Employee engagement levels reached their all-time high of 65 percent in 2017. Organizations are finally taking into account that employee engagement is more than just a corporate buzzword.
Ken Oehler of Aon lays down the benefits of having engaged employees. He says:
Companies with above engagement levels will see better employee productivity, lower turnover rates, and higher customer satisfaction- all factors that can significantly contribute to improved financial performance.
But, how do you go about creating an environment where employees feel emotionally attached to the organization? What are the building blocks of employee engagement in an organization?
The 8 Components of Employee Engagement
Effective employee engagement builds a culture of trust, loyalty, and improved work ethics. It is defined by how actively involved an employee is to her organization’s success.
To achieve high levels of engagement in your organization, you can follow these eight key components of employee engagement-
To make employees feel like a part of the organization, you need to give them the space to formulate their ideas and make their own decisions. This will only happen when they can interact freely with their peers as well as leaders. Robust communication gives employees the sense of being in a community, and this interaction provides meaning to their work. It also builds trust and strengthens work relationships among workers and especially with leaders.
HOW TO DO IT
A widely-used way to encourage employees to communicate freely with leaders is the open-door policy. This shows that you, their leader, are always available and open to listen to their ideas and concerns.
Figure out the difference between talking to them and listening to them. Keep a healthy balance of the two, not make decisions and give opinions based on the limited information you receive.
Encouraging peer-to-peer communication is another way to improve employee engagement. Team projects, working with diverse sets of employees, helps resolve miscommunication and builds trust among peers. It also improves internal communication.
Be A Leader
Research by Gallup shows that managers account for 70 percent of the difference in employee engagement scores. So, business leaders play a huge role in making employees feel inclusive and loyal to their organization.
HOW TO BE A GOOD LEADER
A leader should be able to communicate well and communicate often. Employees should feel free to voice their opinions or question their leaders. A Survey by OfficeTeam found that out of 2800 employees, 37% see their bosses as mentors and 34% consider their boss a friend.
Being responsible and taking accountability for their actions is another trait good leaders possess. A good leader tries to get to the bottom of why something isn’t working out and tries to find the solution. As a result, team members start mirroring these traits, which leads to greater accountability.
Most importantly, a good leader knows how to motivate. Keeping employees motivated for a long time is hard. Gamifying incentives, supporting their ideas, providing work-life balance are effective ways to motivate employees.
All employees desire to feel valued and appreciated. When you recognize employees for their efforts, they’ll feel motivated to work harder and achieve their goals. Recognition refers to the acknowledgement of an individual’s behavior, hard work and accomplishments, supporting the organization’s goals and values.
HOW TO RECOGNIZE EMPLOYEES
Because every company has a different culture, it is essential to develop a culture-specific recognition program that matches your organization’s culture, values and beliefs.
It is of utmost importance that you recognize both individuals as well as teams. Sometimes, an individual’s achievements might get overshadowed by a team. You must acknowledge the importance of every individual.
Encourage a culture of peer-to-peer recognition. When peers recognize each other, it helps build cooperation and teamwork among employees. Moreover, employees who don’t work directly with each other come to know about their achievements and feats.
A practical method of recognizing employees is to practice year-round recognition and not just once or twice a year.
Our organization has a social platform that enables leaders and peers to recognize and appreciate great work instantly. Whenever someone gets recognized, it shows on our social feed.
Provide Workplace Wellness
Since employees spend the majority of their day at their job, it so happens that their health and well being is affected by the huge amount of stress and fatigue they undergo. Physical as well as mental illnesses are unavoidable. Employees suffer from stress, anxiety, depression, backaches, muscle pain, and so on. Therefore, it is the organization’s responsibility to provide a healthcare system that looks into an employee's complete well-being.
HOW TO ENSURE WELLNESS
Companies have now taken the help of technology to make fitness and wellbeing fun and interesting. Wellness initiatives in the form of fitness apps have made tracking physical and mental fatigue easier. Jogging apps, heart rate counters, calorie counters, etc., have helped individuals quantify and analyze their health conditions.
Employees achieve more when working together. Either together in teams or even when competing. Thus, having a community-driven approach can help employees take up fitness faster. Team activities and group events motivate employees to take up fitness challenges and complete them.
A very effective way to make employees take up fitness challenges is by incentivizing those challenges. When you reward employees for every task completed, they feel better about fulfilling those tasks and, feel motivated to do more challenging activities.
Personal And Professional Development
A study by Randstad found that 30 percent of employees leave their jobs due to a lack of challenging work. When employees feel that the expectations with which they joined an organization aren’t being fulfilled, they leave. Moreover, new-age employees will only do work that enables them to enjoy life as much as work. Thus, it becomes crucial for them to work at places which will advance their personal and professional career.
HOW TO ADVANCE THEIR CAREER
- Well-defined and clear-cut roles and responsibilities will help employees understand their work easily, enabling them to perform and produce more.
- Conducting training programs and enabling them with adequate skills to fulfill their tasks will help them advance their professional career.
- Encourage passion projects in your organization. This means giving your employees the time and opportunities to pursue things they’re passionate about- for instance, music clubs, drama clubs, and so on.
Roles and Responsibilities
This is an essential feature of well-defined orientation and onboarding programs. When you pre-define responsibilities clearly and concisely, there’s no room for misunderstandings and confusion. Employees can understand their daily duties and how they can become contributing members to the company.
HOW TO DEFINE ROLES
- Having detailed job description manuals highlighting their day-to-day responsibilities and how they can achieve them. It will also include the skills and the educational qualifications they need to possess for the role.
- Having great onboarding programs is another way to go about it. Onboarding programs will help them familiarise with the company’s culture, allot them to their teams, assign them mentors who will guide them.
- To define roles, you first need to set every employee’s goals and objectives that need to be fulfilled. Goals make it easier to lay down the work that needs to be done and divide who needs to do which tasks exactly.
Practice Feedback And Evaluation
Feedback is one of the critical components of employee engagement. Studies say that 43 percent of highly engaged employees receive feedback at least once a week! Feedback and evaluation improve performance and, therefore, productivity. And they don’t want you to praise them. They want you to break down their actions and suggest to them where they can improve.
HOW TO DO IT
- To start with, be proactive with your feedback. Don’t wait for bi-annual or year-end reviews. When you provide your employees with regular feedback, it shows that you notice what they’re doing and that you care. It also makes room for discussion, guidance for where they can improve, and better communication.
- Be very specific with your evaluation. Don’t be vague or beat around the bush. Tell them precisely where they can improve and the exact situation which has made you arrive at a particular conclusion. This can be both positive and negative, but but you must explain your evaluation clearly.
- Personalize your feedback for every employee. Not everyone is the same and will have different methods to understand what you’re saying. In fact, 70 percent of Gen Y wants strength-based feedback. But, 50 percent of older employees think constructive criticism works for them.
- Use employee surveys to find the pulse of the workforce and gauge their engagement levels. This will help take concrete steps to identify and solve issues.
Workplaces are evolving as organizations move towards personalized spaces and the emergence of various working styles like gig workers and remote workers. Open working spaces and standing desks have replaced traditional workplaces with wooden cubicles and white-washed walls. Workplace designs improve employee productivity, reduce stress, and enable employees to work harder.
HOW TO DO IT
- Help employees to personalize their workstations. Adjust their workstation as per their preference. This can mean bean bags for some or high bar stools for others. Other adjustments can be made with the type of chair, picture frames, personalized coffee mugs, and so on.
- New workplaces are all about breaking traditions. You can conduct meetings outside board rooms and conference halls. Meetings outside such rooms can help employees to take the edge off and converse much more freely with you.
- Another technical aspect that employees are now looking into is actually quite non-technical. Companies are now designing spaces that let the natural sunlight come in during the mornings. Natural light helps employees relax and not feel congested. Also, painting the walls with warm colors and putting plants around the organization is another new thing taken up by companies.