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Employee engagement should be a top priority for every employer in 2017 and beyond. A growing body of research indicates that despite the critical importance of employee engagement in long-term organizational success, few companies have found the magic formula for keeping their workers happy and motivated. In fact, a recent employee engagement survey indicated that the majority of workers around the world are disengaged, costing employers hundreds of billions of dollars in lost productivity each year.

4 pillars of employee engagement

If you’re wondering whether your organization is facing low employee engagement, look for tell-tale signs such as high absenteeism rates, high employee turnover and unsatisfactory project outcomes. These common issues often signal that employees are simply going through the motions in order to remain employed, rather than putting in their full effort. The problem won’t go away on its own, so here’s a look at the four pillars every organization should have in place to improve employee motivation and job satisfaction.

Collaborative Relationships

Surveys have shown that workplace relationships are the single most important factor in employee engagement. From high-level executives to the greenest intern, everyone in your organization should feel that they can trust their colleagues, and that they have a voice in how they do their work. Workplace collaboration tools can be immensely valuable in creating strong relationships, especially if your employees often work on geographically dispersed teams with little face-to-face contact. Cloud project management software not only helps build personal bonds between team members, they also help prevent miscommunications that might otherwise lead to conflicts and loss of trust.

Supportive Workplace Culture

It’s hard for employees to stay engaged in their work if they feel like just another cog in a machine. High-performing organizations are constantly looking for new ways to improve their corporate culture and show employees that they are valued not only as employees, but as individuals, too. Wellness programs, flexible working arrangements and employee social events can help reduce stress and build a happier, healthier workforce.

Relevant Feedback

Annual performance reviews are not enough. Employees need regular feedback from their managers throughout the year in order to stay focused and motivated. Positive reinforcement is essential for helping employees understand that their contributions are being noticed and appreciated. Even negative feedback can help drive employee engagement, if the feedback is delivered appropriately and is paired with suggestions as to how an employee can develop new skills and improve his or her performance.

Timely Recognition

While positive feedback from managers is important, employees also need to feel that the rest of the organization values their work as well. Employee recognition programs are a great way to reward your top performers and to motivate the rest of your employees to reach higher. Recognition programs are most successful when the recognition itself comes from a senior organizational leader, rather than the employee’s direct supervisor. Even if there’s no money in the budget for a cash award, a “thank you” from a top executive can show that employee efforts are contributing to the company’s long-term goals and make employees feel a closer connection to the organization.

Anne Catambay
As head of global marketing, Anne Catambay draws on more than 20 years of leadership experience in Silicon Valley. She joins Clarizen from Badgeville, where her global marketing efforts helped the company achieve a leadership position in a new market category (gamification). Prior to Badgeville, Anne held senior roles in global partner marketing at VMware, driving dramatic growth in a new market and seeing the company through acquisition (EMC) and, subsequently, through a highly touted IPO. Previously, she ran demand generation at Keynote Systems during the company's successful IPO, ultimately leading the company's partner marketing, corporate marketing and demand generation efforts. Anne also drove market demand in the Americas for British software company Systems Union. She holds a B.S. In business marketing, a B.F.A. in photography from San Jose State University and an M.B.A. from Santa Clara University.