Worthwhile Strategies of Boosting Employee Engagement in 2021

JUN 03, 2021

In recent years, the focus has shifted towards employee engagement from job satisfaction. Organizations all over the world are now paying more heed to engage employees than ever before. Hence, employee engagement has emerged as the new keyword in the corporate world. However, despite the fact that organizations have spent years evolving and refining engagement strategies, they have not achieved the desired results. 

The State of Global Workplace Report by Gallup concludes that not more than 15 percent of employees are engaged actively. While Gallup’s findings may present a hyped scenario, other surveys too suggest that at least half the global workforce is not engaged. This hints at the fact that ordinary employee engagement strategies are not offering much. Besides, what organizations should know is that employee engagement is a dynamic idea. Having said that, the best practices for fostering engagement are subject to change with scenarios.


In this blog, there is an emphasis on the most effective employee engagement tactics in contemporary times. In the concurrent times of the pandemic, working cultures are witnessing paradigm shifts. Telecommuting and hybrid offices are now replacing the traditional workplace. Besides, the expectations of employees from employers are also evolving. The employee engagement strategies listed in this post are in coherence with these overhauls. Before shedding light on the strategies, the post elaborates on the vitality of employee engagement. 


The imperativeness of employee engagement


If organizations are still neglecting the significance of employee engagement, they are committing a naïve mistake. The benefits of engagement ideas are not limited to the welfare of employees. In fact, the organizations will reap greater benefits by investing in employee engagement. To validate, Gallup cites that companies with the highest levels of engagement exhibit greater profitability. This difference in profitability can be as high as 22 percent in comparison to other organizations. 

Moreover, according to Bain & Company, engaged and motivated employees are 125 percent more productive than satisfied employees. Hence, the notion of employee engagement is not overrated. It has realistic and measurable benefits to offer to an organization. Another study by Hay Group indicates the correlation between employee engagement and client satisfaction. It states that companies with higher engagement enjoy 89 percent more customer contentment. Furthermore, these companies relish greater client retention and loyalty. The other benefits of creating an engaged workforce include the following.


  • Higher retention of employees
  • Lower turnover rates and costs
  • Lower absenteeism
  • Positive working environment
  • Prosperous employee relationships
  • High individual productivity 

These are, to name a few, of the many merits that engaged employees offer. Hence, companies should make consistent efforts and invest in R&D to uplift engagement levels. After establishing a direct correlation between profitability and engagement, it is critical to talk about strategies. The subsequent section highlights the best practices for cultivating high employee engagement. These strategies are forward-looking and have high relevance with the modern scenarios. 

Effective strategies for uplifting employee engagement in 2021 and beyond

1. Empathy and gratitude


Empathy has become a common expectation among employees. Employees want their employers and managers to demonstrate an understanding of their emotions. This becomes even more important for employees in the present era. The pandemic is making people vulnerable and apprehensive on the emotional front. Besides, the impacts of the pandemic on mental health have been drastic too. Hence, employees seek more sensitivity from their employers. It is possible that some of them may have suffered personal losses too.

Similarly, gratitude has become an essential prerequisite in the workplace. Gratitude creates the feel-good factor that everyone looks for in the workplace. When employers exhibit thankfulness, it augments the loyalty and confidence of workers. Workers feel the zest to make more significant contributions to the company’s goals.

Hence, as a part of employee engagement policies, promoting these virtues is essential. Business owners and leaders need to introduce empathy and gratitude in the company culture. Furthermore, to make it work, they will need to model these values and lead by example. This will attract greater trust and commitment from employees. They would love to go to a place that respects their feelings and effort. 


2. Remote engagement


Projections by Forbes suggest that remote working will continue to grow. Even on the other side of the pandemic, telecommuting will continue to thrive. By 2025, around 75 percent of the global workforce will be remote. A large part of the workforce is already working from home as cities remain closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is further expected that organizations will offer permanent work from home to their workers in the coming years. Also, given the expanse of the internet, remote working opportunities will further increase in the future. Having said that, it is crucial to add remote engagement strategies to the list. 

Engaging a virtual workforce can be more challenging for employers and HR managers. However, they can leverage technology to devise virtual engagement activities. Besides, in telecommuting, workers may face their own share of issues. These issues may be interfering with their productivity and engagement. Organizations also need to come up with quick problem-solving solutions to sustain engagement. Also, the efficiency of team communications may take a setback in the virtual realm. Given that, it requires a separate set of strategies to look after engagement levels. The following are some innovative ideas to create high engagement in remote teams.


  • Online corporate games
  • Virtual coffee breaks
  •  Virtual office tours for new recruits
  • Peer to peer feedback via video conferencing
  • Virtual introduction to team members

3. Special emphasis on millennial expectations 


Millennials represent a significant part of the global workforce today. Millennial employees statistics state that by 2025, they will account for 75 percent of the workforce. Millennials make great employees, given their caliber, technical proficiency, conviction, and creativity. They endorse great characters and are well-equipped with soft skills and social skills. However, their retention or constant engagement can be challenging for an organization. This will be possible if companies pay attention to the expectations of millennials. 

Millennials expect flexibility, empowerment, and growth opportunities from their jobs. They also are interested in receiving regular and systematic feedback. If they see other companies offering these things in higher proportions, they tend to switch. Needless to say, millennials are among the top talents of all organizations. To engage them and to get the best out of them, organizations should have special policies. Companies should understand their requirements and deliver on the sensible ones. By keeping it simple, flexible and by offering challenges and opportunities, companies can meet the objectives. Besides, companies can engage millennial employees by granting more creative freedom. As per Abode, creativity is a skill that 94 percent of recruiters consider before hiring. But are creative people getting enough flexibility and encouragement to be creative?  

4. Rewards and recognition


Be it 1960, 2005, or 2021, recognition is and always will be the key to employee engagement. HubSpot concludes that 69 percent of workers will work better if they receive appreciation. As per another study, 37 percent of workers opine that recognition is paramount. Hence, companies need to have a predefined system of rewards and recognition. This system will set the benchmark for employees and will persistently capture their motivation. Everyone likes to be appreciated for hard work and commitment. When superiors celebrate the effort of their employees, it makes employees feel happy, flamboyant, and elated. The effectiveness of recognition and appreciation will not get old even after a billion years.


Here, recognition should not be limited to outcomes and targets. It should be made a more inclusive process. In this process, effort, dedication, and sincerity should also be recognized. Furthermore, the opinions, ideas, and other inputs from employees should also receive recognition. As per Forbes, employees feel that their productivity will amplify 4.6 times if superiors listen to their ideas and thoughts. This feeling of belonging and empowerment will make them put in four times more effort. At present, almost all organizations will have a policy for recognition and rewards. There would be monetary incentives too for the most tangible contributions. However, the policies need to be tweaked a little to make them more holistic. Recognition should be a holistic idea and not selective. 


5. Mentorship Programs


When employees sign up for an organization, they want to learn and grow. Needless to say, career advancement is a priority for every employee. People tend to quit and switch when they feel that the graph of growth has become stagnant. Hence, offering mentorship programs to employees can be a great idea to engage employees. Employees will feel that the company is adding value to their knowledge. In lieu of this, employees will commit greater dedication and allegiance to the organization. In fact, Google, Accenture, Caterpillar, and other leading organizations are already investing in mentoring programs. General Electric has a mentorship program where juniors can train seniors and superiors. How fascinating and thoughtful! 

This is one of the major reasons why these companies are the dream destinations of many. These companies are investing in employee experiences and development. One may argue why should companies pay for the development of employees. The answer is simple, the ultimate benefits of this investment will come to the business owners. Organizations will have more skilled employees, better-engaged workers, and loyalty. Employees will have ample love and respect for their organizations. Further, they will have a sense of thankfulness and the urge to deliver better results. The mentorship initiatives will train them on how to be great leaders, versatile, skilled, and so on. So why not?


To conclude, the engagement strategies in this blog are exclusive and exquisite. While framing strategies, companies need to take into account the trends of the present and the future. What may have been an excellent practice two years ago may not have the same impact in 2021. Given that, companies should have a dynamic outlook on employee engagement policies. The more considerate companies are about employee engagement, the higher the gains will be. There are enough examples of companies riding prolific success with engaged employees. 


Jessica Robinson is the epitome of creativity. She has dedicated her life to educational writing and works for ‘The Speaking Polymath’. She has been creating magic with her powerful words for over a decade.