Employee engagement has become one of the most discussed topics among managers in the modern workplace. Engaged employees bring an array of long and short term benefits to businesses of any size.
A common misconception is to relate job satisfaction to engagement. Although job satisfaction may be enough to retain employees, it does not guarantee productivity. Engaged employees are connected to their job and are willing to go above and beyond to see the organization succeed.
At the interview stage, many potential employees will be enthusiastic, and often these candidates become engaged employees once they join the company. However, years down the line it can be evident that the same employee has become disengaged. If this issue resonates with many employees, it could be costing your business money, productivity, and customer satisfaction.
Keep reading this post to learn about the benefits of engaged employees, and how to engage your employees.
Lower turnover and absenteeism
Engaged employees are mentally and emotionally dedicated to the success of the company as a whole. By valuing their work and role in the organization, it’s only natural that engaged employees will have lower rates of absenteeism and a lower turnover rate.
Employees are more likely to seek out new opportunities if they don’t feel like they have the chance to utilize all their strengths and don’t feel challenged enough in the workplace. When an employee leaves, it can take 33% of their salary to replace them. Moreover, a new employee can take up to 2 years to reach the same level of productivity as an existing member of staff. The process of recruiting is a strain on company resources, like time and money, thus, it’s clearly in the best interest of a business to retain as many employees as possible.
To address low engagement leading to a high turnover rate, it’s crucial to look at your workforce and assess the possible underlying causes; Lack of recognition for effort and achievements can leave employees feeling frustrated and undervalued. As a result, they tend to be less motivated to go the extra mile if they feel like it won’t make a difference.
Bad managers are also a common reason for employees leaving their positions. In their 2017 report, Gallup recognizes that one in two employees has left their job at some point to get away from a boss at some point in their career. It’s no surprise that disengaged managers create disengaged employees; in fact, managers account for at least 70% of the variance in employee engagement scores across business units. As a result, sometimes addressing the engagement of your employees involves taking a look at the people they report to.
Improved customer experience
Delivering a positive customer experience is vital to every business, and your employees are the ones delivering that experience. Employees want to feel valued, respected, and part of the team to feel engaged. If this is achieved, they treat customers with the same respect, creating a more satisfactory customer experience, making it more likely that they will return.
While engaged employees create satisfied customers, the opposite is also true, creating a cycle. Seeing positive customer feedback encourages employees to repeat their behavior.
An engaged employee is a productive employee; however, a productive employee is not always an engaged one.
Managers may think that employees can be forced to be productive if they are in stressful situations or under tight deadlines. However, in the long term, the opposite is actually true and this results in less engagement over time as they feel the tasks are impossible to complete, and an increased likelihood that the employee will quit. Thus, the best way to foster productivity is by focusing on growing engagement.
Making sure each employee has a manageable workload can make them feel more accomplished when finishing a task, more motivated to continue working and more engaged in the work they are doing as a result.
Having the right management
As we mentioned, good managers are crucial to employee engagement and retention. The right manager can create a sense of purpose for his or her team members, and show them that the work they do and the decisions they make have an impact on the company and the real world. When people know the work they do makes a difference, they try their best.
The right manager also builds a sense of trust within the office community so that employee value helping each other to reach a common goal above competing to outshine each other.
Employers need to assess the extent to which they are meeting the basic human needs of their employees in the workplace. If you find yourself wondering, “How can I manage my employees more effectively?”, you can start by asking yourself questions like; “Do my employees feel like they belong?” “Do they contribute sufficiently and see the impact their work has within the company?”, “Do they have the right tools and guidance to complete their jobs to the highest potential standard?”, and “Do they feel like they are respected and valued by the company?”. Through self-assessment and a self-conscious management style, managers can see vast developments in employee engagement. For more tips on how to fine-tune your management style, read our post about
How do you measure engagement?
The first step to improving engagement is to measure the current levels. The biggest challenge of measuring employee engagement stems from the lack of a standard definition. Understanding engagement requires taking into account qualitative factors like motivation to succeed and relationships with peers and managers. The best way to do this is by talking to your employees directly.
One of the easiest ways to create more engaged employees is by making them believe the company cares about their wellbeing. A disengaged employee isn’t always a bad employee. Informal one-on-one meetings with superiors where employees are free to express how they feel about their work and the environment or their personal life can help you understand what it is that may be holding an employee back from being completely engaged, and thus make it easier to find a solution.
Asking questions to understand the alignment between the goals and motivations of the company and those of the individual is another way to make sure yourself and your employees are on the same page and engaged. If an employee and the organization they work for are striving towards a common purpose, it’ll be in the best interests of the employee to achieve those goals and it’ll benefit the company as a result.
Seeing whether your employees envision a future for themselves at the company is another good way to understand how engaged an employee is with their job. An employee that sees themselves at a company long term will see opportunities to grow within the organization, whereas someone who is there because there simply isn’t any better option at the minute will be less motivated at their job, and less engaged.
The importance of company culture
A culture of employee engagement creates a workforce that is motivated, productive, and generally easy to work with. Company culture is a way to describe the personality of the company, involving aspects like the mission, ethics, office rituals, etc. Employees are much more likely to enjoy working at a company with a culture they feel like they can relate to and fit in with.
The onboarding process is a vital time to set the standards and expectations of a company. During the beginning stages of onboarding a new employee, workplace coaching can be a helpful way to engage employees from the get-go. Making this an ongoing, standard part of company culture helps employees receive continuous feedback on their work and increases morale as they’re less likely to feel overwhelmed by tasks if they know there is someone more knowledgeable they can approach in a time of need.
A company with a culture of high performance will see that this rubs off on new hires as they are introduced into a workforce, resulting in them being able to clearly understand the company norms and what is expected of them. When new hirees are well informed about the culture of the company they’re more likely to become more engaged in their role.
Ways to engage employees
At the end of the day, it can be said that employees hold the fate of a business in their hands. It’s in the best interest of employers to understand their workforce and how to cater to them in a way that will make them feel valued and thus value the company as a result.
Different employees have different sets of values. One way to identify these values is through psychometric tests. Our psychometric test can help identify what motivates each individual as well as show the best ways in which to communicate with them to get the best possible performance out of them, without overwhelming them. Moreover, it makes it easier to assign projects to people based on their strengths and weaknesses. For example, an employee with great attention to detail may be more suited to a certain task. The graph below explains in further detail how Wired2Perform optimizes human capital performance.
Giving employees personalized feedback and a safe environment for them to address any concerns or seek advice in a non-judgemental setting will serve well for engagement as your employees will feel like they are valued as much as the work they produce.
As mentioned, investing in employee engagement will lead to lower turnover, higher productivity, reduced costs, and employees who are happy with their jobs and committed to the wellbeing of the company – it’s a win-win situation.