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Creativity, Connection, and Innovation: Why Employee Engagement Matters

Written by: Sophia Pagliawan
July 21, 2023 • 10-minute read

SA-Employee Engagement 2

One thing remains constant in the fast-paced business world: engaged employees are the backbone of any successful organization. As the workplace evolves, companies must find new and innovative ways to keep their employees motivated, connected, and committed to their work. That's where employee engagement plays a huge part. Through various initiatives and endeavors centered around employee well-being, you can create a culture of engagement and foster a sense of purpose among employees.

Employee Engagement in a Shifting Working Environment

Employee engagement is crucial for productivity, retention, and competitiveness. Engaged employees are more productive, innovative, and customer-focused. They care about what they do and recognize the importance of their efforts toward achieving company goals.

young-asia-businesswoman-using-laptop-talk-colleague-about-plan-video-call-meeting-while-work-from-home-living-roomPhoto by tirachards on freepik

With recent global events turning remote work into the new norm, the role that employee engagement plays in our workplace has become more important.

Engagement efforts help us feel a sense of belonging within the organization, whether it's being comfortable and satisfied with our roles or being connected with our team members. These efforts go beyond social activities like game nights. They also involve important discussions within the workplace to ensure trust, integrity, and a two-way commitment between the organization and its members. Aside from bringing a sense of belonging, these engagement initiatives improve morale, productivity, well-being, and mental health.

Employee Engagement's Role and Impact on Your Business

The role of employee engagement is to create a workplace environment that fosters a strong connection between employees and their work, colleagues, and organization. It involves developing initiatives and programs that encourage employee participation, boost morale, and promote a sense of purpose and meaning in the workplace. These efforts also significantly impact the business regarding its bottom line and overall culture:

Improved productivity

According to Gallup, highly engaged teams are 21% more productive than low-engagement teams. They also produce better business outcomes across industries, company sizes, and in good economic times or bad. This is because engaged employees are motivated beyond personal reasons and care about what they do. They also recognize the importance of their effort in contributing to the company's success, which means employees consistently turn up to work and work well.

Increased employee satisfaction

Engaged employees clearly understand their roles and how their work contributes to achieving the company’s goals. They are also more likely to receive recognition and feedback on their work. Employees who feel that their colleagues and managers are supportive and collaborative are more likely to enjoy their work and feel satisfied with their jobs.

collage-customer-experience-conceptPhoto by freepik on freepik

Reduced turnovers

When engaged, employees are more committed to their work and the company and less likely to leave. They tend to understand the company's values, goals, and mission better and feel a greater sense of connection to the organization. This makes them more likely to stay with the company, as they feel part of something meaningful.

StraightArrow's People Department

Before they were called People Experience, StraightArrow's employee engagement team started as the VIBE team under the People Department (StraightArrow's HR department). Spearheaded by our then Head of Operations and current COO, Andrew Waga, its purpose was to reconnect and re-engage our employees amidst the pandemic and the work-from-home setup.

The team started with a few passionate volunteers from different teams but now comprises only key people led by Paolo dela Rea, Head of People Experience, who all work together to bring exciting engagement activities and company events to life.

Employee engagement and company success

When asked about the impact of employee engagement on a company's success, Paolo emphasized that an organization is, first and foremost, run by its people.

“Without nourishing, nurturing, and loving your employees, the whole organization will never succeed because it will never be sustainable. You will never build a solid foundation for the whole organization if your employees are not into it and don't believe they should be engaged.”

If employees and team members lack the feeling of fulfillment in their everyday lives, they may soon feel exhausted and burnt out. Without employees who are motivated and determined to achieve both personal and company goals, companies will struggle to reach its targets. That is why the People Experience team exists: to provide a better and more holistic employee experience and be faithful to the company's goal of delivering work-life harmony.

The People Department's employee engagement initiatives

At StraightArrow, we refer to our employees as HEROes, which represents the happy, engaged, results-oriented, and open and honest culture that we’re always working to achieve.

Our People Department is committed to keeping our HEROes engaged and connected through various events and initiatives. From fun and exciting game nights to creative and challenging brain teasers, these activities not only provide an opportunity for employees to have fun and socialize, but they also help foster a sense of community and belonging within the organization.

Some of the People Department's most recent engagement initiatives include the "DARE to be HER" game night held last March to celebrate International Women’s Day and promote women's empowerment. This fun guessing game tested our HEROes' familiarity with known women in history and pop culture.

DARE to be HER

Last April, the People Department held a game activity inspired by "Unnecessary Inventions" to celebrate Creativity and Innovation Week. HEROes were given insignificant but frustrating problems and were challenged to develop unique inventions to solve these problems.

Unnecessary Inventions

Thanks to technology, these activities were both conducted remotely to keep our HEROes entertained and engaged. In today's digital era, virtual capabilities have revolutionized our ability to perform tasks remotely. Technological advancements in messaging and video software paved the way for virtual collaboration and efficient remote work. We can conduct meetings, submit deliverables, and collaborate online.

However, despite all these advances, there's simply no substitute for face-to-face interactions. In-person meetings provide a sense of connection and empathy that is difficult to replicate via video, which is why engagement activities held in person or via hybrid means tend to be more successful.

Paolo says:

“It’s not that we don’t want to engage with each other, but the technology limits us to really engage. Instead of being able to interact naturally with our team members, we sometimes end up toning down our verbal expressions when someone else is talking and vice versa so that we can hear each other and not sound intrusive.”

Aside from in-person or hybrid events, another main factor that makes engagement initiatives successful is team leaders encouraging their members to participate.

Team leaders play a crucial part in employee engagement. Their active involvement fosters stronger team connections and reinforces our collective responsibility to create a happy and engaged experience for everyone. Team members feel more comfortable joining and participating in activities with people they already know, including their team.

Employee engagement is everyone's responsibility, not just the People Department's because we're here for a meaningful and valuable experience. That's why it’s essential for team leaders to encourage and join their team members in these employee engagement events and initiatives for the organization to fulfill our engagement goals.

Creating any program takes heart, effort, time, and energy. However, some employees may not participate in engagement activities or initiatives despite their benefits. 

As with any organization, StraightArrow's People Department faces various challenges they must overcome to ensure effective employee engagement. The biggest challenge? Participation.

This lack of participation can be due to various reasons, such as time constraints, lack of interest, feeling isolated, or feeling like the activity is not relevant to them or to their work.


Photo by Hannah Busing on Unsplash

However, the team continues to explore new ways to engage employees and address these challenges to ensure that all members feel valued, supported, and engaged. They have already launched various activities like game nights, interactive gatherings, hybrid town halls, birthday parties, and recognitions. These are all activities held regularly to foster engagement amongst our HEROes.

More plans are underway to uncover the root cause of this lack of participation, and the People Department is looking forward to launching more programs and initiatives allowing team members to share their voices.

StraightArrow recognizes engaged employees are more productive, innovative, and committed to the company's success. 

As such, the company helps boost the People Department's initiatives and programs to create a positive work environment, foster a sense of community, and support employee well-being. This is achieved through monthly town hall meetings and community IDS™ (Identify, Discuss, and Solve) sessions. IDS, an Entrepreneurial Operating System® tool, empowers teams to efficiently address and resolve problems in order of priority.

By getting feedback and acknowledging the pain points that our HEROes have, the organization can then proactively implement targeted solutions and improvements. This collaborative approach strengthens the company's commitment to employee satisfaction and ensures that the voices and needs of our team members are heard and addressed. 

The Road Ahead for Employee Engagement

In general, the future of employee engagement will involve an increased focus on technology, flexibility, and individualization. With remote work becoming more common, companies must find new ways to keep employees engaged and connected—whether through virtual team-building activities, communication tools, or other means. 

kobu-agency-7okkFhxrxNw-unsplashPhoto by KOBU Agency on Unsplash

There will also be a greater emphasis on employees' individual needs and preferences rather than a one-size-fits-all approach to engagement. This could involve personalized career development plans, customized benefits packages, and tailored communication strategies to ensure each employee feels valued and supported.

Final thoughts

Employee engagement is vital for the success of any organization, especially in the current work environment. Companies prioritizing employee engagement can reap numerous benefits, such as:

  • increased productivity,
  • reduced turnover rates, and
  • improved employee well-being.

As the future of work continues to evolve, employee engagement will likely play an even more critical role in helping organizations adapt to changing circumstances and maintain a competitive edge. By investing in employee engagement initiatives, companies will ensure a positive and supportive work environment that promotes employee satisfaction, retention, and success.

Looking for a workplace that values creativity, collaboration, and innovation?

Check out our careers page for current opportunities, and take the first step towards a fulfilling career with StraightArrow!

Join our team. Apply today.

Sophia Pagliawan
Sophia Pagliawan
Sophia is a Content Marketing Associate at StraightArrow with a passion for food, magic, and makeup. She is a big fan of any show with snakes or dragons and dreams of having a pet dragon of her own—no matter how impossible that may be.



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