Employee Engagement: Employee Strategies

The following action steps provide ideas to help keep employees engaged at work and with one another:

  1. Promote a recognition-rich work environment.
  2. Connect with one another.
  3. Prioritize communication.
  4. Seek out professional growth opportunities.
  5. Find work-life balance.
  6. Take care of yourself and encourage others to do the same.
  7. Take the lead in your own engagement.

1. Promote a recognition-rich work environment.

One of the most important influencers of job satisfaction and connection at work is giving and receiving recognition. Employees not only want to feel valued and appreciated by their supervisor but also by their co-workers.

Usually people think of recognition coming from their supervisor, but positive feedback from peers can be just as powerful. Peer-to-peer recognition creates an atmosphere of gratitude that strengthens and builds relationships. It also cultivates a culture of appreciation so that recognition starts to flow in all directions, across departments and locations, even up and down the reporting structure. 

Recognizing the work and contributions of co-workers does not have to be anything grand or given in the presence of others.

  • Take time to honor, support, and encourage one another for big acheivements and the less obvious ones that others may overlook. 
  • Consider finding ways every day to say thank you and to brighten someone's day by making them feel seen and valued.

A simply moment of kindness and appreciation may be just what someone needs to get through a rough moment and find motivation to keep going.

2. Connect with one another.

Find connection at work.

How many people we know at work and how close we feel to those people, whether as friends or as community members – has a huge impact on how we feel, perform, and grow at work and in our careers. Experiencing more connection at work helps you achieve your goals more often, enjoy greater well-being, have more positive relationships, and grow more professionally.

Demonstrate respect, grace, kindness, and forgiveness of yourself and others.

Bring your best self to work and create space for others to do the same. Extending grace and kindness cultivates a welcoming environment for all and sets a foundation to postively and respectfully work through challenges and differences. 

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3. Prioritize communication.

You feel more engaged when you feel like you’re part of a team. Whether you are working in-person or from home, it can be hard stay connected and feel a part of a team. Leveraging strong communication skills fosters team building, positively impacts workplace relationships, and improves problem solving to help you and your co-workers feel connected and collaborative. Some ways that you can help foster a sense of community through communication include:

  • Communicate often with colleagues and with your supervisor. Offer support, share ideas, and talk about challenges and opportunities you are experiencing.
  • Take the time to listen to one another. Expressing concerns and feeling heard are key to strengthening workplace relationships.
  • Make it a priority to connect with colleagues by attending gatherings and engaing in conversations before a meeting starts.
  • Reach out to those who are working virtually. Include them in meetings and impromptu discussions when possible. Organize virtual gatherings and activities such as a virtual coffee break or lunch, posting pet photos on a Teams channel, or initiating a virtual run/walk.

    4. Seek out professional growth opportunities.

    Developing your skills, expanding your knowledge, and acquiring new abilities helps you engage with your work in new ways and allows you to grow professionally on-the-job while also positioning yourself for new opportunities.

    • Know your strengths and leverage them.
      Identifying and addressing areas of weakness is one approach to professional development, but it it may be more effective to focus on recognizing your unique strengths and cultivating them. Playing to your strengths builds confidence at work, connects to your natural talents, and fosters a sense of belonging as a meaningful contributor.
      • Use self-assessment guides to identify your unique strengths such as Leverage Your Strengths in LinkedIn Learning [course, 1hr 10m]
      • Assessment by others – Another way to discover your strengths is to ask five people you work with to identify what they feel are your strengths. With this feedback, look for any common traits or patterns. Then, make a list and determine what they suggest about you and your on-the-job performance.
    • Create a personal learning plan.
      Taking charge of your own development empowers you to seek learning opportunities that excite you, connect to your motivations, and chart a path to your professional aspirations. Creating a clearer picture of what you hope to achieve by establish your own learning plan helps you grow and evolve so you can reach your full potential.
    • Set goals and work to achieve them.
      With the right strategies, any goal is attainable.
    • Transform your learning into action.
      Use the Action Planning worksheet available through Academic Impressions [login required] to reflect on what your learned and identify specific actions you can take in the next 30 days to put your learning to practical use at work.
    • Through a continuous learning mindset, you can find opportunities to develop and grow through day-to-day assignments, challenging work-related projects, webinars and other targeted seminars, and digital learning platforms such as LinkedIn Learning and Academic Impressions. Consider these 7 reasons why continuous learning is important.
    • Utilize the Online and Self-Guided Learning Library to help you improve your skills.
    • Request feedback from your supervisor and co-workers and listen with an open mind and without defensiveness.

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    5. Find work-life balance.

    Employees can have difficulty establishing a healthy work-life balance. Refer to the work-life resources for tools and information that can offer you assistance with finding balance when managing both personal and professional responsibilities.

    • Create boundaries between work and home life.
    • Work with your supervisor to communicate about your workload and your personal obligations. Discuss timelines and set deadlines that position you for success.
    • Access support and assistance resources through Canopy, our employee assistance program provider, and other community resources to help you find balance based on your needs and circumstances.

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      2. Take care of yourself and encourage others to do the same.

      Before you can take care of other people, you must first take care of yourself.

      • Get adequate sleep and exercise.
      • Take a lunch break and other breaks throughout the day - go for a walk around the block, get fresh air, reach out to a colleague!
      • Step away when you get overwhelmed. Five minutes away from the pressure of a situation can reset your outlook and help you constructively re-engage in your work.
      • Be mindful of your emotional wellbeing and seek support, as needed. Visit the work-life resources for opportunities and more information.

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      6. Take the lead in your own engagement.

      Engaged employees have a vastly more positive workplace experience. Improve your experience by actively pursuing engagement while at work.

      Answer these questions to help you think about the things that contribute to your engagement:

      • What are the most and least engaging moments in your day? What leads up to those moments?
      • How do you work best, and what conditions set you up for success?
      • What things during your day tend to zap your energy?  

      Here are a few easy things to do to improve and increase your engagement today:

      • Take a break with a friend at work to talk about one thing you learned recently and discuss how you are applying it to your life or job.
      • Send a note or email to a coworker recognizing their commitment to excellence or quality on a particular project.
      • Tell a coworker when you see their strengths in action, and describe what you appreciate about them.
      • Take pride in our campus community and the awesome work taking place all around. Access and information about good news is all around us. Reflecting on the bright spots reinforces a sense of pride for being a Duck.

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