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How to boost employee participation (and why you should)

How to boost employee participation (and why you should)

Jonathan Davies


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10 mins read

Mon, Sep 4, '23  

The evidence is clear: engaged employees are more productive, experience less burnout, and stay longer in companies. The question is, what can you do to engage your teams? 

A key element of employee engagement is employee participation. Engagement occurs when employees participate in decision-making, voice concerns, and actively contribute to the company's growth. Engaged teams are often the result of a work environment where everyone feels included, valued, and respected. An employee's sense of belonging and acceptance is crucial to their participation. 

In this article, we'll explore employee participation, its benefits, and effective ways to enhance it within your organization.

What is employee participation? 

Employee participation is a process that promotes the active involvement of team members in organizational decision-making. It encourages employee collaboration, empowering team members with the necessary resources, responsibilities, and support to succeed and grow. 

Participation involves employees taking shared responsibility for critical decisions rather than just following orders. These decisions range from employee reward programs and strategic planning to budgeting and team building. 

The process often involves mechanisms like open forums, staff suggestion schemes, and collective project initiatives. By prioritizing employee participation, companies can decentralize power and create an environment that boosts confidence, nurtures belonging, and ensures collective success.

What are the benefits of employee participation? 

Employee participation leads to many positive outcomes, creating an environment where team members feel valued, invested, and motivated. The following are some of the benefits of increased employee participation:

Employees are more productive

Employee participation contributes to a more productive workforce. The most involved and engaged employees suggest workflow improvements, devise cost-effective strategies, and innovate freely. Their heightened morale and open communication channels facilitate a positive and supportive work environment that improves productivity and quality output.

Company morale improves

As employees get involved in company activities and align themselves with its culture and ethics, the overall company morale improves. Increasing their understanding and contribution to the work ethos improves efficiency, unity, and satisfaction, creating a vibrant work environment that inspires productivity.

Employees take more pride in their work

Involving employees in the team's work instills a sense of pride and ownership. Open communication channels and active involvement in business processes fuel their enthusiasm, loyalty, and creativity. Recognizing and implementing their contributions boosts job satisfaction, encouraging them to give their best effort to fulfill their duties.

Turnover decreases

Increased employee satisfaction and engagement often correlate with lower turnover rates. The sense of belonging generated by employee participation makes employees less likely to look for work elsewhere. Retaining employees reduces turnover, which leads to a stable, dedicated workforce.

Employees form stronger bonds with their peers

Participation programs enhance communication among employees and managers, creating a culture where everyone's voice is valued. Employees feel more comfortable sharing their opinions, fostering mutual trust, respect, and strong team bonds. The resulting camaraderie contributes to more productive and efficient work outcomes.

Workplace stress decreases

Active participation in decision-making can alleviate workplace stress, contributing to better mental health. A relaxed and engaged team contributes to a healthier work environment. The development of strong relationships among colleagues further enhances their mental well-being.

Innovation increases   

By promoting collaboration and the exchange of ideas, employee participation encourages innovation. Engaged employees are more likely to identify problems, develop solutions, and implement novel ideas without fear of rejection. Their commitment to the company's mission and goals fuels their motivation to improve performance, thus driving innovation.

How do you increase employee participation?

A company's culture must be conducive to employee participation. Businesses can unlock many benefits when they create an environment where their employees feel appreciated, respected, and trusted. 

Here are some effective ways to increase employee participation within your organization.

Create working groups

Working groups form the bedrock of participative initiatives. Employers can constructively engage employees by organizing teams to oversee specific projects, review policies, or shape business strategies. These groups empower employees to contribute beyond their regular tasks, creating a sense of ownership and increased investment in the company's success.

Give employees autonomy

Increasing participation also involves granting employees autonomy in their roles. This empowerment may include making decisions about their duties without manager approval, taking time off without requests, or managing the budget associated with their position. 

Whether employees take on a new project or change their daily routine, autonomy increases intrinsic motivation. In addition to motivating job satisfaction and performance, freedom can boost employee pride. 

Provide space for connection

Encouraging employee resource groups (ERGs) is a great way to build employee connections. These voluntary communities unite individuals with shared backgrounds or interests, creating a sense of shared values. 

Whether the focus is diversity and inclusion, wellness, or special interests, ERGs serve as spaces where employees can connect with peers on a deeper level. With a modern company intranet, like Happeo, teams can share information digitally, whether based in the office, hybrid, or remote.

Acknowledge employee accomplishments

Employee recognition is a potent tool for boosting participation. Over 80% of employees feel unrecognized or unrewarded – addressing this with a customized recognition program can drive engagement and morale. 

A platform that supports social, monetary, and peer-to-peer recognition can help ensure your team feels acknowledged and valued. At Happeo, we embed many features to enhance connection and culture within our intranet technology, allowing HR departments to recognize accomplishments in many ways.

Ask for input

Inviting employees to share their thoughts and opinions on various business aspects can increase participation. Surveys are the easiest way to get employee input — they allow you to obtain feedback from all employees at once and act on it quickly. Such solutions help create an environment where employees feel their voices matter and can impact the business.

Facilitate communication

Effective internal communication is crucial to employee involvement. Consistent, transparent, and balanced interactions ensure everyone is on the same page. Managers should strive to create an open culture where they are available for discussions with employees at all levels. 

This approach, coupled with active involvement in team activities and an open-plan working environment, can foster a culture of open dialogue and increased participation. In addition, you can further enhance internal communications with user-friendly chat platforms designed for remote or hybrid teams.

Improve employee participation with Happeo

Employees are essential to any company’s success. Keeping employees happy and engaged in their work lives can be a challenge without the right solutions in place. 

Thankfully, there are many tools on the market to help encourage employee participation in multiple ways, even for geographically-distributed teams. With a tool like Happeo, you can bring your entire organization into one platform. Document storage, cross-team collaboration, connecting communities, and more can happen in one place and with a single search bar.

To ramp up employee participation with a single tool you can set up in under 6 to 8 weeks, book a demo today.