Employee engagement is not a buzzword, or a privilege reserved for a select few companies with the resources to invest in it. It’s something that impacts every single company, most noticeably when it’s lacking. Organizations rely on the energy, commitment, and engagement of their workforce to survive and thrive in this era.
Employee engagement is defined as the degree to which employees are motivated by, passionate about and invested in the work they do. Engagement also indicates the individual’s commitment to the company and their emotional connection to the people they work with.
The current business environment, and the world in general, is moving faster than it ever has before. Organizations across the globe are faced with more change than most can handle — to compete and dominate their segment they are required to grow faster often giving them less time to focus on managing all of their financial goals. Managers have to learn to excel in managing themselves, their teams and meeting organizational goals simultaneously.
Across 142 countries in which Gallup measured employee engagement, 13% of employees are engaged in their jobs, while 63% are not engaged and 24% are actively disengaged. The steps for improving engagement aren’t complex, they simply must be prioritized. This means engagement must be a core function of the manager’s role.
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Step 1 – Put Everyone in the Right Role
It starts with hiring the right people, who will have personal values that closely align with the company’s values. They have a real passion for the company and are enthusiastic about the work it does and their role in it. The right person will not have to be tightly managed, will expect delegation, and won’t thrive in a control-oriented hierarchy. They understand that their job and their responsibility is to achieve results, so they do what they say they will do and they want to be held accountable for results.
Step 2 – Provide Training and Coaching
Creating a culture that fosters continuous development does more than help workers build the skills they need to do their jobs. Employees want career development opportunities, and they expect their organizations to provide them. Organizations should do their best to accommodate this demand for development. This is because when employees are given the opportunities they want, they are generally more engaged with the company. “The more the employee feels the company is investing in their future, the higher the level of engagement,” says Brad Shuck, an assistant professor at the University of Louisville who specializes in organizational development.
Step 3 – Listen to and act on employee feedback
Listening to what your employees want to say is important. Having regular meetings to determine what areas of your workplace environment need improvement is an important part of keeping the employees engaged with the company. If there is a situation within the internal workings of the company that goes unnoticed or unaddressed by management, it sends an unfavorable message to your employees. If they know that management cares, and hears their concerns, they will continue to maintain a high level of engagement instead of becoming despondent and disengaged.
Step 4 – Recognize Proudly and Loudly
It’s no secret that rewards and recognition can increase engagement such as providing regular feedback and ensuring that good work is recognized, have a one-fun day or even celebrate employee’s birthday. It can help you maintain a happy and productive workplace, something that is important for a profitable company. An unsatisfied employee is listless, unproductive and this affects the company’s profits. Their unhappiness can manifest in many different ways – they might work at a slower pace, take more sick days or shave valuable minutes off of their workdays in the form of longer tea breaks and earlier departures.
Step 5 – Prioritize physical and mental health
Physical and mental health both impact employee engagement. An employee can’t be fully engaged at work if they are dealing with any mental and physical health issues. Employers can help support mental well-being in the workplace by addressing it in their wellness initiatives and activities such as company outings and fitness subsidies to encourage healthy lifestyles beyond the office. Additionally, stock the kitchen with healthy snacks that will fuel employees during the busy workday can be a good idea too.
“When people are financially invested, they want a return. When people are emotionally invested, they want to contribute.”
– Simon Sinek