Unconventional Ways to Engage Employees

Unconventional Ways to Engage Employees

Last updated on August 24, 2021 at 01:22 pm

Figuring out how to engage employees continues to be somewhat elusive and difficult for businesses. So if you’re anything like our clients, you’re probably wondering how to engage your employees. There is some traditional wisdom like giving employees a voice, listening to them, providing adequate support, recognizing employees, and so on. And trust us, that all goes a long way towards improving employee engagement.

But sometimes you have to think outside of the box and tailor your approach specifically to your employees. There isn’t a one-size-fits all approach for engagement. So, we’ve pulled together some of the unique, innovative, and sometimes unconventional ways that our clients have engaged their employees. 

Leverage Technology to Extend Your Culture Out of the Office

Our client Veterans United is known for their amazing culture (in fact, they’ve won multiple “Great Place to Work” awards). Their people have so much fun at work that they were already thinking of ways to extend their culture to employee families and employees when they weren’t at work. So, when COVID-19 started closing offices, they were already equipped with a strategy for maintaining their already strong culture.

And we have to admit, they have some of the most fun digital, culture-building activities of anyone we work with. They play Cash Cab where an employee will be invited to a “meeting” and then surprised to discover that they are actually playing Veterans United Cash Cab. And they even created their own Radio Station to share company updates and stories. They run VU’s Got Talent. And they focus on employee health and wellbeing with “Wellness Wednesdays”, work from home tips, financial tips of the week, and so much more. 

“We had a few things we needed on [a mobile] platform…Luckily enough, everybody in our company has an email, everybody in our company has access to a desktop or a laptop. It was when they were away from work that we were concentrating on.” – Cooper Lefler, Internal Communications Manager, Veterans United

Localize Your Approach to Communication

No other EMPLOYEEapp client has as many content publishers in their app as NFI. Back in 2016, NFI decided that the days of not reaching 67% of their employees who were deskless was over. And throughout their journey to mobile, they realized that there was huge untapped potential in their local managers and leaders. 

Fast forward to today and they have over 450 content publishers populating their app “The Pulse” with localized updates and recognition. This has enabled the corporate comms team to focus on top-down and executive leadership communication. But their numbers really show how meaningful it is for communications to be so relevant and authentic—consistently, NFI is a top client for most likes and comments in their app. In a single quarter, they might see over 10,000 likes on content. 

With this mobile solution in place, we’ve been able to create a culture committed to communications and provide our employees with important information to help connect them to the greater purpose of our company and enable them to see their impact on the big picture of who we are and what we’re striving to achieve.” – JeanMarie Decker, Director of Communications, NFI

Make Sure Employees Know Each Other

In healthcare and manufacturing, your frontline workers are often not all on the same shift. Do they know each other or people on different teams? Do employees realize you’re all working towards one common goal?

Upstate Vet was going through a merger and knew that they would need a way to connect their daytime staff and their nighttime ER staff. So, they started by making sure all employee photos, names, and roles lived in their app. And any time they had a new hire, they would welcome this way and share their info in the app. And then they opened up permissions for employees to be able to post, improving collaboration, swap shifts, and share stories. 

“The app changed everything. It’s been critical to getting everything to all team members and make it so they can communicate with each other and with us.” – Brittni Huff, [title], Upstate Vet

How to Engage Employees During and After a Crisis 

In addition to these client examples, employee engagement expert Jill Christensen shared her top tips for moving the needle on engagement during crisis.

“Workers want connection, they want collaboration, and they want communication.” – Jill Christensen

And these tips are all foundational. You don’t need to do something as creative as Cash Cab or activating hundreds of leaders to make an impact. You can start small. Start focus groups or help managers improve (or start doing) team huddles. And find the right partners. If you’d like to learn more about theEMPLOYEEapp and how it can help your organization, request a demo today.

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