How to Increase Employee Engagement and Improve Retention

Employee engagement is one of the most important metrics that businesses can track.
Employee engagement determines employee retention, which can contribute or detract significantly from the bottom line because hiring is expensive and new employees aren’t as productive as more experienced employees.

Companies that are wondering how to improve retention need to develop and sustain effective employee engagement programs which keep their current base of personnel satisfied and productive. The goal of most employee engagement programs is to create a workplace where employee connection is prioritized. To do this, companies are increasingly turning to digital employee engagement platforms like Beekeeper to implement this vision.

Digital employee engagement platforms facilitate two-way communication opportunities between leadership and frontline employees for encouragement and recognition, interaction through posting, liking and commenting on visual highlights of the work day, and streamlined group or peer-to-peer messaging.

Engaging Employees in the Workplace

Making your workplace engaging as well as productive isn’t expensive like many believe. And the best part is that getting better engagement with an employee engagement program is easy because employees already want to feel valued and part of a team.

There are many ways to shape an engaged and effective workplace through employee engagement programs. Boosting employee engagement could be as simple as offering a reward program for high performers or recognizing those who consistently give their all to help their team.

Often, the ingredients for cultivating a happy staff is a result of high employee engagement as much as it might be the result of an employee engagement platform. Positive attitudes are contagious and, when modeled by staff, encourages the rest of the team to join in. Making a small change like offering employees spotlight biographies on a rotating schedule, for example, can make a big impact when it comes to improving employee engagement.

Fostering strong bonds between employees and their teammates is also a surefire solution to the issue of how to improve retention. With Beekeeper’s employee survey features, managers can quickly and easily poll employees for their input on the next employee engagement event, such as time, date, and type of activity, without having to reach out individually to each co-worker. Likewise, an employee could post to find last-minute shift coverage through the employee app, instantly notifying the entire team with one click.

Employee Engagement Ideas

Strong work communities are critical for improving employee engagement. Employee engagement with teammates fosters a sense of community, so teams should get the chance to connect with each other as frequently as possible in a positive context. Giving teams ways to support and acknowledge each other throughout your company, with a team communications platform, for example, is one strategy for increasing employee engagement.

FRHI, a leading multi-hotel brand management company, uses Beekeeper to connect 45,000 frontline employees across hospitality departments around the world. With their Beekeeper white-label employee app, FRHI created a centralized digital platform to showcase and share team news, ideas, and achievements.

Engaged employees don’t want to let their teammates down, and teams that communicate well and often will feel more informed, perform better, and stay at the company. This helps lower the turnover rate at your company, the financial losses of which can be substantial, totaling approximately one-third of a worker’s annual salary, not to mention the impact on workplace morale and culture.

Employee Engagement Programs Motivate Employees To Be Company Champions

Companies wondering how to improve retention should look for ways to get employees to buy into the success of the company. The more invested in the company’s success employees are, the more likely they are to be a vocal and visible champion when the company experiences success.

Feeling part of something bigger creates a sense of purpose, resulting in higher employee engagement. One way to motivate employees to be company champions is through effective storytelling. With a clear, compelling narrative about what the company does, and how the company does it, employees are incentivized to “own” your brand’s messaging, crucial buy-in that can lead to voluntarily sharing your company’s story. Offering an employee referral program is another way to encourage employees to be valuable ambassadors for your brand, and essential assets in the recruitment process.

Invest in Workplace Culture

The issue of how to increase employee engagement is a matter of building a company where employees want to work. Employees need to find their work meaningful, be supported and inspired by their colleagues, and find the rest of the company’s community much like a second home.

While it won’t happen overnight, a great employee engagement platform can help implement employee engagement programs, build better internal communications, and make expensive turnover an issue of the past.

Interested in testing a digital employee engagement platform for yourself? Sign up for a free demo of Beekeeper.

6 Ways to Keep Employees Engaged During the Holidays

6 Ways to Increase Employee Engagement During the Holidays

Beekeeper is the internal communications tool that can help with engaging employees during the holidays. Beekeeper is a great employee engagement platform if you want happy employees. Keeping employees engaged during the holidays with workplace engagement activities is a topic that is top of mind for many managers. The productivity decline a lot of workforces experience throughout December stems from a perfect storm of social, financial, and business-related stressors that appear like clockwork at the end of each year.

As the holidays kick into gear, family-related obligations lead to an influx of time off requests across entire organizations. This causes projects to halt and often places a burden on managers to produce the same output or better with significantly less staff members on call.

For employees who decide to power through, absenteeism and low morale can become rampant. Some employees may physically show up to work, but their mind remains preoccupied with holiday shopping or personal finance issues. In addition, the stress of meeting end-of-year sales or performance goals may cause some employees to buckle and burn out under pressure.

Luckily, there are many ways to keep employees engaged, rested, and fulfilled throughout this particularly busy holiday season. To help you brainstorm what incentives might work for your business, we’ve compiled a few of our favorite tactics that have worked for other companies, particularly those with dispersed or primarily non-desk workforces.

1. Host a festive employee off-site or remote event

Being stuck in the office for longer hours, especially when the sun sets earlier and the temperature drops, can certainly affect employee morale. One great way to instill a mid-holiday season mood boost is to host a daytime off-site event where employees are treated to a nice meal and a fun activity.

For non-desk or dispersed workforces in which many employees don’t get to directly interface with their colleagues every day, throwing an event where employees can socialize in a more laid-back context helps build trust and camaraderie throughout your company.

A great example of how this incentive worked for a dispersed workforce is, an accounting software provider. To help bring together employees in six different time zones, the executive staff throws a party at a time where all their employees can meet over Skype. They shop online together to buy each team member a gift while enjoying food and refreshments.

Speaking about his motivation for starting this tradition, co-founder Allan Branch told, “We have no water cooler. It is really easy to have a whole bunch of strangers who do not interact at all.” With this remote event approach, the gifting activity is gasified so that each gift recipient has to put their microphone on mute when the team is discussing what gift they should get for them. This gives teams a chance to enjoy seeing the reactions on their co-workers’ faces as gift suggestions are shared.

2. Reward great performance with extra time off

Every holiday season, a few true-blue staffers may exhibit particular performance excellence during the holiday season, despite all the readily available distractions. While it may seem like these are the employees you will need to worry least about during the winter months, the reality is that the threat of burnout is real. The last thing you want is for your very best employees to suddenly find themselves losing sleep and neglecting to take care of themselves in the interest of compensating for team member absence during the holidays.

At the start of the holiday season, make it known that those who display exemplary levels of fortitude and leadership during the difficult winter months have the potential to be rewarded with bonus days off, redeemable in the Spring once things slow down.

For parents of kids with Spring Break days and employees wishing to save their vacation for when the temperature begins to rise, this could be a great way to make sure that a healthy population of your employees will remain steadfast and focused through the end of the year.

3. Offer incentives for working less-desirable shifts

Within service-based industries, working through the holidays often becomes a somewhat obligatory reality of the job. In fact, the holidays often constitute the busiest season of the year for hospitality businesses. To ensure that you will have sufficient staff coverage during the less-desirable shift times, it can be advantageous to get creative with rewards.

After all, while paying time and a half on official holidays is a great way to acknowledge an employee’s dedication on days normally reserved for family, there are plenty of other days leading up to the holiday that will require just as much coverage.

4. Award personalized bonuses

Rewards mean far more when they’re personalized for each employee. While giving out holiday bonuses is customary in many industries, digital survey tools can help managers give their individual employees a bonus that truly reflects their individual preferences and needs. This can range from giving gift certificates to a favorite restaurant, or a gift certificate pertaining to their hobby of choice.

This knowledge provides a deeper awareness of the types of rewards your employees will actually enjoy. Tickets to a baseball game may appeal to some, while others prefer a gift card to their favorite restaurant. Adding that extra personal touch will make the experience memorable.

5. Provide stress-relief services in the office

The month of December is stressful for a variety of reasons due to the obligations of holiday travel, events, gifting, and meeting annual sales or performance targets. Given the pressures of delivering on year-end goals and fulfilling personal holiday obligations, your employees are under a heightened level of stress during the season.

There are many ways to help alleviate this, but the most important aspect of this strategy is to communicate clearly through your actions that you care about your employees from a holistic perspective, not just the aspects of wellness that pertain directly to their day to day tasks.

Corporate health programs are a popular way of keeping employees healthy and engaged at the same time. Jeremy Smith, co-founder & COO of on-demand parking startup SpotHero brings in yoga and meditation specialists to the office during holiday season to help employees relax. He told, “Having someone come to the office makes it very easy for employees to take a break from their busy schedules and find a moment to relax.”

6. Give out holiday friends and family gift cards, discounts, or access passes

If you run a service-based or retail business, one cost-effective way to show gratitude to your employees is to issue friends and family gift cards that team members can then give to their loved ones over the holidays. Giving your employees the chance to share your services with their friends and family helps instill a sense of pride and a boost in morale during the hectic holiday season.

Disney employees at all levels benefit from deep holiday discounts and extra theme park passes during the Christmas season. As former Epcot greeter Heather Sliwinski reported to Business Insider, “Disney treats their cast members very well — we got additional family and friends park passes for the holidays, extra discounts on merchandise and food,” Sliwinski said. “I was able to have my parents come visit before Christmas because they provided extra guest tickets. It was really nice!”

If you need more ways to keep employees engaged during the holidays and the whole year round, get a free demo of Beekeeper’s internal communications tool and engagement software by filling out the form below.
Improve internal communication trends with the Beekeeper employee app

Internal Communication Trends in 2018

This year, we had the privilege of attending CEB/Gartner’s Internal Communications Summit in London, where business leaders across many industries gathered from around the globe to share internal communication trends to pave the future of workplace correspondence. Over the course of two days, high-level delegates convened to take a dive deep into the various ways in which internal communications will technologically evolve starting in 2018.

ceb internal communications summit

Prevalent throughout the conference was the changing attitude towards the strategic importance of internal communication, with a strong focus on providing outcomes instead of output. This consensus mirrors comments made by research scientists Peter Weill and Stephanie L. Woerner in their 2015 MIT Sloan Management Review feature in which they observed, “Most of the productivity increase seen in organizations nowadays originates – directly or indirectly – from digitization and big data analytics. […] the future of internal communication should be determined by the needs of future employees.”

In recent years, it has become increasingly clear to executives that investing in a centralized digital workspace is a core pillar of fostering employee engagement. When the backbone of an organization is rooted in a rich sense of purpose and positive company spirit, a workforce will be far more likely to perform at their peak to execute upon any deliverables at hand.

2018 Trends With the Biggest Potential Long-Term Impact

Many trends were discussed that will help organizations run smoother and more productive operations.

Mass Digital Migration with Mobile Apps

It is reported that 80% of our time on our mobile devices is spent using an app. With this metric in mind, CEB Summit attendees hypothesize an increasingly widespread adoption of mobile workplace tools that give employees instant access to company news, operations tools, workflows, communication channels, media sharing, and beyond.

BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) Programs

With the rise of mobile communication apps for the workplace comes the expectation that messages will be responded to in real time, or at the very least, in a timely manner. While it is up to your company to establish rules of engagement so that employees don’t burn out or rack up overtime while dealing with off-the-clock internal communications, it’s also important to make the digital workplace app as accessible to all employees as possible. For many, this means using whatever mobile phone is in their possession. It is of critical importance, then, to ensure that the digital workplace provider you find can function on a wide variety of devices.

The Importance of Engagement

Throughout the Summit, the critical importance of fostering high levels of workforce engagement came up again and again. Employee engagement leads to rich company culture, a vested commitment to the success of colleagues, and a sense of pride working for a brand that cares about its people. Summit attendees observed that just as managers value the ability to provide timely and productive performance feedback to their teams in real time, more junior employees value the ability to give bottom-up feedback to the company leaders.

The consensus among conference-goers was that feeling heard helps workers remain connected to their colleagues, and that digital workplace platforms allow workers to meaningfully connect with colleagues that they may not interact with otherwise. Hosting digital interconnectedness within in a robust, well-design multimedia forum is a surefire path to employee satisfaction.

Anticipated Budget Trends for 2018

Throughout the event, many budget trend forecasts for 2018 were brought to light. Despite all the noise around what we may or may not be able to expect to see next year, the four anticipated trends below are certainly ones to watch:

anticipated budget increases

Social Media

Strategic social spend is a great way to stay on top of digital marketing trends. Allocating resources to explore the current roster of popular social apps allows companies to constantly put their best creative foot forward. Thinking long and hard about your company’s public persona will help you further define your key verticals and customer cohorts, ensuring that all digital marketing efforts going forward are supported by hard and fast data.

Employee Communications

As mentioned above, the importance of carving out time and resources to perfect employee communications processes was a common and emphatic sentiment we heard throughout our time at the CEB Summit. Apart from budgeting in resources to procure and onboard the tool itself, it is important to assign a core internal stakeholder to all digital workplace management, troubleshooting, integrations, and useage trainings.

Corporate Website

As SEO and SEM technology continues to iterate quite rapidly, spending time and resources to refresh and perfect web copy, meta tags, and backlinks will likely prove to be a worthy arena of spend for most organizations who rely on e-commerce or digital word-of-mouth in any way. Building a strong visual and written corporate identity will encourage both employees and customers to feel proud of their association with your brand.

Corporate Intranet

Whereas digital experience platforms will become an increasingly important fixture for ensuring employee engagement, maintaining a traditional CMS or intranet hub will continue to be a tried and true method to host more static company assets.

As Maya Angelou noted, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” This sentiment echoed throughout all the remarks made by our esteemed colleagues about the communities and cultures they aim to foster within their organizations. We walked away from the Summit feeling more optimistic than ever about the future of internal communications.

At every turn, attendees across the board made it clear that companies must start thinking about how they can expand company correspondence programs and technologies to encourage productivity, community, and mutual respect among their entire workforce population. Budgeting resources and time to onboard new digital tools and analytics will help ensure that employees feel a fundamental connection to the company mission, and to each other.

Since you’re interested in internal communication, download our white paper to learn how to craft a successful internal communication strategy.

Beekeeper "Future of the Non-Desk Workforce" Panel Featured in Huffington Post

Beekeeper “Future of the Non-Desk Workforce” Panel Featured in Huffington Post

On October 10th we hosted a “Future of the Non-Desk Workforce” panel discussion to accompany our big announcement of the Beekeeper Marketplace and custom integrations. The three panelists included two Beekeeper customers, Jennifer Pappas, Internal Communications Manager at Wireless Vision and Anja Luthje, Group Director of Rooms and Quality at Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, and experience design expert Sarah Deane at EffectUX.

marketplace panelists

From big data to organizational culture, these industry leaders shared their insights on where they see the future of non-desk workers in the next five years and what they are doing now to arm their employees with tools that will help their business maintain a competitive edge as we move into a new era. They discussed the real value of big data, AI, cybersecurity, nextgen internal communications, and the operational impact of the digital workplace.

Following the event, Sarah Deane expanded on key topics from the panel discussion in an article for the Huffington Post called “Culture, A.I., and the Non-Desk Workforce.”

About the Author

As the Founder of EffectUX, Sarah Deane is a thought leader in the space of Experience, having written a UX primer and how-to in 2014, presented at SXSW on the topic of Workplace Experience: UX, Technology, and Humans, as well as frequently writing on the Huffington Post and Business Value Exchange. At EffectUX, Sarah guides and creates Index algorithms and success models, a process which has been recognized by IDG (2016) for the process of measuring experience.

Before founding EffectUX, Sarah served in Experience Design Leadership roles and has grown and managed CX and UX teams. She built the first Global IT 360 Experience Lab during her tenure at HP. She has a Masters in Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence with a concentration on algorithm design, data modeling, and computer vision.

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I was recently honored to participate in a panel at Beekeeper’s announcement of their integrated workplace feature, alongside Jennifer Pappas (Internal Communications Manager at Wireless Vision), Anja Luthje (Group Director Rooms and Quality for Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group), and facilitated by Beekeepers VP Corey McCarthy.

The theme was all about the hot-topic of culture, A.I and especially how they impacted the non-desk workforce. There were lots of great food-for-thought, so we wanted to share a summary of a few of them as they may be helpful for those that are working on digitizing or engaging their non-desk workforce.

Asian Hospitality Magazine Features Beekeeper for Crisis Communications

Asian Hospitality Magazine Features Beekeeper for Crisis Communications

Read how one of our customers, 1 Hotel South Beach in Miami, Florida, used Beekeeper’s digital workplace app for crisis communications to keep more than 700 employees up to date during Hurricane Irma. Yonaira Hernandez, 1 Hotel’s Assistant Director of People Operations, explains how they posted direct links to resources like food, shelter, and power to give everyone safety information as quickly as possible.

Source: asianhospitality

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