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Use Cases   |   Leadership

How Managers Can Utilize Trello To Boost Employee Engagement

By | Published on | 8 min read
<span id="hs_cos_wrapper_name" class="hs_cos_wrapper hs_cos_wrapper_meta_field hs_cos_wrapper_type_text" style="" data-hs-cos-general-type="meta_field" data-hs-cos-type="text" >How Managers Can Utilize Trello To Boost Employee Engagement</span>

We all know there’s a difference between doing your job, and being excited about doing your job. While a variety of factors (even outside the workplace) can contribute to an employee’s engagement, it’s important to ensure that your employees are not only clocking in, but actually feeling empowered and energized to do their jobs. 

Some might argue the main reason to make sure your employees are engaged is because engaged employees get more work done. While that’s true, it also just makes sense that people should be happy and energized by what they do for 30% of their lifetime. Sure, we all have days where we’d rather be laying on the beach with a cold drink in our hands instead of answering emails, but overall, wouldn’t it be satisfying if we felt excited about our work more often than not?

What Is Employee Engagement And Why Does It Matter? 

Although often confused with “job satisfaction”, employee engagement isn’t just about workers being content with their job. An engaged employee believes in their company and their team. They show up to work every day actively participating in conversations and contributing ideas. They proactively solve problems rather than just dealing with what shows up on their plate. They want to thrive in their role, and they want the company as a whole to succeed. They want to collaborate with their peers to reach shared goals.

This doesn’t mean they’re workaholics. Quite the opposite—they actually have a really healthy balance and know how to shut their laptops and recharge in their off time so they can be at peak performance during working hours. 

According to the Harvard Business Review, engaged employees are important for increasing innovation, productivity, and bottom-line performance. 71% of executives rank employee engagement as a critical factor in the overall success of an organization. Aside from creating more productive workers, engaged employees are more likely to stay with a company and decrease costs associated with turnover.

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Although many factors can contribute to an employee’s level of engagement, managers have a lot of control over producing a work environment that fosters engagement. And—you guessed it—you can use Trello to boost employee engagement. 

Not a manager? Don’t worry—you can still manage up and suggest these ideas to your team, or implement them on your own!

Bring Everyone Together With Virtual Team Activities

When you’ve got a hybrid or fully remote team, it’s difficult for team bonding to happen like it would in an office. It’s even more difficult to find ways to make it happen without being cheesy or making it feel forced. An easy way to solve this is to give a smorgasbord of ideas and let people choose. 

Create a Trello board with a list of activities people can do together. Set aside specific times each week (or month) for your employees to pick an activity for team bonding. For instance, turn an hour on Friday into “team activity” time. You can group your lists by group size to make it easier to find ideas for each team. Then, let groups form as they’d like. 

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Can’t get everyone to rally around the same time? Create a list of “Asynchronous Activities” that you don’t have to all hop on a call for.

Although it feels like you’re losing out on employee “work time” with activities like this, you’ll save those hours many times over when the team feels more aligned and at ease with each other.

Show Your Work With Team Kanban Boards

It’s difficult to feel engaged if you don’t see how your work matters or how it fits into the pieces of your team’s and company’s strategy. It’s also difficult to feel engaged if you feel like you’re pulling all the weight on your team and have no idea about what other people are working on.

A great way to solve this is to put all of your team’s tasks together in one place and work in “sprints”. 

Trello is a great tool for bringing your team’s work together, because each card can easily represent a task. Use lists to group tasks by stages. If your team has a really specific workflow, you can name your lists according to those stages. Or, you can just keep it simple with “To Do”, “Doing”, and “Done”. 

Each week, meet with your team to discuss what you want to focus on for the week. Create a card for each task and assign it to a team member. You can use labels to give more clarification to the tasks, and you can use other features like due dates or attachments to keep all the tasks details in one place. 

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This is a great way for people to see how their projects come together as part of a team’s bigger initiatives, and it’s also a great way to ensure everyone is actively contributing meaningful tasks to the team. 

Pro-tip: Add the Time Tracking Power-Up to your board and make sure everyone keeps track of the time they spend on tasks to ensure no one is spending too much time working. If you see your employees spending too much time on tasks, work with them and ask them how to make their workload easier or what kind of support they need. (This goes a lot further for preventing offsetting than offering subsidized gym memberships or yoga classes at the office… although we like those, too.)

Did Someone Say Swag? Manage Employee Gifts With Order Tracking

We all love goodies, and while free stuff isn’t enough to keep people motivated on its own, sending your employees gifts shows you care, and when it comes to wearing the company name, a lot of people actually feel some pride in showing off where they work. 

If you just have a couple of employees, keeping track of gifts or swag for them may be easy. But if you have several, or even hundreds, you might need a better way to keep track of information, like shipping addresses, sizes, and delivery status. 

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Using this template and the easy peasy Crmble Power-Up, you can easily pick an item you want to send, create a Typeform or Google Form to collect employee mailing addresses, and then track progress as you ship your item(s) out. You can even add the Package Tracking Power-Up to keep delivery info inside the card so you and your employees can monitor the shipping status.

Show You’re Listening With Employee Feedback Tracking

One of the best ways to make sure employees feel engaged is to show that their voice and opinions matter. An easy way to do this is to create a central repository for employee feedback, and then make a public way to view ones you’re actively addressing. 

Create a simple Typeform or Google form where employees can anonymously submit something they think could use improvement.  

Using the Typeform Power-Up (or Zapier + Google forms), you can easily send responses from that form into a Trello board. Make the board public so the whole company can see the feedback. You can even install the Voting Power-Up to allow employees to vote on submitted feedback so you can prioritize what to work on first. 

Create lists that represent the stages of addressing the feedback, such as “Received”, “Working On”, “Solution Implemented”, “Reviewing Improvements”, “Communicated Results”. Each week, pick an issue that was submitted and move it to “Working On” to try to brainstorm some ways you could improve that. Document those ideas in the card description or comments.

Once you’ve got an idea in place, update the card description with the solution you want to try and move it to “Solution Implemented”. While it’s being implemented, make sure you’ve got ways to measure if this is actually improving the issue. For instance, if the issue was “too many @all emails being sent”, have a way to measure if more or fewer emails are being sent based on what you implemented. 

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By making this board public, your whole company can see that you’re taking the feedback and making moves to improve processes. Will it always fix the problems? Of course not, but by taking steps in that direction and being publicly accountable to show your progress, people will have more faith that their voice matters.

Give Public Recognition With A Kudos Board

Sometimes, a little recognition can go a long way. Employees feel most engaged when they know the things they do matter, and sometimes the way to know that is with a bit of recognition and a sincere ‘thank you’ from teammates. But finding the right way to facilitate that doesn’t have to involve some complicated software or system. It can be a simple Trello board!

You could set this board up a couple of different ways. For example, you could have a board with a card for every member on your team, and when someone wants to give kudos, they just add a comment on that card saying thanks and explaining what the kudos are for. 

Alternatively, teammates could give kudos by creating a card explaining what they’re recognizing and then assign the team member they want to give the kudos to. 

If you want to put some money behind it, you could incorporate a kudos “bank”. When an employee receives kudos, they will get a Starbucks gift card (or something similar). Of course, you can set limits, like 5 per month. Or you can limit how many kudos each employee can give out each month. Put some guardrails up to set your finance team at ease, but also make it flexible and add a fun incentive behind the kudos.

You could also try out this template that uses Kudobox.co to create Kudos cards on Trello boards. 

Professional Growth Tracking Board

Another way to help employees feel engaged is by helping them feel like they’re progressing in their career.  It’s often too easy to get stuck in a rut and feel like every day is groundhog day.

If you can help your employees see a path towards what excites them, they’ll feel more energized in their daily tasks that take them there. It’s also an effective way to make sure you’re helping your workforce become more skilled and stronger.

Create a board for each employee and encourage them to add cards for each professional goal they have. It could be a career change, a promotion, a new skill set, or a new certification. Work with them individually to add checklists to each item for tangible steps they can take to reach those goals, then meet with them every month or every quarter to check on progress and offer ways to help and guide them to reaching those goals.

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Ready To Be More Engaging?

Boosting employee engagement doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be as simple as employing a few practices to show your employees you care, they matter, and what their future could look like. By introducing some of these new Trello boards on your team, you can put tangible practices in place to help employees become more engaged. 

Good or bad, we’d love to hear your thoughts. Find us on Twitter (@trello)!

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