Employee Engagement has become a hot topic across most organizations and industries, especially in the IT sector. In this blog, we look at the ways the largest IT companies in the world have created employee engagement initiatives and strategies to boost employee morale.
Let’s imagine a system engineer staring at a screen filled with codes, squeezing out ideas trying to solve glitches or build enhancements, never knowing what problem might arise next.
One part of him says he loves what he does, but another part is tired, overworked and stressed out at one problem or another.
The technology sector being one of the fastest-growing industries globally today is helping employees easily bounce off from one IT company to the next. Not only do they do so for the perks, but largely for the company culture and to what degree it encourages, recognizes and supports their employees to stay engaged and to grow.
So when trying to find ways to retain your employees and increase employee engagement, what better way than to take advice from I.T giants that have made it to the list of Forbes of the most engaged companies in the world?
Since we are talking about IT giants, let’s start with the biggest one:
Lesson 1: It’s not all about the money
Google could simply rely on big cash rewards to keep their employees engaged, but out of the experience, they realized this does not always work.
They then rolled out a comprehensive reward and recognition strategy that offered memorable experiences for their employees. This proved to be a lot more engaging and left a bigger impact on the employees.
“What’s beautiful about this approach is that a great environment is a self-reinforcing one: All of these efforts support one another and together create an organization that is creative, fun, hardworking, and highly productive,” says Laszlo Bock, former HR Head of Google.
Think of creative ways you could recognize your employees. Cash is not always a driver of employee engagement and its effects are not sustainable, especially when working with Millennials.
Lesson 2: Employees want to be heard, and we need their real-time feedback.
Amazon.com has put together a daily Q&A program called Connections that asks Amazon employees to answer a question every day using this real-time feedback tool. Employees send confidential responses to a designated team who in turn collect the data and share a daily report with the senior leadership. How does this help, you might ask?
According to Beth Galetti, Amazon HR Chief, this helped identify leadership strengths as well as obstacles to a satisfactory experience for customers.
These kinds of programs work on both sides. The employees get to contribute and voice out their opinions while the employers discover the opportunities for improvement, the red flags and identification of the company’s strengths.
If and when companies genuinely take in the feedback, analyze it effectively and demonstrate to employees the action plans resulting out of the feedback, then a program like this would prove to be a highly effective tool towards growing an engagement culture.
Lesson 3: Go beyond the work
More and more people are looking for meaning in their work and a feeling of purpose in their lives. eBay recognizes this and encourages its staff to go beyond the work they do in the office to make an impact globally.
What better way to engage a group of employees than have them work together for a good cause?
eBay has paired up eBay sellers with employees and called them the “Green Team” in which eBay’s sustainability is improved. Alongside this eBay empowers employees to form a GIVE team that looks into local community needs and recommends NGOs that eBay could support through its grants.
They also plan group volunteer events and outings and support fundraising events. You can find many stories of how eBay employees give back to society through the eBay site here.
Companies are increasingly realizing the importance of CSR activities in boosting the engagement and well-being levels within their company culture. Think about how your company has invested in CSR activities in the past year?
Lesson 4: Amp up the Check-ins
Twice a week, Adobe delivers informal sessions to employees reminding them of the company’s mission, vision and values they need to know in order to achieve their goals. They use Adobe Connect (web conferencing software) to deliver these sessions which also involve setting expectations and monitoring the progress using feedback.
The result? 98% of employees who attend these sessions acknowledge that they feel more connected to the Adobe core values and strategies.
If you are curious to know more on how Adobe managed these check-ins, they have posted their Check-in toolkit on their website here for free for companies to use!
Lesson 5: Virtually connected & more engaged
It is no surprise that as the leader in the networking hardware business, Cisco would look out for ways to utilize its services towards its own employees to increase employee engagement.
Cisco has been keen in providing flexible working options for their employees by allowing them to telecommute, saving them time and stress from commuting back and forth to work.
There has been a shift from hosting conferences in physical locations to hosting them virtually using audio and video conferencing, giving everyone a chance to conveniently participate.
Needless to say, this has made life so much easier for employees. Additionally, it gives employees from all levels an accessible way to connect with senior managers and share ideas.
Employee satisfaction is boosted because they know their ideas are being expressed, and collaboration is enhanced throughout all levels of the company.
Is keeping the workforce engaged an easy task? Certainly not, and the biggest companies realize this. In the fastest growing industry in the world, fast solutions are needed. These include coming up with ways to boost employee morale and constantly ensuring that employees are passionately working and engaging themselves in their everyday jobs.
Re-invent and find creative ways to remind your employees of the value they add to the workplace. This is no longer a nice-to-have, it’s essential to the success of every organization.