether it be the processes and mindsets you’d like to implement and instill or the very specific goals you have for areas like employee engagement or employee wellbeing. After a year like 2020, I’m certain there’s much work to be done to get your people motivated, productive and excited about the future.

To save you time, we’ve listed 10 employee engagement goals and ways to achieve them in 2021. Even though the engagement goals you have for 2021 may be somewhat defined by the experiences your company encountered in 2020, there are some ‘holy-grail’ employee engagement actions you’ll always need to take to see improvement.

1. Create exciting visions for each quarter

If there was ever a year to struggle with employee motivation, it’s this year. The pandemic is still very much alive, we’re still in the midst of change and challenges and it may continue for a little while longer. We know for certain that employee engagement relies heavily on motivation – unmotivated employees will be slow to engage and perform. So to achieve employee engagement, you need work on motivating your people first. Visions always work really well. Don’t underestimate your people’s need to know where they’re heading – and their need for visions to be exciting, challenging but also reasonable. We always recommend creating visions for each quarter to avoid them being distant and forgettable.

2. Constantly realign the workforce with company goals and objectives

This year, make it your mission to consistently realign your people with your company goals and objectives. Things get busy and rather messy at times, and so it’s easy for people to forget them. Forgetting goals and objectives means also forgetting their purpose, and what they’re working towards. This is a huge reason for poor engagement and retention – employees are caught up in the drudgery and have lost sight of the goals and their part in achieving them. 

3. Bridge the divide between management and the workforce

It’s so important to work as a united body. We all realised the importance of this last year. It’s working together as a united, unified body that sees you through tragedy and improves employee engagement! The co-dependent relationship between management and workforce was also made clear last year – both ‘entities’ rely on one another. Tips for bridging the divide include ensuring managers are present, approachable, supportive and committed to listening to their people. And encourage the workforce to communicate with management, lean on their expertise and knowledge and be led by them for the purpose of reaching goals and objectives. 

4. Give your people a voice

If your people have limited ways of communicating with HR or management – and neither of them are anonymous and confidential, make it possible this year. This is easily achievable through surveys. Surveys are incredibly effective to find out what your people feel about anything company or work-related, and what they need – whether it be to measure employee engagement or understand what company benefits are most important to them – anything! For employee engagement to improve, you need to hear what your people have to say and what they need. Because only then will you be able to fulfil them, which is why giving your employees’ a voice is so beneficial. If you don’t know what they need, you can never give it to them – and that’s why they look for opportunities elsewhere or are simply disengaged.

5. Nurture employee wellbeing and mental health

Employee wellbeing and mental health has become such an important area for HR leaders. Not just because of the immense change we’ve all endured due to the pandemic, but because companies are realising that employee wellbeing and mental health greatly impacts employee engagement, productivity, performance, employee relationships – everything. Talent is also much more aware of their companies, and other companies’ stance and support for wellbeing and mental health. 85% of employers say that an employee wellbeing program greatly impacts employee engagement, recruitment, retention and company culture.

6. Create exciting opportunities and incentives to work towards

Are there exciting opportunities in your organisation for your employees to work towards and be motivated by, i.e. is there room for promotion and growth? If not, you’re going to struggle with employee engagement as well as recruitment and retention of talent. In addition to career-related opportunities, are you incentivising your people in order to boost motivation and therefore achieve, or exceed, targets? Incentives don’t always have to cost you – showing recognition and awarding employees for hard work is an incentive in itself and one that employees genuinely appreciate.

7. Coach managers for the purpose of engagement

Employee engagement is not the responsibility of HR alone, for your engagement strategy to really work you need to share the responsibility with managers at the local level. Managers aren’t always equipped with the knowledge and tools needed to effectively improve employee engagement. They don’t always know how to find out what their people feel and what they need, and sometimes struggle to deliver. They don’t know the holy-grail actions to take to improve engagement – which is why they need to be coached and trained. Did you know, our employee engagement partnership comes with free manager coaching? 

8. Make hiring and retaining talent a priority

Hiring and retaining talent does a lot of good for employee engagement, especially amongst top talent. Talented employees will move from one company to another if it means they’ll work alongside colleagues that inspire them, challenge them and are at the top of their game too. Talented employees will become disengaged and seek opportunities elsewhere if they feel uninspired by the people they’re surrounded by, so to retain your current talent and keep them engaged, hire and retain more people like them. 

9. Strive to find solutions to all problems that arise

Don’t sweep problems under the rug. Make it your goal to address problems that arise, especially those that involve the workforce. Employees are sensitive to how their employers address problems and concerns – especially those they’ve flagged and which affect them or their work. Employees feel more engaged when they trust their leaders to find solutions, and when they feel heard and supported.

10. Ensure culture is driven by company values

Culture is vitally important for employee engagement. Although it’s difficult to establish or maintain a company culture with hybrid or remote working, it’s still possible. Most employers rely on social gatherings and in-person team work to boost culture, but since that’s nearly impossible we recommend leaders turn to their values. If you value transparency for example, create a culture of transparency. Empower your people to communicate and be honest, and remember to behave in the same way. If you value integrity, practise it daily and recognise those that demonstrate integrity in different situations. Let your values drive your culture so that your culture is not rocked by remote working.

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