Emotionally Intelligent Employee Engagement 2022

Our Approach and Best Practices

Instilling emotional intelligence and communication skills into your workforce is a pillar of how we help organizations enhance their cultures.

In this guide:

  • Employee engagement today
  • Common challenges among HR leaders
  • Best Practices
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Employee Engagement Best Practices.

What we have learned working with our global clients. Balancing recognition, engagement, and insights to increase retention and culture.

What does Employee Engagement Mean to you?

We believe the way we work is changing. It doesn't mean work itself is being reinvented. It simply means the old way of doing things is being adapted by companies open to putting in the effort to change. These organizations that look at employee engagement as a way to provide purpose, motivation, and impact foster strong cultures and employee performance that outperforms organizations not focused on building a strong culture.

What Makes Work Meaningful Today?

Yes, we are an HR tech vendor. Yes, we would love it if you asked us to help you. Those biases out of the way. We have documented a toolkit that can help you look at the new way of work. Again, employees will always want positive feedback from managers, to be noticed by a senior leader once and a while, and for a safe work environment that lets them be their best selves. Let's dig in.

Chapter 1:

Employee Engagement Today

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Conventions Are Changing

We are in a new world where the conventions of work are changing quickly. HR leaders are challenged with ways to adapt and determine if what employees are asking for is permanent or a phase.

Our experience has taught us that changes and preferences will change rapidly. The pillars or foundation of work haven't changed. Employees want fair pay, a manager who can help them grow, safety, and work that aligns with their values. Employee engagement in 2022 has to be micro-focused on ways to see the employee as an individual, connect them with colleagues even through remote and hybrid work, and celebrate each stage of the career experience.

More than 10 years of experience in the field of employee engagement makes it clear to us that it is becoming more difficult and more necessary.  It is also happening more quickly than ever before.  Employers have a clear choice, look for ways to engage with employees on their terms or prepare for the costs, and possible losses, involved in hiring new employees. 

While the concept of successful engagement with your employees seems easy enough today, engaging with them successfully is a process that is, in reality, far from being successful. Long before COVID, your employees felt disassociated from the organization.  Study after study shows they see themselves viewed as replaceable cogs whose hard work is hardly noticed and might not actually contribute to the organization's success. Attempts to engage your employees with company functions or some types of recognition or acknowledgments may seem superficial at best.

After 2 plus years of remote working that may even be more true than ever. 

Despite this perception, you are actually in a stronger position to successfully engage your employees than ever before.  It requires commitment, a true acknowledgment of the individual's contribution and a desire to be authentic in your dealing with them. 

Retention vs Replacement Costs Are Top of Mind

communicate values or goalsSo think of it like this, do you want to invest in what it takes to keep your employees engaged, or do you want to have to spend the large sums required to replace them? The classic metric is that it costs 150% more to replace an employee vs invest in retaining them. Factoring in compensation, productivity, and organizational knowledge, turnover will always be a "tax" on organizations' productivity and an avoidable one at that.

The good news is that you can take immediate steps to ensure this cost is not crippling. What you need to do is engage your employees and make sure they feel like they are contributing.  Is it that simple?  Well, yeah, it really is.  The hard part is are you willing to make that commitment to your employees even if it seems unnecessary. 


Chapter 2:

Emotional Intelligence is More ImportantThan Ever

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Emotional Intelligence is More Important Than Ever

What is now required is for you to change your way of doing things and adapt an employee engagement practice that is built around emotional intelligence. A central theme of all successful programs going forward will be emotional intelligence. Your employees, like everyone else, have been through a brutal few years. We now have an environment that has never been conceived, never mind planned for before.   Extra often exceptional steps are called for As we shared at the 2022 World at Work Total Rewards Conference, Emotional Intelligence is a skill set HR leaders need to commit to because the new way of work is fraught with potential problems. There are multiple approaches to promoting emotional intelligent communications and we've outlined a few below.

Employee Behavior is Universal. How You Address It Is Unique to Your Culture

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Human resources leaders from different organizational sizes, cultures, and geographies may not seem to have much in common.  But they all share the same problems with employee engagement.  Employees stay, and quit, for a few basic reasons. What you may not know is that you also have the same solution within an arm's reach.

Human Resources leaders organizations from different industries, structures, and organizational goals may not seem to have a great deal in common but they all face the challenges of employee engagement.  Employees stay, and leave, for the same basic reasons no matter what the purpose of your organization is. But the loss of even a small percentage can cause havoc.  Everyone needs good employee engagement.

The role of employee engagement will continue to grow in scope and complexity no matter who you are. Today it is easier for employees to learn about how good you are as an employer and how well your employees feel they are being treated.  The trust between employees and their organizations was in a downward spiral and COVID brought it down even further than could be perceived. 

So, the big question that everyone needs to ask is, are you ready to do what's required?

And that's where your problems may begin.  How does your culture adapt to fit this new environment?  We have some businesses, like healthcare, that never shut down during COVID. How does their culture engage with employees and recognize their contributions.? In another vein tech who went entirely remote,  in many cases, how do they react to engage employees regarding their culture?   

Each culture needs to engage based on its own experiences and its own needs. We are seeing a new environment of great turnover the so-called "mass resignation."  As numerous articles have shown that transcends industries and job levels so we all need to realize that dissatisfaction with their job, dissatisfaction by employees with how they are being engaged, is universal throughout human resources,

Chapter 3:

Emotional Intelligence and More

Salovey and Mayer defined emotional intelligence as the ability to monitor one's own and others' feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them, and use this information to guide one's thinking and actions.

If you want your employees to leave then the best way to do it is by treating them like they are expendable and making sure they know they are.  There are so many companies that are legendary for how they treat their employees harshly. On the other side, there are so many companies famous for how well they treat their employees. The companies that want to build a team of workers focused on the organization, its brand, and, its customers are ones where the organization treats its employee with true authenticity and have a culture that encourages recognition and managers who are empowered to reward employees accordingly. 

Engagement innovators like KangoGift, help you build your employee engagement. There are so many aspects to it but our extensive experience and more than 10 years of experience have shown that authenticity is what will help you build the strongest program possible to engage with your employees using a program that is based on emotional intelligence. 


More Authenticity Needed

feedbackHere is one big challenge HR managers face, on the one hand we see some surveys like the one from Zippa that says 65% of all Americans are happy with their jobs.  That's a data point that is sure to make any of us happy.  Then on the next page we see 40% want to quit their jobs. One has to ask, what? Wait a second, what? 

There are the reasons we expect to see such as low pay, but one may surprise you.  It's the lack of respect.  In other words we're not engaging with employees properly.  Does your organization meet the expectations of every employee regarding pay and benefits? Do you also meet expectations around authenticity. 

Authenticity varies in so many way's one could write a book about it.  But for the needs of the HR department it can be, in it's most simplistic format, bringing people together to help each other out for a common good.  That uniting of people can be as easy as a well down from a manager without much fanfare.  It doesn't need to be extravagant or flash, it needs to make the employee feel like they are contributing. 

Building the Authentic Culture

This can be where a lot of organizations fall down in their search for authentic employee engagement.  For one thing many HR people either don't know what they need to do or the organization's culture doesn't encourage it.  Many organizations, not all bad, don't believe in the idea of recognizing people outside of their paycheck.  A well done job is its own reward as some might say. 

What falls to HR leaders is to make sure that employee engagement, and its positive results, will only happen if the engagement is authentic.  Simply put the employee will never feel engaged unless they are directly contacted about the importance of their contribution.  Many managers know this and that's why there has been a 23% increase in recognition by managers. 

This has become even more necessary as we work alone and live alone during COVID. No friends, no shopping malls or churches or large gatherings have made the delivery of an authentic employee recognition and engagement culture absolutely essential.  Its delivery will be the difference between your employees staying or leaving. 

Chapter 4:

Celebrating the Accomplishments of the Employee


If your employees want to feel engaged and you want to bring emotional
intelligence into your organization, a great way to start is to make sure your employees believe they are seen as individuals.  How does this begin? By celebrating the employee.

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For example, KangoGift offers you two ways to celebrate with your employee those key moments in their life. When you're building an emotionally intelligent program the best way to be authentic with your employees is to share them in a fashion that reaches out to the employee in a way that makes them feel they have been engaged in an appropriate and authentic fashion.  This sharing can be based on work accomplishments like the completion of a big project or an anniversary, or it can be for a person life event.  It can be a big part for 100 people or it can be a quick note from one of the managers. 

KangoGift can also work with you to analyze your program's actions against a data set you determine so you can draw a portrait of what your program does and how it compares to the larger marketplace.  The anonymous data provides you with a strong representation of what is going on and allows you to build a strong benchmark for your program.  As with all KangoGift offers, the information provided will be customized to meet your unique needs. 

Chapter 5:

Creating your emotionally intelligent engagement program


What Suits Your Culture?

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When you're building your emotionally intelligent employee engagement program it comes down to the matter of culture. You absolutely want and need a program that suits your culture.  That should be your first, second, and third needs. But keep in mind that your culture is just that, yours.  Its uniqueness is a great strength but could also be an impediment.  If you go down the road to building your engagement program,  make sure that it is not one that operations to the exclusion of all else. 

Building Your Own

There are a number of DIY (do it yourself) options available to you. This allows you to build a program that you believes will best represent your culture.  It will reflect on who you are and what you believe in. This is the type of  program that you will see your ethos and mindset throughout. This model allows for a very insulated program which is direct and one that your team will recognize.

Working WithOutside Vendor


Building a recognition program is never going to be easy.  It will be the type of task that requires you to start over and  once you finish it as there will be plenty of changes and updates since you first began. As we already said, while you have your own culture it does not exist in a vacuum. You will be at a disadvantage if you think you can only benefit based on your own culture.  Buying from an outside vendor provides you with two clear benefits.  First you benefit from having a thought and industry leader bringing in a proven solution to fit your need.  Second you have a solution which is built off the experiences and inputs from organizations with your needs across the entire spectrum of human resources professionals. It’s your small environment compared to the entire universe. 

Working With a Vendor Who Can Do Both

When creating your emotionally intelligent engagement form it can seem sometimes like you have two options both of which confine you. Fortunately, there is this third option which offers the ideal combination of the two.  Companies like KangoGift are able to come into your organization and customize the type of program that will allow all the things that are great and unique about your organization to come on through while also providing you with exposure and expertise built around the diverse views of exposure to, and expertise from, the best of what emotional intelligence has to offer. 

The other great option of a partner is that unlike the off the shelf or outside vendor, you have a great deal of customization that can help which will reflect on your values. You’re not buying a fixed product with expensive modifications nor are you buying the DIY solution where the greatest cost of the program is running it. The partnership model gives you both advantages with none of the downsides. 

Chapter 6:

The 4 Pillars of an Emotionally Intelligent Program


The four pillars are built around the ideas of: 

  • Recognition
  • Culture
  • Trust in this new hybrid world
  • Personality styles

This is what the 4 pillars should mean to you.

This is what they 4 pillars should mean to you

Recognition: Successful, emotionally intelligent engagement programs are quick to acknowledge the contributions of all team members. It is essential that it be frequent and visible to encourage partnership and a belief in the team’s contributions to the larger success of the organization.  It is a great opportunity to recognize those courageous employees who not only did the eye catching, head-turning thing, but who also made that small, yet essential, action which helped the project to be completed successfully.  By doing this frequently and visibly you are reminding the teams it’s about the journey and not the destination. 

Culture:  This is something great organizations are constantly building and maintaining.  It never stops evolving. For the emotionally intelligent engagement program it all begins at the talent acquisition stage.  The emotional intelligence stage brings the employee into the organization and helps guides them through the process of contributing to engagement with their own managers and employees. (If that’s the case)

Trust in this new hybrid world: We are in this hybrid world now and for the future.  Deal with it!  Here is how.  First, you empower others.  The boss standing over your shoulder is gone. In fact the manager has to be flexible and put people in a position to succeed. The manager also needs to be highly visible and be ready to engage employees in a way that best serves their needs.  Trust these days is harder to build and harder to maintain.  The organization has to be more proactive than ever to succeed. 

Personality styles: Getting to know employees is more important than ever.  A great tool is the ME manual so you know who the person is on the team and HR can help managers succeed by engaging them properly. Managers can react properly in a fashion that helps the organization succeed and allows boundaries to be set so any steps can be taken to mitigate any issues. 

This is the ideal support structure for the emotionally intelligent engagement program.  They are not a blueprint, they don’t exist to tell you what to do, they are your starting block. Your program comes from you and your organization’s goals.