When employees feel involved and passionate about their jobs, they usually do better work. But presently, many don’t feel that way. Some ways businesses can improve employee engagement is through clear communication, recognizing employees' good work, balancing work and life activities, and running surveys to see how everyone is feeling. Good employee engagement helps businesses do well.
In today’s competitive business environment, the pressure to "do more with less" is mounting, and it's taking a toll on employee morale.
Many employees are feeling disengaged and unmotivated.
For instance, one study estimates that a staggering 55% of employees are planning to look for a new job in the next 12 months.
To avoid this incoming wave of employee turnover, companies must prioritize employee engagement now more than ever.
The evidence is clear.
They are productive, innovative, safe, and are more likely to stay with the company for the long term.
In addition to these tangible benefits, there are several intangible benefits, such as a positive work culture, increased morale, improved retention, and a stronger brand reputation.
These benefits make employee engagement an essential part of a company’s success.
Understanding what engagement is all about—and why it matters—is more important than ever now.
What is Employee Engagement?
Employee engagement is the level of commitment and enthusiasm that employees have towards their work. It's about feeling connected to the company, its mission, and its goals while making employees happy and productive at the same time. It aims to balance the needs of employees with the needs of the business. HR plays an integral role in cultivating an environment that allows employees to feel valued, motivated, and determined to give their best. This is because employee engagement is all about creating a workplace where employees feel connected to their work, their colleagues, and the company as a whole.
As an employer, the goal is to implement a series of strategies to engage your employees. This will help to create a positive employee experience and an environment where employees feel connected to the business and motivated to contribute to your goals. And this is what we will look at shortly.
But first, let’s take a look at why employee engagement is so important.
Why is employee engagement important?
Employees who are highly engaged are emotionally committed to the organization and motivated to do their best to help the company succeed. They are loyal members of staff who are invested in their work in the success of the business as a whole. As a result, they are more productive because they genuinely desire to do their best. They are also more goal-oriented, making them high performers.
Gallup's 2020 study found that teams with higher levels of employee engagement have lower levels of turnover and absenteeism and higher levels of organizational success. The survey also showed that businesses with high employee engagement experienced 23% higher profitability, 10% better customer loyalty and engagement, and 18% more sales productivity.
In contrast, employees who are disengaged lack any form of emotional commitment so they are more likely to underperform, make frequent mistakes, and do the bare minimum to get by. They frequently arrive late for work, have higher rates of absence, and often disrupt other members of their team.
How to improve employee engagement?
We'll get into some specific employee engagement strategies in a bit, but before that, let's talk about the overall approach to make your employees more engaged.
First, it's important to remember that employee engagement starts from the top. Leaders need to set the tone and create a culture where employees feel valued and appreciated. They also need to communicate the company's vision and goals clearly and provide regular feedback. HR also plays a big role in employee engagement.
They are responsible for designing, implementing, and managing all engagement strategies. They also need to use the right tools and software to make sure that their strategies are effective.
Now, let's talk about some specific employee engagement strategies you can use to boost engagement in your business.
How to develop an employee engagement strategy
Before you implement any specific employee engagement strategies, you need to know where you are stand today.
This means measuring your current level of engagement. You can do this by conducting an employee survey or using other metrics.
Once you know your current level of engagement, you can set goals for improvement.
These goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (S.M.A.R.T goals as we call them).
Once you have an idea of the gap that you need to bridge or a standard you need to maintain, you start implementing engagement strategies. These strategies should be tailored to your specific needs and goals.
It's important to measure your progress over time. This will help you see if your strategies are working and make adjustments as needed.
Let’s take a look at this in a bit more detail.
Measure your current engagement levels
You need to identify how engaged your workforce is right now so that you know what you need to work on to improve engagement levels. One of the most accurate and efficient tools for understanding your current level of engagement is an employee engagement survey. This is a questionnaire that helps you gauge the current levels of engagement of your workforce, and the effectiveness of your current engagement initiatives.
Establish engagement goals
After you know how engaged your employees are, set goals to improve their engagement. This will give you a plan to follow to achieve success.
- Which employee experiences have the biggest impact on engagement?
- What do you hope to achieve?
- What do you need to improve?
- Which employee engagement strategies will help you drive organizational change and create a better workplace for all?
Make sure your goals are S.M.A.R.T: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely. This will help you track your progress so that you know how well your strategies are working. That way, you can make adjustments where necessary.
Implement employee engagement strategies
Once you know what you want to achieve, you need to implement strategies to get there. These strategies should be focused on the people who work for you. They should make employees feel valued, connected, and like their work matters. By following these tips, it becomes easy to develop an effective employee engagement strategy that will help you improve your business.
Strategies for Enhancing Employee Engagement
Consistent effort from the HR department is necessary to develop effective strategies that increase employee involvement and improve morale.
Let's go through the strategies one by one:
Employees should be kept informed about the company's goals, progress, and changes.
They should be allowed to share their ideas and concerns.
- Conduct regular team meetings. This is a great opportunity to share updates on the company's progress, answer questions, and get feedback from employees.
- Implement an open-door policy. Employees feel comfortable coming to their managers with questions or concerns, even if they are not related to their work.
- Promote both upward and downward communication channels. Employees have multiple ways to communicate with their managers, such as through email, in-person meetings, or anonymous suggestion boxes.
- Create platforms for employees to share ideas and concerns. This could include a company intranet, a social media platform, or a dedicated email address.
Empowerment and Recognition
When employees feel empowered and recognized, they are more likely to be engaged in their work. They are also more likely to be motivated, productive, and creative.
- Provide professional development opportunities. This shows employees that you are investing in their growth and development.
- Praise and recognize excellent work publicly. It makes employees feel valued and appreciated.
- Foster a culture of constructive feedback and positive reinforcement. This helps employees improve their performance and feel supported.
- Celebrate milestones and achievements. This shows employees that their work is important and that you are proud of their accomplishments.
A Balanced Work-Life Integration
Employees should feel that they have a healthy balance between their work and personal lives.
They feel like they have enough time to spend with their families and friends, pursue their hobbies, and take care of their physical and mental health.
- Promote flexibility in work hours where possible. Allow employees to work from home, start and end their workdays at different times, or take breaks throughout the day.
- Encourage off-time and annual leaves. Employees need time to recharge and relax, so it is important to encourage them to take their vacation days and sick days.
- Focus on mental wellness initiatives. Provide employees with access to mental health resources, such as counseling or therapy.
- Create team-building activities and recreational programs. These activities can help employees relax and de-stress, and they can also help to build camaraderie and a sense of community.
Employee engagement isn't something that can have a ‘check', or ‘being done' status.
It's a continuous process that requires ongoing adaptation depending on the evolving workplace trends.
The central absolute is that – engaged employees are happy, productive employees.
By focusing on clear communication, employee recognition, and work-life balance, you can create a thriving work environment where all employees feel their efforts are valued over time.
When HR engages employees, it creates a sense of belonging and respect, which leads to more passion and teamwork in achieving goals.
Employee engagement is important for the smooth functioning of a company and boosting it is essential for profitability and sustainability.