A Modern Approach to Employee Engagement

By Leanne Bull


A recent survey commissioned by Monster Canada found that, if they had the option, half of Canadians (49 per cent) would choose not to work if they didn’t have to. That’s a significant portion of people who would leave their work life behind if they didn’t require their job to pay the bills.

But on the other hand, nearly the same amount – 47 per cent – said they’d be likely to continue working, even if they didn’t need to.

For these Canadians, there’s a good chance they like working beyond simply being a way to pass the time. It might be that they’re working in an industry they’re very interested in, or they feel like they’re doing something that is making a difference in the world. Conversely, they might love the company or brand, or might have close friends in the workplace.

While many of these factors are outside of your influence as an employer, there are steps you can consider to help you encourage your employees to be engaged and, in turn, to love working for your company. Below are some considerations around modern employee engagement approaches that may help you create advocates among your staff.


Give employees opportunities to do more of what they love

The same Monster Canada poll referenced above found that, among those who would continue working, more than half would want to pursue a job that complements their passions.

Some live to work, but let’s face it – most people work to live. While employees might be hired for specific roles, why don’t you consider a program that enables employees to pursue personal passion projects within professional boundaries?

If it’s feasible, considering introducing a development program that allows employees to pursue personal interests – such as a different language, a certification or a creative venture. You can create guidelines and make it part of an annual goal-setting exercise. This can be a great way to demonstrate your investment in your employees.


Allow employees to support a cause they care about

Past studies have revealed that if a company is engaged in Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives, it can impact employee engagement, which could in-turn lead to higher performance and improved retention. 

Numerous companies have instituted volunteer days, which give employees the opportunity to spend a day in the community donating their time. Sometimes these initiatives support specific organizations or causes as mandated by a company, but what about introducing a program that allows each employee to select their preferred cause?

Whether it’s a specific day – or days – set aside for volunteer time, or a rewards program that recognizes employees who volunteer on their own for causes that matter to them, this is another great way to enable employees to pair their work life with what they’re passionate about.


Recognize your employees’ personal milestones

It’s important to call out your employees’ accomplishments in the workplace, but don’t discount the positive impact of recognizing milestones in their personal lives.

If your organization isn’t doing so already, consider making time for special recognition for employees who are going through major moments in their lives, whether it’s getting married or having a child.

Beyond some of the more common life events, it’s likely your employees have other goals they’ve been working towards. Perhaps they completed their first marathon or passed a challenging certification exam with flying colours. Consider taking the time to acknowledge these moments in your employees’ lives. 


Starting small can have a big impact

Depending on the size of your workforce and your business, it might not be possible to implement large employee engagement initiatives all at once. But perhaps you may want to think about starting small.

If you’re not ready to dive right in, start with a pilot program. You can then measure employee response to new initiatives and ensure that they are well-received.

In the long run, introducing new initiatives may help increase retention and bolster loyalty. You may even have some employees who would work for you, even if they didn’t have to.

For more tips on how to increase retention at your company, or for the latest HR trends, visit hiring.monster.ca.