shutterstock_152797151Employee engagement plays an integral role in any company’s growth. When employees are motivated to excel and contribute to an organization’s success, it results in improved performance and productivity. However, engagement isn’t a one-way street. Employers must take action to engage employees, rather than expect them to be engaged with a mere list of tasks.

Employee engagement results in a sense of fulfillment and success for employees, while furthering the company’s success, especially in a work landscape where 70% of U.S. employees feel miserable at work. Obviously mutually beneficial, employee engagement is something that all employers should strive for.

To up your engagement, try these seven methods used by smart companies working to engage their employees:

Provide Feedback Fairly And Constructively

Many employees find discontent in the feeling that their bosses don’t care about them or their work. Employee feedback — both negative and positive — can prevent this. Frequent and fair feedback reinforce the notion of individual talents and areas to improve upon, engaging employees as a result.

Also, rather than scolding or threatening employees, prudent companies work with employees when their performance is not up to par. Smart companies praise good work and strive to constructively improve subpar work, rather than just focusing on the latter.

Accommodate Collaboration And Involvement

Even for businesses with separate departments, savvy managers find a way to involve as many employees as possible in cross-functioning teams that take advantage of the various talents and expertise in the group. If a particular team doesn’t work, then modifications can be made. Even if team changes are carried out, however, employees will likely find the collaboration and change-of-pace refreshing.

Increase Personal Autonomy

Employees can have the motivation sapped out of them if they feel like they have no power or control of their tasks. Employers can evade this disengagement by providing employees with more personal power, increasing their decision-making roles and general flexibility — under the condition that performance standards are met. Engaging employees often comes down to higher-ups instilling their confidence in them.

Provide A Clear Big Picture

Businesses with vague ambitions and goals often have unmotivated employees, disengaged due to the exhibited tentativeness and indecisiveness of their employer. Smart companies are as transparent as possible with their employees in regard to their big picture, notably in what the business’ plans are for the next year, five years, decade and beyond. Some businesses take the extra step by frequently filling employees in on their personal role with the business, with both the big picture and their personal skillset in mind, inspiring self-worth and engaging employees in the process.

Offer Unique Employee-Centered Perks

Some businesses provide catered meals to their employees. Others offer “summer Fridays” where employees can leave early on Fridays during the summer. The folks at GameOn take their entire crew out to sporting events and concerts as a thank-you and a way to connect. These are just a few examples of employee-centered perks that show a business cares about its employees beyond the office. When an employee feels that the business they’re working for truly cares, they are much likelier to be motivated to do their job successfully.

Embrace What Makes You Human

Too often, companies want to exude a flawless sort of robotic exterior. Some bosses give off the vibe that they are a perfect professional specimen and that the same is expected of employees. This is very unrealistic, of course, but employees will still take it to heart. If an over-demanding employer sets unrealistic goals, employees — knowing full well they will never meet these goals — will likely not be as motivated, as it’s hard to work toward goals that aren’t even remotely attainable.

Instead, smart businesses promote a feeling of unity among various hierarchies, from managers to new employees. Bosses should share both their strengths and vulnerabilities, elaborating on the how the roles of each got them to their current successful position. By taking on the role of a teacher rather than an overbearing drill sergeant, bosses will likely notice an uptick in positivity. Employees who can relate with their employer in some positive capacity are more likely to be motivated to work for them.

Provide Individual Bonuses As A Reward

Although the word “bonus” in a career sense often implies something monetary, that doesn’t always have to be the case. Businesses can reward certain employees after a particularly excellent week through other perks, like a gift card to a restaurant or an added-on vacation day. Word will get around the office that good work = good perks, which may be all some businesses need in their quest to engaging employees.

Every business has a different employees, unique dynamics and individual work processes. There’s no one simple quick fix for engaging employees as a result. However, the tips above are great ways for any type of business to start engaging employees, mainly through feedback, collaboration, trust, clarity, relatability, and a perk here and there. The result is well worth it: improved performance and productivity, in addition to an overall more pleasant work environment.