happy employees

If you are invested in your organization’s growth, it may be worth committing resources to making sure employees have opportunities to share feedback and engage with that growth. Engaged employees do better work and contribute to a positive, supportive work culture. Employee engagement committees are one way employers can take meaningful action in this area.

What is an employee engagement committee?

An employee engagement committee is a group of company employees who spend a portion of their work time improving their employer’s connection with its employees. Employees volunteer their time to these initiatives because they want to be a part of making employee voices heard by their leaders. They serve as representatives of employee perspectives, and they also collaborate to create systems that keep employers and employees engaged with one another.

Why are employee engagement committees important?

Employee engagement committees are important for a number of reasons. They represent a symbolic commitment on the part of the employer to listen to employee feedback and improve the employee experience. They provide a supportive environment for employees to offer helpful feedback without fear of professional repercussions. Finally, these employees can serve as a crucial liaison between employers and employees– sharing information and insights and strategizing for the highest possible employee engagement.

How do you lead an employee engagement committee?

Though employee engagement committees have the potential to create significant change within the organizations they serve, they can also be a futile exercise, endlessly hamstrung by uncooperative leadership or unnecessary red tape. An employee engagement committee without the autonomy and power to truly make changes in an organization has the potential to have the opposite of its intended effect. A shallow, perfunctory commitment to employee satisfaction and engagement can cause employees to become even more disinterested and unhappy.

Effectively leading an employee engagement committee requires that you understand these potential pitfalls. Here are a few ideas for how you can best lead an employee engagement committee.

  • Make sure the committee reflects the employees it represents. This means encouraging participants of diverse backgrounds to apply, as well as reserving seats for lower-level employees in the organization. A committee that is homogenous or only represents managers’ perspectives will have some serious blind spots that may stifle insightful ideas.
  • Set goals. Employee well-being, satisfaction, and engagement are nebulous ideas. Setting concrete benchmarks and goals can help the team to recognize success and stay focused.
  • Give the committee some autonomy, whether it’s the ability to survey or interview employees, or a budget commitment to allow for employee engagement activities. Autonomy (with reasonable oversight, of course) allows volunteers to realize the full positive effects of their commitment to improving employee engagement.
  • Democracy rules. Corporate structure may generally be hierarchical and undemocratic, but here, on an employee engagement committee, all voices should matter. The opinions of folks with higher-up positions in the company shouldn’t be prioritized over low-level employees. (In fact, it’s often the lower-level employees, who are usually overlooked by management, who have the most valuable recommendations.)

Four employee engagement ideas

Address complaints

Employee engagement committees will often reach out to employees for feedback, either on an individual basis or using large-scale tools such as surveys. This feedback, both positive and negative, is a great starting point for any engagement efforts. We all want to feel heard, and making changes based on feedback is a great way to show employees that you’re truly listening.

Encourage community

When employees are tired, overworked, and uninterested in their jobs, what keeps them going? If you can answer this question, you’ll have solved one of the most important pieces of the employee engagement puzzle. The answer will depend on your employees’ needs and preferences, but in many cases, the answer is community. Employees rely on emotional, logistical, and personal support from coworkers and managers to make it through challenging times. You can improve employee engagement by promoting community. Whether this is by encouraging good community values such as teamwork, respect, and openness, or by organizing opportunities for employees to connect and bond with one another, community may be the missing piece you need to re-engage your employees at work.

Reward positive change

Positive reinforcement, or the act of encouraging desirable behavior using a system of rewards (rather than punishments), is one of the best ways to promote employee engagement in the workplace. Reward employees (with praise, recognition, or perks) for participating, going above and beyond, and exemplifying the best of company values.

Value time away

Perhaps ironically, employees feel more engaged when they have the space to fully unplug from work and enjoy personal time. Working around the clock and during time off contributes to burnout and disillusionment. The best thing you can do for employee engagement in your organization may just be to give your employees some more time off.

Employee engagement is a tricky subject, and employee engagement committees have their limitations. But these committees, at their best, can also push their employers to value employee engagement and wellness. If you’d like to learn more about how you can promote employee engagement using an employee recognition system, contact us for a demo today.