How To Foster Employee Engagement and Why It Matters

foster employee engagement

Many U.S. employers need help with how to foster employee engagement. After reaching an all-time high in 2019, this metric, which measures the involvement and enthusiasm of workers in the work and workplace, took a hit both during the pandemic and in its aftermath.

According to Gallup, only 32% of U.S. workers are engaged, while 18% are actively disengaged.

That’s so disheartening it might be tempting to just disengage from this article. But when you consider how important employee engagement is—to employee retention, employee performance, and organizational success—you’ll understand that it’s important to pay attention.

The Problem With Employee Engagement

In its latest study, Gallup found the areas of employee engagement that have declined the most were clarity of expectations, connection to the mission of the company, opportunities to learn and grow, opportunities to do what employees do best, and feeling cared about at work.

Notice something about that list? It’s not exactly sending a manned mission to Mars, is it?

It’s not rocket science, and employee engagement does not require a particularly pricey solution. These are everyday problems that largely can be addressed with good communication, strong leadership skills, a sincere commitment to helping people learn, grow and be successful, and being persistent and consistent in your efforts.

How Feedback Can Foster Employee Engagement

Gathering regular 360 degree feedback from your team is a great way to help you foster employee engagement. Asking for feedback can signal to employees that their opinions matter. A 360 degree survey can help identify obstacles to your employee engagement efforts—like lackluster leadership skills or poor communication. It also can shine a spotlight on strengths, which can be an instant engagement booster.

By itself, gathering feedback isn’t going to foster employee engagement. In fact, if you aren’t serious about listening to your employees’ opinions on matters of engagement, you’re better off not asking them at all.

The real power of a 360 degree feedback survey comes from what happens next—when you turn feedback into action. To be an effective driver of employee engagement, a 360 degree feedback survey needs to result in growth and development. Of course, big, sweeping changes are great, but just as important are the small, incremental ones.