What is Employee Engagement?
Without a doubt, employees are the heart and soul of a company. If your employees are enthusiastic and engaged at work, your organization is more likely to thrive. When employees feel connected to their organization, they tend to work harder, stay long-term, and motivate others to do the same. This means putting in the effort to keep your employers engaged is a win-win situation and worth the time and energy.
Research showed 92% of business leaders believe that engaged employees perform better, boost the success of their teams, and the positive outcomes of their organizations. But, unfortunately, only about 35% of employees in the U.S. are engaged in their jobs, making an effective employee engagement strategy a necessity.
If your employees don’t feel valued, they’ll eventually lose interest and start putting in less effort. It’s key that you understand employee engagement to retain and motivate your staff. Employee engagement isn’t a quick fix. It takes continuous effort and a little creativity to have a culture of employee engagement.
You may be wondering what it will take to engage your employees and where do you start? Let’s start with the basics.
Employee Engagement vs. Employee Satisfaction and Happiness
Employee Engagement involves the relationship between an organization and its employees. It’s the emotional connection employees feel toward the work they do and their organization. To be clear, it does not mean employee satisfaction or happiness. An employee might be happy at work, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are working hard on behalf of the organization.
Employee satisfaction only indicates how content your employees are. It does not show their level of motivation, involvement, or emotional commitment towards your organization.
It’s sad but true for some employees; being satisfied simply means collecting a paycheck while doing as little work as possible. Unfortunately, if your organization just puts focus on improving employee satisfaction, the effort won’t always lead to increased performance.
Importance of Employee Engagement
Employee engagement directly affects the success of your business, so it should be high up on the priority list. Engaged workers perform better and are proactive, and go above and beyond what is expected of them – meaning you won’t have a bunch of slackers in the office doing the bare minimum every day.
In addition, engaged employees make it a point to show up to work and ready to put in some elbow grease to get the necessary duties done.
Highly engaged business teams:
- Show 22% greater profitability.
- Achieve 59% less turnover
- Have a 17% increase in productivity.
- Have a 41% reduction in absenteeism
However, if your employees are, they’ll likely negatively impact others. In fact, disengaged employees have proven to be extremely costly too, costing employers $500 billion every year.
Businesses with highly engaged employees achieve 24% less turnover. Keep in mind employee engagement also has an impact on your customers. Engaged employees have a greater commitment to quality and improving customer relationships for organic growth. Businesses with highly engaged employees achieve a 10% increase in positive customer ratings and a 20% increase in sales.
Top drivers of employee engagement:
- Opinions are validated
- Senior leaders demonstrate integrity
- Believe the organization and its future success
- Ability to utilize strengths
- The sense that senior leaders value their employees
- Duties are interesting and challenging
- Recognition for a job well done
- Potential for professional growth and career advancement
- Trust in senior leaders
- Trained properly and access to the right tools to get the job done
Measuring Employee Engagement
The best way to know if your employees are truly engaged is to measure it. Engagement surveys need to be statistically validated and benchmarked against other organizations to get useful results. Without these things, you won’t know whether the results are good or bad.
Engagement can be measured with short surveys containing just a few questions, but these short surveys will only indicate whether your employees are engaged. You won’t get the answers to why your employees are engaged or disengaged.
To get all the answers, you need to make real improvements. Your survey needs to include 50+ questions covering a complete range of relevant topics. To get the most out of the surveys, you should include open-ended questions to understand potential engagement problems further.
When you get enough feedback, you can develop activities, training programs, strategies, and other initiatives to increase levels of engagement.
Create an Action Plan
Once you review your employee engagement survey results, the next step is to create an action plan. Here are five steps to follow when creating an effective strategy:
1. Analyze Results
Take some time to really dig through the results so you get a good idea of your strengths and weaknesses. Then, keep an open mind and look for any opportunities for improvement.
2. Choose Areas of Focus
You may find several areas that could use improvement, but it’s best to initially decide on a few key areas to focus on as a starting point to avoid getting overwhelmed.
You could choose the areas based on the level of impact it has and how much effort it will take to make a difference
3. Strategize Solutions
The next step is to create solutions. It’s best to get your management team together to brainstorm because two brains are always better than one. Discuss the data received, identify any challenges, and come up with solutions.
4. Take Action
Once your team settled on solutions, it’s time to put the plan into action. Your plan should include commitments, timelines, and goals to ensure it doesn’t get put on the back burner.
5. Track Your Progress
The work isn’t done once your action plan is complete. So be sure to follow up on the progress. You could do this by sending out another survey to get feedback in a new unit of time to ensure the steps taken are working. You could then start a new action plan to address other areas.
Improving Employee Engagement
True employee engagement requires a deeper connection between the company and the employee’s goals, values, interests, and motivations.
Unfortunately, the solutions are not one size fits all, so you will need to figure out what works for your organization and staff.
However, here are a few of the best practices to improve customer engagement:
The truth is employee engagement starts with management. When leaders lead by example and model the behaviors and practices they want to see from their employees, the rest are more likely to follow suit.
When employees feel their manager is invested in their success, they are more likely to work to achieve it. Therefore, management should make their employees feel valued and an important part of the team.
Employees should feel their manager is transparent and gives clear direction to help them do their best work and open to hearing their ideas.
Great professional relationships among team members and management is a proven way to improve engagement. When employees are friendly and comfortable with their co-workers and leaders, they are typically personally invested in the work and more likely to be engaged.
Plus, when teams work together seamlessly, everyone benefits, including the organization, with a happier workplace and better performance.
Increasing engagement sometimes is as simple as giving recognition for great work. This acknowledgment could be easy informal praise verbally or in an email. Or for stellar work, you could give a bigger recognition in an organizational or departmental meeting in front of their peers.
Employee recognition helps employees feel good about their work and encourages them to keep it up.
Communication Is Key
Frequent conversations as a team and one-on-one are excellent opportunities to learn about what drives and motivates employees. In addition, it’s a great time for leaders to learn about potential problems and quickly identify solutions before it worsens and affects the entire organization.
These meetings are also a fantastic time to celebrate wins and give acknowledgments for achievements.
Employees are more engaged when they feel confident in their responsibilities and their ability to complete them successfully, making the proper training and tools essential.
Make certain that the provided training is clear, well-structured, and gets the appropriate time needed to ensure employees have all the information they need to perform at a high level.
Consider offering continuous learning opportunities, which is a great investment in your employees.
Strong Company Culture
Creating a strong company culture that fosters a sense of belonging will result in a more engaged and dedicated workforce.
Investing the time and effort to see how engaged your employees are and implementing solutions to fix any issues is essential for the future success of your organization. In addition, improving employee engagement means your employees will be more committed to the work they do and stand up for your company because they believe in it.
Do you need to build a stellar team of exceptional employees to take your business to the next level? Then, contact Awesome CX today, and we’ll show you the way!
Harvard Business Review Analytic Services [New Report]
This Invisible Problem Is Costing Employers $500 Billion Per Year
Employee Engagement Surveys, Employee Satisfaction Feedback and Opinion, Action Plan & Engagement Survey Results