Employee engagement is a crucially significant point in any company or business. It’s natural to see, if your employees feel a positive bond towards the organisation that they are a part of then they’re going to be more motivated in the workplace. As a result, the work they produce will be of a better standard and they’ll actively inspire their peers to perform similarly.
A pervading quality work ethic is essential to the functioning of any organisation, it’s for this reason that HR professionals tend to focus on the level of engagement that employees exhibit. Factors affected not only comprise the financial statistics of a company or business, such as profitability and turnover, but also the overall lifespan of an organisation.
It’s a given that executives want to ensure that their employees are working effectively so as to maintain a general sense of health throughout their firm. There is, however, a lot of information to consider in order to put a solid employee engagement strategy in place. This is why we’ve put together a guide of everything you need to know about employee engagement. We’ll cover:
- What is employee engagement?
- What isn’t employee engagement?
- Why is employee engagement important?
- How to measure employee engagement
- How do you improve employee engagement?
- Employee engagement ideas and best practices
- Employee engagement service
What is employee engagement?
Employee engagement can be simply defined as how emotionally committed an employee is to their role within the organisation that they work for. I.e., whether they are fully invested in helping their employer to achieve company or business goals. This is visible in how they think, feel, and act while at work alongside the connection they experience regarding their team, work, and organisation as a whole.
Employee engagement can be viewed as a spectrum ranging from highly engaged, moderately engaged, somewhat disengaged, all the way to disengaged. A fully engaged employee won’t view their job as a means to an end, this end being a monthly paycheck. Rather, their job will provide them with a feeling of personal fulfilment resulting from a genuine care for their work, coworkers, and organisation. This equally benefits the growth of both the individual and that of the company or business employing them.
On the other hand, a disengaged employee will feel entirely the opposite. They will likely hold a negative opinion of their workplace and show a disregard towards the mission and future of the organisation on a daily basis. This manifests as a reluctance to fulfil their responsibilities and a poor standard of output when they do so. It’s imperative to know how to handle such employees because they can negatively affect their peers’ productivity. Employees showing a middling level of engagement on either side will consequently produce an unremarkable output.
If you search around, you’ll find a variety of definitions for employee engagement, each ultimately expressing the same message. Some may, however, conflate worker happiness and satisfaction with the true definition.
What isn’t employee engagement?
As said, the meaning of employee engagement is often used interchangeably to express factors like an employee’s happiness, satisfaction, and wellbeing. It’s easy to see where the supposed synonymity arises here, yet there are salient distinctions nonetheless.
For instance, an employee might appear to be happy and in good spirits during their working hours but this doesn’t imply that they are engaged. Just because they like their job doesn’t go to say that they have an emotional connection and attachment to it. Personal happiness is not a good measurement for employee engagement because it isn’t a permanent state of mind and can be a result of something external from the organisation. E.g., one may feel happy due to having a rather nice breakfast before work. Of course, happiness is generally beneficial but it does not account for engagement.
Likewise, although employee satisfaction is a significant part of the engagement process, it is a part only. A feeling of satisfaction in the workplace may amount to complacency. That is, a satisfied employee might be quite content in carrying out their routine duties for the organisation that employs them, yet will not move past that. A truly engaged employee will display a keenly proactive attitude by making suggestions for company or business-wide improvement. Whereas, a completely satisfied employee will have no impetus to recommend change even if it could potentially be financially beneficial. Ask yourself, why would innovation be necessary to someone who is totally satisfied?
Again, employee wellbeing primarily relates more to the individual themselves as opposed to their engagement to their organisation. This includes aspects such as how they respond to stress and their physical, mental, and emotional soundness generally. A solid stability regarding these things is essential to proper employee engagement but it doesn’t directly address it. This is because these elements are inherently detached from the company or business and, as such, are open to outside influence for better or worse.
Why is employee engagement important?
Employee engagement is important for a number of reasons. Having employees aligned with a company’s or business’ vision has a comprehensive range of outcomes which make it plain to see why HR departments are so focused on increasing the rate of engagement. Here’s the list detailing how employee engagement leads to organisational success:
1. Increased employee performance
An engaged employee will always perform to the best of their ability. An industrious and diligent worker will strive to input a quality standard of discretionary effort in their job. This enhanced degree of productivity will, naturally, have positive outcomes not only for a company or business, but also the individual themselves. It does, after all, feel good to have a strong sense of purpose which you can maintain.
2. Higher employee retention
If an employee feels emotionally connected to their organisation then they are less likely to leave it since they won’t have a reason to look elsewhere. The reason for this is that they feel a sense of recognition for their contributions and see the opportunities for professional growth within their career. This means a reduction in employee turnover for the organisation and, thereby, a reduction in costs for recruiting and training new staff. Pertinent, given that disengaged employees can cost companies up to $550B a year, according to HR Dive.
3. Increased employee satisfaction
As previously mentioned, employee satisfaction is a vital factor of employee engagement. When employees feel that their work is appreciated and important, they consequently feel good about their employer. A little morale boost goes a long way in the workplace, and every constituent in your workforce will experience the benefits. Positivity is key to company and business longevity.
4. Increased customer satisfaction
Immediately resulting from the satisfaction of your employees is that your customers will likewise feel positive about interacting with them. Happiness is contagious. When people are happy, they communicate in a way which spreads their emotions. This is integral to making sure that your customers keep sustaining organisational revenue and profit, also further translating to customer loyalty.
5. Decreased absenteeism
If your employees are engaged and associate the workplace with a positive emotion and, therefore, care deeply about it then they’ll be dedicated to showing up every day. Even just one employee missing a single day can significantly put a halt on any projects that are underway, thus reducing overall productivity and damaging work relationships. Being aware of this, an engaged employee will be reluctant to take days off so that they can continue efficiently advancing the organisation and their career.
6. Increased revenue
It’s an evident outcome that an employee with a higher rate of productivity will increase the amount of revenue that a company or business generates. Engaged employees are likely to contribute a notable increase in profitability while narrowing the margins of absenteeism. This directly results in revenue increases and signals full-scale benefits.
How to Measure Employee Engagement
So, how do you measure the level of employee engagement within your company or business to check if there’s room for improvement? Typically, employee engagement is judged based on factors such as motivation, trust, and commitment. The only way to garner a notion of this among your workforce is to ask them yourself, in the form of an employee engagement survey.
There are three types of surveys which you can hand out to your employees:
1. Employee engagement surveys
These are labelled as such because they encompass questions which measure every aspect of an employee’s engagement at an organisational level. For instance, they ask questions which are tried and tested at determining engagement over an extended period of time and comprehensively factor in all salient performance indicators.
2. Pulse surveys
Whereas the latter focuses on results which are vastly spread out, pulse surveys pertain to real-time feedback. These surveys could prove useful in seeing how your employees are responding to particularly big changes in the company or business that may be occurring. Management changes, for instance.
3. Employee lifecycle surveys
Lifecycle surveys should be distributed to employees during key stages regarding their tenure at the organisation. This comprises surveys for those who have been recently hired (new hire survey), those who have spent a considerable amount of time at your company or business (stay survey), and those who have decided to leave (exit survey).
Each insight provided by these separate surveys is paramount to informing what necessary changes are to be made, and in what areas of your organisation. It is no use guessing at where improvements for employee engagement should happen. The value of these surveys is not to be understated, they form the basis of your strategy.
How do you improve employee engagement?
It’s important to keep in mind that there isn’t one single solution to improving employee engagement. Improving employee engagement requires that you take a strategic approach, it isn’t something that occurs overnight. You must be actively working to create an organisational environment that propagates it.
The starting point for your strategy should be understanding what your organisation’s key drivers are. These concern both the company or business itself, and the teams that operate within them. Firstly, it’s a great idea to establish a company culture, specifically a culture that prioritises the people.
Your employees should feel like a valued asset both within the workplace and without. You can do this by ensuring that they have a voice and that their opinions are valid, that you provide them with opportunities for growth, that they are of good health, and that they have a fair work-life balance. Employees can’t be expected to be engaged if they are viewed as a means for profit.
Followingly, make sure that the culture is open and welcoming to new employees so that they can settle easier and quickly feel like a member of the family. This will make the onboarding process a lot easier by sparking their enthusiasm for being there. Moreover to this point, ensure that your managers are able to behave like coaches who amiably assist anyone with an issue as opposed to reprimanding and disheartening them. This is inherent in building healthy communication habits, an integral part of a well-functioning workplace.
If you communicate clearly to your employees then they will, in turn, be more receptive to your vision for the organisation and actively work to help you achieve your goals. This becomes apparent in how feedback is handled, both that which is given to the executives and the employees working under them. You want to promote a symbiotic environment where everyone is helping each other towards a common aim; if an employee needs flexibility then encourage it, and likewise, if they are exhibiting engagement, reward them.
In essence, companies and businesses only thrive when their key drivers are understood and the work environment is built around, and actively supported by them.
Employee engagement ideas and best practices
Employee engagement isn’t something that is supported by itself when it’s put into place. Employee engagement needs to be maintained, hence, there are certain ‘practices’ that should consistently be adhered to.
As when you begin to formulate your strategy, surveys should be taken regularly to measure progress made and progress required. You should always be looking for areas where your organisation can improve, perhaps your business or company isn’t as inclusive as you once thought it to be, for example. Likewise, ensure that you reaffirm the improvements and strengths that are apparent within the workplace. If you celebrate employee engagement success then other employees are more likely to follow suit and work harder.
Following this, if your organisation has encountered success then you should involve every division within it, show them how their work has contributed to results such as financial performance and customer satisfaction. If you can visualise the impact that employees have made then they’ll feel a lot more confident about the work that they are doing and continue to be invested with the goal of attaining total engagement. Be serious about encouraging engagement and you’ll see serious results.
Employee engagement service
Thank you for taking the time to read this article, we sincerely hope it helped by informing you on everything you need to know about employee engagement. If your company or business is in need of human resource, employee benefits or payroll services then be sure to take a look at what advo can do for you. There’s an array of tools and support that we can provide. Contact us today if you have any further questions, would like a quote, or to book a demo with us.