5 Employee Engagement Tactics that No Longer Work (And What to Do Instead)"


More organizations are waking up to the fact that their employees are their most valuable resources. From providing employees more autonomy to offering incentives, modern businesses try every trick in the book to ensure employee satisfaction. Many businesses go one step further and come up with various policies and programs to engage their employees. The idea here is to create a conducive working environment, making employees feel more connected to their organization and passionate about their job. The aspirations and expectations of employees change with a change in business environment. The measures that were a hit among employees yesterday may fall flat today, which is why it is important for businesses to revolutionize their L&D Programs at regular intervals. Here we will take a look at some engagement tactics that used to be effective in the 1990s and early 2000s but no longer work and what to do instead.

1. Rewarding the Top Performers of the Month, While Leaving Others Out

When introduced, the concept of rewarding the top performers every month was liked by everyone, from managers to employees. Since then, organizations, big and small have been using this tactic to motivate their employees. Though effective, the idea has one major flaw. In many cases, all employees but the one who is rewarded may feel neglected. When the boss  gets to pick the winner, many employees may feel that those who are close to the manager will be favoured.

What to do instead: Replace Employee of the month program with Colleague of the month program.Let team members choose the best performers among them.

2.Soliciting Feedback Without Rewards

As employees, we all have at some point hated filling feedback forms, often questioning what's in it for us. Trying to take the pulse of employees by asking them to fill feedback forms is a great way to engage them. That said, soliciting feedback without rewards may promote the feeling that it is just another mandatory exercise.In many cases,employees fill the form just because they want to avoid constant reminders from the HR team.

What to do instead: Motivate employees to provide feedback by offering tangible rewards such as gift cards.Introduce gamified surveys to make taking surveys a more engaging and fun  exercise. If you often find your employees frowning while taking the survey, avoid using lengthy forms.

3.Offering Just Cash Incentives

There is no denying the fact that offering cash incentives to top performers is one of the best ways to bring out the best in employees. Offering just cash incentives, however, won’t help you engage your employees and make them feel recognized. A study conducted at a manufacturing facility shows that offering monetary incentives, though has a positive impact on productivity  initially, cash rewards cease to be effective in the long run.

What to do instead: The study also showed that recognizing employees had a long-term effect on productivity. Instead of just offering cash incentives, use a mix of monetary rewards and non-monetary incentives such as verbal recognition to motivate your employees. Come up with innovative rewards such as allowing your top performers to use the director’s parking area for a week.

4.Following Just Another Onboarding Process  

How you welcome your new employees into their now extended family is one of the many factors that impact employee experience. In the 1990s and even during the early 2000s, when employees used to feel glad just to be the part of a team, onboarding processes were a mere formality. Things, however, are changing fast. Employees today consider their employer’s onboarding process as a reflection of the way they treat their workforce. The way an organization welcomes its new team members has a major impact on the turnover rate.

What to do instead: Boring and conventional onboarding processes do less to address concerns and answer questions that the new team member may have about company culture, which is why you must seriously consider throwing your archaic onboarding process out of the window. Ask your managers to add a personal touch by introducing the new team members to their colleagues personally. You managers must learn about their new team member’s hobbies and gift them something they’d cherish. After explaining the new team member their KRAs and company policies, your managers must encourage them to ask questions.

5.Offering Unlimited Paid Time Offs

Many organizations allow their employees to take as much time as they need to relax given the condition that they execute all their responsibilities. Unlimited PTOs are often hailed as one of the best engagement policies ever. Afterall, what’s a better way to motivate your employees than allow them to work from wherever they want. The incentive, though effective in many cases, fails to work in a startup environment where employees have a long list of objectives, making it almost impossible for them to go on a holiday. Most startups do not clearly define the start and end point of responsibilities of their employees. The employee keeps on working with hoping that their workload will ease after some time and then they can go on a holiday, however, that elusive time never comes.

What to do instead: Instead of allowing your employees to opt for as many PTOs they want, keep a track of the stated minimum, thereby, giving your employees more control when creating their vacation calendar.

The Bottom Line

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to find ways to engage your employees. All you need to do is understand their aspirations and come up with programs that help them strike a balance between work and professional life. Do not shy away from experimenting and taking the road less traveled. Most importantly promote a sense of ownership by encouraging your employees to suggest engagement ideas.

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