Everyone agrees employee engagement is essential to the success of a company. But what is employee engagement? Engaged employees are present in the moment every day, focused on the task at hand as well as the company’s goals and energized to be on the job. Engaged people feel a sense of purpose larger than themselves; they feel a connection to the organization. These are the people who give their best to the job.
Why Employee Engagement Matters
Do you know what the employee engagement quotient is at your organization? It’s probably not as high as you think. Polls and surveys show anywhere from 55% to 75% of employees report feeling disengaged or unhappy at their jobs. The most optimistic studies indicate about 45% of employees are unhappy or neutral toward their job. Even a happy or satisfied worker is not necessarily an engaged worker. Since recruiting the best employees can be difficult and time consuming and training new hires can be expensive, you can’t afford to not engage your employees.
The value of employee engagement is tangible, leading to improved company metrics in profitability, productivity, customer satisfaction, innovation, health and safety, sickness and absence and turnover. Engaged employees go a step beyond what is expected of them because they identify with their company’s mission, purpose or values on a personal level. For engaged employees, business success means personal success.
Employee Engagement Ideas
Employee engagement should be part of the ethos of your organization. It should not be a one-off survey or a concept acknowledged once a year with a company picnic. Recognize that your team is made up of people who have ideas, aspirations, accomplishments and challenges. Tap into that resilient and varied resource that can help your company grow. Here are four steps for engaging employees.
- Build Good Employee Relations. Employee relations affect every aspect of your company’s culture. Good employee relations improve morale, reduce conflict and increase productivity. Open communication, career development opportunities, work/life balance and much more can build trust and respect on your team.
- Let Employees Take the Initiative. When workers get to put their own ideas into action and make their own decisions, the levels of engagement skyrocket. Give your workers the big picture and leave the details to them. Invite innovation and reward new approaches and smart risk-taking. Be sure employees know that their managers are available for guidance.
- Make Your Team Part of the Company Vision. All employees should understand the company vision and its strategic direction, as well as their individual role in reaching it. A written purpose statement intended for employees–rather than customers or shareholders–can clarify organizational aims. Ask for employee input on business planning. Be a little daring: show your staff the company financial statement and discuss it in detail.
- Hire the Right Person. A smart new hire is one of the best ways to create an engaged team. Look for new hires that are curious, flexible and interested in professional development.
Employee engagement is an organization-wide process that should be in the company’s DNA. But it only works with constant measurement of impacts and employee status.