Employee engagement is the extent to which individuals are personally involved in the success of a business. Interestingly enough, it does not mean employee satisfaction. Employees can be satisfied in their jobs, but still not be engaged. The fact is engaged employees are invested in their company, and they have an emotional commitment to the organization and its goals, so they will go the extra mile for their firm.
Benefits of Employee Engagement
Gallup firm research shows that 68.5% of U.S. employees are not engaged in their current roles. This lack of engagement costs U.S. companies between $450-550 billion in lost productivity a year. When employees are engaged by their work, however, there are higher levels of productivity, a boost in the company’s bottom line, better retention rates, an increased sense of health and well-being and happier customers.
It is important that businesses create the conditions to engage employees. Doing so provides valuable loyalty inspiring experiences which will in the end drive profits. The best business leaders realize that an engaged workforce can propel innovation, increase performance, and grow the organization.
9 Key Areas of an Employee Engagement Strategy
- Purpose – This is the thing that drives the firm forward. A sense of purpose is crucial to creating the emotional bond between employees and their work. With a specific mission and clear company values, employees will become engaged.
- Communication – The emotional component of communication speaks to the basic human need to feel valued. When employees receive proper, frequent and constructive communication, they feel in the loop which establishes trust. It is critical to not rely too heavily on email in communication.
- Health and wellness – A Gallup study found 62% of engaged employees felt work positively affected their physical health. Established health and wellness campaigns play a role in creating emotional connections. Again, these emotional connections engage employees.
- Workspace and environment – How companies set up employee workspaces determines the feel of the environment. With functional and inspirational workspaces, a sense of pride is created along with a desire for employees to be there. Wanting to be at work increases performance.
- Well-defined roles – Defining roles connects the company’s mission with its employees’ daily activities. Firms must show how each employee’s efforts contribute to the overall mission. This identifies how each individual employee is thus responsible for the ultimate success of the firm.
- Relationship with colleagues – Numerous studies have shown that firms where friendships are common have more engaged employees and better business. Gallup research even found that people with a self-described best friend at work are seven times more likely to be fully engaged. Relationships create another emotional connection to the firm.
- Recognition and incentives – The act of being recognized for individual efforts makes employees feel like valued team members and creates another emotional connection. Also, certain monetary incentives like profit sharing activate an emotional response with a vested interest in making a profit. Engaged employees will financially benefit from their hard work.
- Buy-in from managers – According to SHRM, employees who trust their managers appear to have more pride in their firm. They are more likely to feel that they are applying their talents for both their own success and that of the organization. Management buy-in to encourage employee engagement is a necessity which goes hand in hand with frequent communication.
- Personal growth and development – Personal growth and development is the final emotional component that will support employee engagement. Employees need to know that they can advance in their firm, and they want opportunities for education and training. Seeing how they can progress in their contribution to the firm’s mission will also help maintain engagement.
Benchmarking Employee Engagement
Having engaged employees is essential to a successful business. Creating and implementing an effective employee engagement strategy is crucial as well. What’s left to consider is how to benchmark the employee engagement. Using an employee engagement survey, firms can determine the types of activities employees want to participate in as well as their thoughts on the state of the workplace. Listening to the voices of your employees and sharing what you have learned will continue to encourage employee engagement and let your firm reap its benefits.