Employee Engagement-Everything You Need to Know
What comes to your mind when you think of the term Employee Engagement?
- Keeping employees busy in their jobs.
- Getting only the high performing candidates onboard.
- Or providing a handsome paycheck to boost your employees' commitment.
Well, if these are some of the things that you imagine it to be, then it's about time we change your perception.
While developing human resource management, managers tend to ignore employee engagement. This happens mainly because they are not aware of its importance and benefits.
Or also because they aren’t aware of the means to implement this culture in their organization.
As a result, organizations do not install it in a professional manner. This harms both the organization and its employees. If your workers aren’t emotionally attached to their jobs or are satisfied, then it’s clearly visible in the company’s overall performance.
What about the other 85%?
What are the reasons that this large section of the workforce is not engaged in their work? And what can you do as a Human Resource manager to change this alarming situation?
Here to make things easier for you, I have listed down some of the essential key points.
So, let’s first start with
What is Employee Engagement?
Employee engagement isn’t about keeping your employees busy or engaged in their work. And, also it is definitely above keeping them fascinated and delighted in the workplace
So, what does it mean?
Business Dictionary defines Employee Engagement as the
“Emotional connection an employee feels towards his or her organization, which tends to influence his or her behaviors and level of effort in work-related activities.”
It is an approach to creating a workplace environment where employees care for what they do.
In other words, the employees “feel engaged".
Here the term “engaged” has a philosophical approach rather than a traditional or mechanical one.
And just like Steve Jobs said,”The only way to do a great job is to love what you do”.
It means a situation where the employees identify themselves with their work. They are enthusiastic and passionate about whatever they do. They feel a sense of gratification while and after ‘engaging’ in that work.
Employee Engagement, thus, is about-
How bound are the employees to their work and their co-workers?
How well are the employees communicating and treating each other?
- How can you boost your employees' emotional commitment towards their work?
The Emotional Aspect of Employee Engagement
When people are financially invested, they want a return. When people are emotionally invested, they want to contribute - Simon Sinek
To perform a task in an effective manner, a little slice of emotional attachment is necessary.
There has been a change in how employees define happiness nowadays. Earlier, spending time with family and pursuing hobbies were the sources of happiness. But with work life being a major part of our lifestyle, happiness at work is what now everyone seeks. That is why employee engagement remains to be so much more than just a corporate buzzword.
Building an emotional commitment within the workforce for their organization and its goals is the main objective of employee engagement.
Each employee is different with variations in beliefs, values, and necessities. While bonus can be a driving factor for one, it may not be so for another employee.
Developing a sense of commitment within the employees towards their organization is fundamental. But it has always been a challenging task for the human resource managers to develop this.
Of course, developing such an emotion takes time and effort. And for this, the HR department should be aware of the employees’ needs.
So, how can you do it in an effective manner?
By implementing various employee engagement strategies to address your employees’ needs and aspirations.
You can begin this by conducting simple employee surveys within your organisation asking:
- If the employees' are liking the work environment?
- If they would like to have anything apart from the basic amenities in the office?
- Do they feel motivated by their HR's approach towards them?
- Are the current incentives which are being provided keeping them happy?
- What is the level of employee satisfaction in your company?
The answers to these may vary from employee to employee but it'll at least give you an idea about what they think.
The Four Levels of Employee Engagement
Here's an infographic showing the four levels of employee engagement as identified by Effectory.
The Role of Managers in Engaging Workers
Managers play an important role in increasing employee engagement levels at their workplace.
It is the managers who are at the forefront of every employee-related matter. And as such, the task of ensuring a healthy and engaged workforce also lies in their shoulders.
However, considering this task to be an easy one would be a huge mistake. Making sure that every employee is engaged and satisfied is quite difficult.
Engaging workers in your organization is all about making them feel valued for their contributions. This way the employees feel attached to their organization and its goals.
To achieve this, the managers must give equal importance to every worker and appreciate them for their efforts from time to time. Because highly engaged employees perform much better than their counterparts.
The Consequences of Employee Disengagement
Employee’s are a company’s greatest asset. And it is the engaged employees who turn the wheel of success for their organisation. However, in case of a disengaged workforce, the organisations have to incur a huge cost. And these costs can be divided into two categories.
Studies by SHRM show that every time an organization replaces an employee, it has to incur 6-9 months’ salary on average. Organisations take an average of 51 days to recruit someone new. The time and resources dedicated by an organization during that time are expensive.
Also, each disengaged employee costs an organization 34% of their salary due to low productivity and reluctance to do work.
But monetary expenses are not all that an organization has to incur.
When a star employee leaves, he takes away with him the skills and knowledge required to do a work. This creates a huge knowledge gap. Filling this gap by training new employees again costs time and money.
Other problems include decreased morale and productivity in the existing employees.
Thus, you CANNOT afford to ignore employee engagement.
6 Prime Benefits of Employee Engagement
The benefits of keeping your employees engaged are immense. Here's why you need to incorporate this into your work culture.
1. Increased Productivity
There’s no doubt that engaged workers are the best performers. They are creative and put in discretionary effort everytime they do something. They work hard and scale the extra mile to fulfill their responsibilities. Higher productivity directly results in a positive business outcome.
A poll by Gallup says engaged employees are 17% more productive.
2. Higher Retention
A 2017 report by Gallup shows that 51% of workers are planning to leave their current jobs. This is due to lack of appreciation and recognition. Employees rarely leave a company when they feel appreciated for their work.
3. Rise in Profitability
Due to increased productivity and efficiency, the profitability of a company hikes up. A study by Wyatt Watson shows that companies with engaged employees produce 26% higher revenue per employee. Increase in engagement results in an overall increase in the company’s performance.
4. Decrease in Absenteeism
When people don’t come to work, it impacts productivity and performance. Absenteeism can delay projects, damage customer satisfaction, and workplace relationships. But passionate and enthusiastic employees rarely want to miss their work. They enjoy their work and get the work done in the most efficient manner.
5. Enhanced Customer Satisfaction
There are lots of case studies which prove that engaged employees affect a company’s bottom line. There is a direct relationship between employees and the customers. When employees are happy, they treat customers well which results in happy customers. And happy customers are the key to a higher revenue and profit generation.
6. Improves Employee Satisfaction
Employee satisfaction is very important for any organization to thrive.
When your employees realize how important their work is they feel good. Further, appreciating them every time they do great work lifts their morale. Satisfied employees then resonate the same good feeling when they interact with customers. Thus, positively affecting your customer experience as well.
So, managers must make it a point to make an employee's experience at work fulfilling.
7 Key Factors to Drive Employee Engagement the Right Way
Increase in job opportunities also increases the chances for employees to switch jobs. Skilled and experienced employees don't mind switching jobs if their efforts go unnoticed.
Makes sense, doesn’t it?
Who would like to work at a place where there is no one to appreciate or motivate them?
1. Decentralised Power System
Employees should always feel comfortable when they approach management with their issues & ideas. Distribution of power should be fair and equal so employees can make their own choices. This will lead to the generation of new and creative ideas.
2. Freedom of Opinions
Employees having the freedom to share their opinions and ideas are more productive. You should encourage your employees to express their views, opinions, and ideas. Also, conducting regular one on one meetings with your workers is another great way to hear them out. Remember, knowing your workforce will help you drive employee engagement the right way.
3. Involvement in Important Tasks
You should also involve employees in the decision making processes. Employees feel valued when you involve them in the important courses of action. As a result, they work harder for the company's growth.
4. Cooperative Workers
Communication is the key. Companies whose employees are well connected are far more successful than others. Lack of communication leads to misunderstandings and deadlines pushed.
To get to know your employees, communicating outside the office is as necessary as inside. Going out with an employee or group of employees for dinner is a great idea.
Such activities create a new avenue for brainstorming ideas, resulting in more efficiency. Also, the rise in interpersonal communication help boost an employees' confidence level.
5. Acknowledging Employees
Employees get utmost satisfaction when they know their worth.
They feel a sense of gratification knowing their work has been beneficial. Therefore, you should make it a point to appreciate your employees and their work. So, no matter the amount of contribution, always recognize your employees.
Unrecognized contribution hampers both the enthusiasm and passion to work for an organisation. Even a simple ‘Thank you’ goes a long way when trying to encourage and motivate your employees.
6. Growth & Development
An employee aspires to learn and grow at his or her workplace. It is a quintessential element which every job seeker looks forward to while joining an organization. But failing to provide the scope for growth and development leads to dissatisfaction.
Hence, as a manager you must always encourage healthy competition within the workplace. As well as, reward the best performers in order to motivate the others.
7. Change the Tediousness of Work
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
Making your employees work continuously will exhaust them. Here, the issue of employee burnout is real and you must not overlook it. An employees’ work-life balance is as important as your company’s growth.
It is when your employees feel happy that they will give their best. Hence, you should always try to create a positive work environment. Having such an environment will boost the emotional commitment the employees have towards their work.
At the same time, you should encourage healthy competition within the employees to keep up their morale.
Employee engagement is a two-way process. It is all about how you treat and interact with your employees. And only the manager can bridge the gap between employee engagement and disengagement.
There’s no doubt that it’s a tough job. But there are many ways to achieve this.
Having an employee engagement platform can be a great move too. Such a platform helps the employer achieve three key points -
- Retaining skilled and experienced employees.
- Engaging the current workforce for better efficiency.
- Attracting the best talents to work for the organization.
So, it's very important for employers to understand the concept of Employee Engagement. Because having an engaged workforce is a crucial factor for ensuring good growth and stability.
Do let us know your views, we would love to hear them from you in the comments below.
A complete guide to employee engagement