It is quite well-known that organizations with highly engaged employees outperform those with disengaged employees. So, most companies strive to actively engage their employees and ensure their loyalty and dedication.
However, studies show that many employees are still disengaged or apathetic. Employer-employee relationships have also undergone major changes since freelancing, transient workers, and remote work have increased. This has caused less loyalty and commitment, low productivity, and high attrition.
Fundamentals of Employee Engagement
Engagement is an inherent attitude that defines employee commitment towards jobs and the relationship between employees and employers. To improve employee engagement in your organization, you should start with its fundamentals, which are based on some basic human needs.
The fundamentals are highly subjective and quite often have nothing to do with salary or incentives. In 1990, Professor William Kahn found that employees feel engaged if they feel secure, self-confident, respected, valued, and trusted. They also need to feel that their work is meaningful and makes a difference.
Importance of Employee Engagement
Engaged employees are fully committed and enthusiastic about their work. They take initiatives to improve your organization’s standing and interests. They are also more likely to stay with the organization.
If you are able to engage your employees, your organization will enjoy higher employee retention and morale. It will also experience increased productivity, profitability, and growth. When you have satisfied, autonomous, productive employees who enjoy their work, they will provide better service to customers. This concept is known as the service-profit chain.
Ensuring Employee Engagement
There are two important aspects to ensuring employee engagement—understanding employee needs and efficient implementation of engagement measures.
Gauging employee needs: If you don’t have any employee engagement strategies yet, first conduct a clear and relevant employee engagement survey that will provide you with information as to what your employees want. Analyze the data carefully and base your actions on the findings.
Even if you already have great employee engagement strategies, you should conduct such surveys periodically. Every employee is unique and has different needs. Regular checks and adjustments will ensure that they are happy, satisfied, and excited.
Implementing engagement strategies: There is no general consensus on who should implement employee engagement strategies. Different functions—HR, communications, C-suite, and IT—either work solo or in tandem to ensure employee engagement.
Ideally, all these teams should work together. HR and communications should come up with innovative ideas, support new initiatives, and handle administrative tasks related to employee engagement. The C-suite should choose viable ideas and set an example by using them. The IT department should help choose employee engagement software that best suit your requirements.
Also, managers play a significant role in employee engagement. You should train and empower them so that they exert a positive influence on employee engagement rates.
Five Employee Engagement Strategies
Ideally, you should find great employees and keep them engaged throughout their tenure at your organization. The following are five employee engagement strategies that will help you do so.
Create an Employee-Friendly Workplace
Learning what motivates people, what drives them, and how this reflects in their work will help you to create a great work environment.
- Give great attention to your recruitment process. Ask questions that gauge candidates’ cultural fit. If possible, check samples of their work or give them take-home assignments.
- Institute uniform, competitive compensation.
- Provide onboarding and training.
- Match employee roles and responsibilities with skills, knowledge and experience.
- Define clear deliverables and performance metrics.
- Help employees feel that they belong and are empowered by providing the right information, processes, and tools.
- Train managers to be sensitive to employee issues.
- Develop a unique work culture that manifests itself in work ethics, quality standards, employee benefits, customer care, and community service.
Connect Employee Value to Organizational Purpose
Employees need to be able to align their goals with your company’s objectives. You should help them understand the career path your company offers them and how they fit in with its success.
People need to believe that what they do is meaningful. Communicate your vision and mission so that your employees have a sense of purpose. There are many creative ways, such as sharing stories, having one-to-one conversations, and using multimedia, to do so.
Employees, especially millennials, look to contribute not just to the organization they work for, but also for the greater good of the society. As more such people become managers and leaders, meaningful work will gain more prominence in employee engagement.
Invest in Employee Development
You have to invest in employee development to strengthen teams, avoid skills shortage, stay up to date with industry trends, attract the best talent, and guarantee your company’s success. The following are some ways to do so.
- Understand employee learning styles and preferences so as to provide them effective, tailor-made training initiatives.
- Promote skill-specific certifications.
- Organize seminars and workshops that help employees upskill themselves.
- Ensure that employees are fit and well-rested to avoid burnout.
- Encourage employees to take short breaks or pursue personal hobbies.
- Arrange games, quizzes, and other such stimulating exercises to increase agility.
Recognize Outstanding Performances
Recognizing performance is a low-cost employee engagement strategy. You can recognize employees in the following ways.
- Create an employee-led group to decide on criteria for good work and on deserving candidates.
- Acknowledge great performances by publicizing them in newsletters, social media channels, etc.
- Celebrate professional accomplishments and personal milestones.
- Establish a robust, fair, realistic recognition and incentive system.
- Implement low-cost, fun incentive ideas, such as extra lunchtime, leaving early on Fridays, and free refreshments.
- Use technology, such as custom recognition programs, to boost your efforts.
Seek Feedback on Your Employee Engagement Efforts
You need to review your employee engagement efforts to know if they are working. To do so, provide your employees with enough channels to raise concerns and give feedback. Apart from this, establish two-way communication with them. Be transparent and open-minded in resolving issues based on their feedback.
Your organization will thrive only if all employees feel as though they belong and are appreciated. Employee recognition program providers, such as CoreCentive, can help make employee recognition and thereby employee engagement an integral part of your overall business strategy. An engaged workforce is a priceless asset because the more engaged your employees are, the more productive they will be.