Employee engagement is a hot topic in HR and has been for a while, but it’s a hard concept to pin down. Do we chase engagement just so our employees are engaged? No. Smart businesses target high engagement because it contributes to better business performance. Without measurable outcomes, engagement would be more of a wishy-washy feeling, like employee happiness.

And while having happy employees is a good thing, it’s not a measurement that trends toward better performance. You’ve seen Jim on The Office, right? He’s generally pretty happy, but not very engaged.

It’s fair to say an engaged and happy workforce is the dream scenario, but when it comes to driving performance and bottom lines, engagement is where to look. To do so, tactically integrate engagement into your Performance Management strategy.

Track Employee Performance

Tracking employee performance is critical to long-term employee management. To gauge performance alongside engagement, a strong Performance Management strategy needs to note strengths, weaknesses and growth, as well as elements defined by Gallup to indicate high engagement. Are employees:

  • Highly involved
  • Enthusiastic about work and the workplace
  • Psychological “owners”
  • Drivers of performance and innovation
  • Committed to moving the organization forward

The metrics you generate from a strong Performance Management platform circle back to the employee to give helpful feedback – and request further input. It’s the gateway to better employee engagement and management.

To improve the way your employees engage with your company, take these ideas into consideration.

Engagement Tactic 1: Deliver Frequent Feedback

Top-performing companies tend to have great communication. This includes using a platform for concerns, questions and suggestions by reaching out to your employees on a regular basis. These frequent “check ins” – often replacing or complementing annual performance reviews – raise your awareness of your team’s strengths, weaknesses, needs and wants. Not only will feedback help employees be more receptive to changes and improvements, but it will also tell your employees you’re willing to listen and make changes to improve the company and their employee experience based on their feedback.

Engagement Tactic 2: Create Incentives 

According to Gallup, employees who aren’t engaged are unattached to their work and company; they’ll put time in but not passion or energy into their hours. This segment is your biggest target for an incentive campaign tied to performance. Consider these performance-engagement initiatives:

  • Evaluations that pinpoint positive habits
  • Incentives based on career path milestones
  • Better pay or other perks when performance expectations are exceeded
  • Competition for positions, such as mentor/mentee roles

Engagement Tactic 3: Set Performance Goals 

One of the best ways to force a team to plug in mentally is to challenge them. Performance goal-setting ties into some of our primal psychological motivators: be the best; meet the goal; don’t let our tribe down. Tap into that natural inclination and serve up challenging but achievable SMART goals.

We’ve written a whole guide on this: How to Set Proper Performance Goals for Employees.

Engagement Tactic 4: Deploy a Quality Performance Management System 

Having a plan in place gets everyone on the same page and working toward a specific outcome. Putting that plan to work can be tricky, but there are Performance Management Systems designed to make it simple, intuitive and effective. A top-line platform will be:

  • Cloud-based for easy on-the-go access on mobile devices
  • Not dependent on special tech
  • Two-way, so team members can give input on their own performance and future
  • Centralized, so each employee’s performance history is together
  • Analytical, so performances can be compared across time and roles
  • Future-focused, with things like career paths and training clear for all parties

Engagement Tactic 5: Guarantee Accountability 

Accountability is the key to a strong Performance Management strategy. Any platform, whether paper-based or a software with all the bells and whistles, will fail to make a mark on engagement and performance if it doesn’t hold all parties accountable. Your system must allow you to tailor your performance review questions to the types of information you need to collect, and then, act on the feedback.

BirdDogHR offers a smart Performance Management System to improve employee productivity, engagement and turnover. With customizable reviews, managers are able to thoroughly evaluate employees and promote specific practices to let employees create a clear career path within the organization, which will drive their engagement. Schedule a demo and view customer testimonials to learn how other companies are recruiting, tracking and retaining their talent.

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