What is employee engagement and how does it work for you?
Published on January 1st, 2023
How do you characterize a workplace?
Is it simply the machinery and equipment that make a workplace a ‘place of work’?
...Or is it the luxury amenities, such as the espresso machine in the cafeteria or the lounge room sofa, that make for an 'excellent' work environment?
The answer is neither. An organization runs on human capital, commonly referred to as employees. In any organization, no matter how large or small, Employees work as the fuel that propels a business ahead. Employees help determine the quality of a workplace and the organization's future.
The more engaged an employee is in the organization, the more productive they will be in the workforce, have higher motivation to work and are more likely to stay with the company for a longer time. Employees that are committed to their jobs display a strong dedication to their employers, which is generally reflected in corporate success and employee engagement.
'What is the meaning of employee engagement?'
The Harvard Business Review defines employee engagement as 'employees' desire to come to work, understand their job, and understand how their effort contributes to the organization's success'.
Employee engagement refers to a worker's interest and dedication to their job. Employees who are passionate about their jobs are more productive and less likely to leave for a better opportunity. The key to enhancing engagement is to take care of your workers' needs, which includes offering better opportunities for growth and development, creating clear goals, and allowing them to have freedom over their work.
'What is the significance of employee engagement?'
How engaged an employee feels in a firm is related to their involvement in their position and how they connect with the firm as a whole. Aside from contributing to the culture of your company, engaged workers contribute to increased profitability and productivity, better customer service and team cooperation, and an increase in retention and recruiting for the company.
According to a Gallup survey conducted in 2017, only 15% of the world's one billion workers showed any kind of work engagement. That still leaves 67% of the working population on the not-engaged side of the graph. A decreased engagement often results in lower production and, as a result, slow economic growth.
Employees that are engaged believe in what they are doing and whom they work for, therefore they always act in ways that are beneficial for their businesses.
So, how does that affect things? Employee happiness and overall corporate performance will benefit greatly.
If a person is proud of their work and the firm they represent, they will do well on any measure of engagement. Take those feelings of pride and commitment and distribute them throughout the firm. As the workforce becomes more engaged, improvements in performance and productivity will multiply, having a measurable beneficial influence on company profits.
An organization that supports and encourages employee engagement will do better in the long run. However, this is only one motivation to cultivate engaged employees.
Let's look at some of the reasons why employee engagement has become such an important tool for the organization:
1. Employee engagement creates a sense of loyalty
Investing more time in employee engagement can help the employee stay longer. This increases employee retention and reduces employee turnover expenses.
Employees who are disengaged and disinterested may leave easily and frequently. Even if your employees aren't seeking a new job, that doesn't always mean that they won't take a better offer.
They will be more invested and dedicated to staying if they are passionate about their work, team members, and the firm.
2. Employee engagement increases employee satisfaction and happiness
Employees must be satisfied with their work or else their interest and enthusiasm will wane soon enough. Employees that are highly engaged are satisfied with their efforts and effect. They have a connection between their work and the company for which they work. This leads to increased happiness, which benefits business morale, productivity, and so on.
3. Employee engagement creates better customer service
At some point in time, we've all had a negative experience with a customer support representative that ended with an exchange of harsh words and the phone hung up in frustration. In such a case, you are already aware of how employee engagement affects the service experience. Unpleasant circumstances like this one are the direct outcome of policies that put numbers before people, generating incentives for staff to focus on getting callers off the phone rather than providing satisfaction.
Good customer service and customer satisfaction are critical components of any successful organization. After all, most businesses rely on acquiring and retaining consumers.
Employee engagement increases the customer service people experience from your firm, which is beneficial for retaining customers and customer recommendations.
When staff are happy and engaged, they are more likely to care about the customers and go the extra mile to ensure that consumers and clients have a positive experience.
4. Employee engagement creates better workplace culture and improves employee well-being
Engaged employees equal happy employees. Companies that understand the motivating factors invest extensively in employee recognition, career advancement, valuable and frequent feedback, training for diversity and inclusion programs, employee well-being, and other activities that people care about.
As a result, these organizations tend to have people that naturally focus on building a positive workplace culture and a healthy work environment.
A better workplace culture offers numerous advantages, and every firm seeks to create a work environment that an employee wants to be a part of willingly.
5. Employee engagement leads to a lower employee turnover rate and a decrease in absenteeism
If you are a hiring professional, you might be well aware of the year of ‘great resignation’ between 2020 and 2021. A surge of workers was resigning from their positions, all in search of a job that they felt was more meaningful and aligned with their values. Organizations that connect their basic corporate principles with their employees' views receive one of the most significant benefits of great employee engagement: high employee turnover.
Furthermore, frequent absenteeism is one of the earliest indications of decreasing employee engagement. If you start to observe more and more of your staff is missing work, this could indicate burnout and low interest.
What are the strategies to increase employee engagement in the workplace?
Maintaining employee engagement in a big organization, with so many working employees, can at first seem like a daunting task. However, with a few successive methods and the proper measures, even this task is easy to accomplish.
Strategies for better employee engagement in an organization
- Conducting surveys on employee engagement: Before you can concentrate on enhancing employee engagement, you must first establish a strong baseline. This is where an employee engagement survey can be helpful. Use questionnaires and surveys to allow your staff to share their thoughts and concerns. A survey could be the most effective technique to boost your employee engagement strategy. The more you ask for their feedback, the more they will feel valued, connected, and respected. They will feel like they are a vital part of the organization and that their opinions and voice matter just as much.
- Communication is the key to employee engagement: The first criterion for promoting employee engagement is to keep your employees well informed. Organizations that are secretive and only disclose information on a "need-to-know" basis will most certainly have lower employee engagement rates. When employees understand how corporate decisions will affect the workplace or how they should handle circumstances, they begin to gain trust
But simply spreading information is not sufficient, communication should operate in two ways —employees should be encouraged to communicate their problems so that they do not feel they're neglected or undervalued.
- Providing incentives and perks to keep employees motivated and engaged: You don't want your staff to show up every day and accomplish only the bare minimum; you want them to go above and beyond. That means you should do the same. Employee incentives like wellness checkups, training programs, membership discounts and gift coupons will make them believe that their employers care about both their professional and personal success.
Consider your workplace facilities as well, as well as what your employees want and desire during their job. Coffee, refreshments, and even allowing pets on the premises every once in a while, will make their 9-to-5 more bearable.
- Employee engagement through Recognizing a job well done: When an employee feels like he/she might not be getting enough recognition for the effort they're putting into their work, they might lose their motivation and start lacking in their work behavior. As a result, developing a recognition-rich environment in which good performance is acknowledged with benefits and incentives is essential. A few encouraging words and a certificate of recognition can go a long way toward making others feel valued for their efforts.
It is important to note that all forms of acknowledgement should be consistent with the organization's goals. After all, it is about directing human resources in the proper path.
- Creating a sense of purpose for the employee: Employees are not machines; they don’t work on fuel and data input; they are human beings. Unfortunately, many organizations that view workers as a commodity that can be purchased at a set price have not given any care to understanding the actual value of human capital. Your employees are not just another element of production; they are the potential advocates of your company's beliefs and ideals.
Although a nice salary is important and a great motivation to work, when an employee has an emotional connection to your business, they will be able to give a larger personal commitment and do considerably more.
One method to accomplish this is to communicate to your staff the significance of their contributions. Simply put, corporations must begin to make their people feel valued.
Hiring competent managers is a great leap towards employee engagement.
Managers are your most important weapon for increasing employee engagement since they act as middlemen between the board members and employees. Employees seldom, if ever, contact top-level executives, but have everyday interactions with their immediate managers. The tact of the respective management determines whether employees feel safe, angry, or disregarded in an organization.
Are they able properly to manage the employees? If not, how can they improve?
While firms might opt to train their managers on how to better engage their staff, it is always preferable to recruit a good manager firsthand.
- Creating a roadmap for success: This is especially true if you recruit young millennials in your firm. Coming to work, performing an allocated task, and taking the salary home are insufficient for many millennials. At this point in their life, they are more concerned about where they will be in five or ten years, or if the company they’re working for is the right choice. There must be an assurance that there are adequate growth opportunities in the position they're given.
Another cornerstone of a successful employee engagement strategy is the development of a success roadmap. When it comes to millennial employee engagement, holding career counselling meetings from time to time or charting out a clear professional growth route might be the most beneficial step.
Great employee engagement necessitates effort. It's not something that will happen overnight. It will not yield quick effects. It takes time and work, but the benefits will come. Employee engagement strategies must be tailored to the firm’s and its workers’ needs. It is about establishing an atmosphere in which employees have plenty of space to thrive and grow. It should be a win-win situation for everyone.
Radhika Sarraf is a content specialist and a woman of many passions who currently works at HireQuotient, a leading recruitment SaaS company. She is a versatile writer with experience in creating compelling articles, blogs, social media posts, and marketing collaterals.
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