This means that employees are emotionally attached to their organization and feel a sense of loyalty and belonging. The workers are passionate and motivated in their work. They use their passion to guide their work. Engaged employees are committed to the success of the organization and work towards goals that are in line with the organization’s mission.
The focus on employee engagement is growing worldwide. This is not only an issue for the HR team of an organization. It is a business concern that requires serious consideration. In this article, we will be discussing employee engagement, why it is important for business performance, different ways to engage employees through technology, and examples of effective employee engagement.
What Is Employee Engagement?
Employee engagement is a person’s commitment, involvement, and enthusiasm for their job and workplace. An engaged employee is someone who understands how their role contributes to the company’s overall goals and works diligently to help achieve those objectives. This text is saying that there is a difference between working hard and only working to get paid.
Engagement means that employees:
- Know what they contribute toward their team’s success.
- Work toward their company’s goals and values.
- Are connected to and supported in their role.
- Look for ways to learn and grow in their role.
Employee engagement does not simply mean that employees are satisfied with their jobs or happy at work. While employee engagement is certainly influenced by factors like company culture and leadership, motivation is what really drives it. An engaged employee is one who puts time and effort into their work in order to help their team and company succeed.
Kayla Marchetti, engagement manager for Seismic, wants new employees to feel passionate about the company’s mission, a sense of belonging, and opportunities for career growth.
When you are engaged with something, you feel like it has purpose, and you trust and feel autonomous in your actions. From the outside, it looks like a collection of behaviors and attitudes. Here are some examples to help you understand what these behaviors look like.
Employee Engagement Examples
Engagement isn’t something that can be turned on or off like a switch. There are various levels of engagement, from highly engaged to non-engaged to actively disengaged. Employees will usually fall somewhere in the middle, and their level of engagement can flux over time.
Here are a few examples of how engagement might present itself. For each example, we’ll also highlight a stat showing how many employees fall within that engagement group, as per the Gallup study we noted in the introduction:
Highly Engaged [36% of U.S. workers in 2021]
- Enthusiastic about their work
- Helps out co-workers
- Gives extra effort when needed
- Seeks out new responsibilities and learning opportunities
Non-Engaged [49% of U.S. workers in 2021]
- Relatively satisfied with their job, but not committed
- Will do what they need to, but not more
- May have a 9-to-5 attitude
- Could be at risk of accepting a new job opportunity
Disengaged [15% of U.S. workers in 2021]
- Complains to co-workers (and possibly customers, too)
- May damage company culture and office morale
- Unwilling to join in social activities
- Likely looking for a new job
While it may be easy to see these behaviors as simply personality traits, it is possible that they are indicative of something else, such as company culture. When even the most valued employees start to become disengaged, it may be because they lack clarity about what is expected of them, or they don’t have the means to do their job to the best of their ability.
Why Does Employee Engagement Matter?
If you want your business to succeed, you should focus on engagement. Employees who are engaged in their work are more likely to be happier and healthier, and less likely to leave their job. Engaging employees has been linked to lower rates of absenteeism and accidents.
“You can have the best services and best team, but if you don’t have engaged and enthused employees it won’t matter,” says Maryanne McWhirter, Sr. Inbound Marketing and Sales Consultant for LeadG2.
Employee engagement affects every aspect of your business. The employees are the ones who make the business work. When employees feel respected and invested, they perform at their best.
” The way an employee is treated at your company will directly affect how they feel about the company, which over time shapes the company’s culture. If we want happy, engaged customers who will stay loyal, we have to implement the same strategy with our employees. Company culture has a big impact on your employer and consumer brand.
10% Higher Customer Loyalty
When employees are engaged in their work, they provide better sales and service, leading to a better customer experience.
According to Kayla from Seismic, taking care of employee engagement can help a company attract, develop, and retain the best talent, leading to improved customer service.
23% Higher Profitability
Higher customer loyalty leads to increased sales and reduced service costs. Highly engaged employees tend to stay with their company longer, show up to work more often, and get injured less often. This saves the company money in terms of turnover, absenteeism, and injury costs.
18% Boost in Productivity
If employees feel like they are connected to their work, they will work harder. This means that they’re more likely to do things that are not part of their job description. If employees are engaged, they are more likely to have new ideas and improve processes.
Up to 43% Less Turnover
Highly-engaged employees feel recognized and rewarded. They are aware of their potential for growth and see opportunities for development ahead.
The study also showed that 74% of employees who were not engaged were actively looking for new employment.
64% Fewer Workplace Accidents
If you do something often, you might start to do it without thinking and become careless. When employees are engaged, they focus on their work. They are also more likely to be aware of their surroundings and follow safety rules.
81% Lower Absenteeism
Engaged employees are more likely to show up to work whether because they are more driven or because they experience less burnout.
This doesn’t mean normal sick days or personal time. Absenteeism refers to habitual and intentional unscheduled absences. This is the type of thing that, as per the Society for Human Resource Management, causes a 36.6% decrease in productivity as coworkers have to take on more work.
How to Measure Employee Engagement
Employee engagement is hard to measure because it is a subjective experience. If you want a complete understanding, you need to look at both the hard data and the more intangible indicators.
- Seek ongoing feedback. Individual conversations are one of the most powerful ways to discover engagement levels. Ask if your employees feel valued. If they understand their growth potential. If they have the resources they need to do their job.
- Find your Employee Net Promoter Score (NPS). Your NPS is a great way to get a snapshot of employee sentiment. This is especially helpful when you also give your employees a chance to say why they gave the score they did.
- Watch your rates of absenteeism and turnover. Spikes in these metrics are common symptoms of low engagement, and a sure sign something has gone wrong.
- Do exit interviews/stay interviews. Exit interviews can be a good source of candid feedback. Just be sure these interviews aren’t the first time you’re asking these kinds of questions.
Who Is Responsible for Employee Engagement?
The onus of planning engagement activities and executing them is now on everyone in the organization. HR is not solely responsible for employee engagement, rather it takes a team effort from leaders and managers as well. If employees respond positively to an engagement program, it will be successful. Employee engagement, then, is an organization-wide collaborative function.
At What Point Does Employee Engagement Begin?
Engagement is important throughout the employee lifecycle, from the candidate experience to the recruitment process, continuing through onboarding, career planning, learning and development, leadership and succession, and retirement or exit from the organization.
However, employee engagement is a two-way street. The personality that employees must either possess or inculcate in themselves to be an excellent cultural fit for the organization is even if organizations follow the best practices in employee engagement. Individuals who are positive, work hard, and have a good attitude are more likely to be engaged in their work than those who don’t have these qualities.
What Are the Drivers of Employee Engagement?
There are a few things that companies can do in order to keep their high-value and high-potential employees from leaving. These initiatives span the employee lifecycle and touch on different aspects of the employee experience. In the past, presenting information to employees and giving them handouts was enough to communicate with them and try to engage them. Nowadays, employers need to do more than simply communicate with their employees to get them engaged. Here are the eight drivers of employee engagement.
Employee engagement is most successful when the employee is recruited and begins the onboarding process. Even before a candidate is hired, they get a glimpse of the organization’s communication culture.
The onboarding process provides employees with information about the organization and whether they would like to stay with the organization for a long period of time. To keep employees engaged during the onboarding process, give them enough time to learn their job before they start working.
This means that when employees are promoted, they will be ready to take on the job with confidence and build a lasting career in the organization.
Positive work culture
Work culture is a broad term, but specific factors contribute to keeping employees engaged.
Engaged employees care about the organization. Employees tend to care when organizations:
- Share company goals and values with employees.
- Tell employees exactly what is expected of them and how to achieve it.
- Give them regular updates about the progress of the company and where it stands in the global marketplace.
- Communicate how employees’ effort benefits the organization and contributes to the bigger picture.
Following these steps creates a sense of community and drives employees to work harder to achieve better results.
It is important to have an open work culture so that employees feel respected and cared for. In an open work culture, employees should be able to:
- Receive important communication regularly through a unified channel from the organization, their managers, and colleagues.
- Freely communicate with their managers about any task/issue.
- Provide anonymous feedback about issues they are having with their managers.
- Report workplace misconduct anonymously.
Micro-management is rarely well-received by employees. In order to be productive, they need a certain degree of independence. An organization can ensure employees have this autonomy by answering these questions:
- Do employees have the freedom to decide how they go about their daily tasks?
- Do they have the freedom to plan their career path in the organization?
- Are they included in making critical decisions that may affect them directly?
When it comes to job satisfaction and engagement, employees rate respectful treatment and empathy as highly as they do compensation. If you give your employees the same level of respect that you give your most loyal customers, they will be more likely to care about achieving the company’s goals.
Access to productivity and time management tools
If an employee’s day is filled with lots of unplanned activities, meetings, and distractions from work, they will be less productive overall. Time management is an essential skill in any work environment, but in a dynamic workplace, even the most efficient employees need time management tools. Supporting time management can directly result in improved productivity.
Employee engagement can be increased by using tools to manage time and break down tasks into smaller, more manageable parts. Some examples of these tools are Slack, Wunderlist, and Trello. Although these tools are often interrupted, they can still improve employee productivity.
Learning and development opportunities
Organizations that provide employees with opportunities to learn and develop their skills notice higher levels of engagement. The fact that managers show an interest in their employees’ growth makes employees feel like they want to do the same for the company, so they become more invested in its success.
This generation is mainly learning through platforms that provide mobile and microlearning experiences. Making learning into a game can get even employees who are not interested in participating to join in and open up more chances for themselves.
Effective leadership and succession planning
Engagement among employees is more likely when they are aware of the opportunities for growth within the company. Leadership and succession planning are key drivers of engagement, especially among the millennial and younger workforce. In this area, HR teams and leaders of the organizations collaborate to identify key positions that need to be filled, as well as the available talent to fill these positions.
If an organization wants to make succession planning more efficient, they can use technology to help with the process. Ascendify is a machine learning-powered analytics solution that can help identify potential talent, link them with the skills and qualifications required for a specific leadership position, and enable HR to tailor learning and development plans for that talent. This level of personalization can significantly improve engagement levels.
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