Most employee engagement initiatives fail. These 4 actually work

By Kayleigh Tanner

Which initiatives to improve employee engagement are the most effective?

Every talent manager, HR leader and C-suite executive would jump at the chance to improve employee engagement with minimal effort.

But most initiatives to improve employee engagement fail because they focus on the wrong elements of the employee experience.

This results in novelty initiatives (like free massages) that are temporarily appreciated, but ultimately fail to increase engagement and retention.

Strategically focusing on talent experience, (the practical and influential everyday elements of the employee experience—employee development, collaboration, performance and mentorship)—is what unlocks sustained engagement and workforce productivity.

Ahead, you’ll get a list of employee engagement initiatives that improve talent experience and result in a stronger sense of purpose, development, collaboration and engagement among your people.

Employee satisfaction & employee engagement surveys

Should you use gamification to improve employee engagement, or introduce wellbeing-related perks? 

Employee engagement and satisfaction surveys are two effective ways to benchmark employee engagement levels in your organization and decide which initiatives to deploy.

They’ll reveal how engaged employees are right now, and how current levels of employee engagement compare to previous years. But given that just 22% of organizations get good results from their employee engagement surveys, how can you avoid the common pitfalls?

The main thing to remember when you’re building employee engagement or satisfaction surveys is to keep them relatively short to avoid abandonment. 

You also want to include both qualitative and quantitative questions.

Include at least one open-ended response where employees can share their thoughts, and keep the metrics consistent for easier comparison between answers (e.g. from 1 to 5, strongly agree to strongly disagree).

Recommended read: 96 employee engagement survey questions (open & close-ended)

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Mentorship through performance management

Did you know that 89% of HR leaders agree that peer feedback and regular performance check-ins are key for successful engagement?

The more managers and employees speak, the better the understanding of what needs to happen, whether that’s offering up training opportunities, removing blockers or reviewing achievements.

Linking your learning platform, whether that’s a learning management system (LMS) or learning experience platform (LXP), to your performance management system ensures that there’s a clear link between employee performance and development.

After each performance check-in, managers can record the conversation in the system, and employees can see what short-term tasks they need to complete in order to work towards their long-term goals.

Team-based knowledge sharing and collaboration

A learning experience platform (LXP) such as Totara Engage is a highly effective way to encourage collaboration and contributions from every member of the organization, ensuring everyone has their say.

From brand-new employees to experienced senior management, an LXP connects people with similar learning needs—whether that's by role, location, seniority level or skill set.

Not only will this help your people share knowledge, collaborate on projects and communicate with colleagues, but it also opens up the opportunity for better succession planning and career development.

Experts can curate training resources from multiple channels to create personalized development paths, answer questions from mentees and track how engaged mentees are.

This provides employees a dedicated place to develop their skills, discuss ideas with colleagues and solve problems together in an engaging, interconnected way.

And with more employees expecting to keep working remotely in a post-pandemic world, an LXP also acts as a central collaborative online workspace for complex tasks and projects:

  • Wikis help employees navigate policies, governance or independently troubleshoot and self-serve issues
     

  • Forums document deep discussions, facilitate valuable team brainstorming, stimulate new ideas and enable peer reviewing
     

  • Surveys capture ideas and sentiments from large groups
     

  • Content playlists can be assigned to foster continuous learning and upskill employees on specific subjects or competencies
     

  • Badges and labels gamify knowledge sharing, reward subject matter experts and recognize frequent contributors

Recommended read: How to improve employee experience with technology

Favorable work-life balance

Employees will always appreciate their employer supporting wellbeing initiatives.

However, as mentioned above, while free massages, cycle-to-work schemes and office fruit boxes can play a part, what really matters is trusting, respecting and empowering your employees. 

Happy employees are engaged employees. And supporting personal development, championing a healthy work-life balance and creating an open dialogue between managers and employees ensures your workforce stays engaged and productive.

Demo the Totara Talent Experience Platform (TXP)

Interested in our award-winning TXP, but don't want to schedule an in-person meeting to see more? 

Click the button below for an instant tour personalized around the features that you want to explore.

(Or choose the "book in-person demo" button to schedule a normal meeting.)

     Book In-Person DEMO                                INSTANT TOUR