Last Updated: September 9, 2021
Richard Branson once said, “Take care of your employees, and they’ll take care of your clients.” In other words, how well you treat your employees translates into their productivity, which in turn benefits your clients.
Practical advice considering he’s the billionaire founder of Virgin Airlines, hotels, fitness, and cruise businesses.
Research supports Brandson’s sentiments towards the engagement of employees for optimal business performance. You can’t have a dedicated workforce if they feel like you take them for granted.
So, what is employee engagement?
Before I answer that question, let’s look at some stats to get a better perspective.
Only one-fourth of employers have proper engagement strategies in place. That leaves billions of workers feeling unengaged. Additionally, teams that score as low as 20% on engagement reduce their returns by a whopping 60%.
In this blog post, I’ll share with you the importance of employee engagement, when and how to measure it, as well as ways to improve it.
But before we go any further, we have to establish what employee engagement is.
What Is Employee Engagement?
Employee engagement is the level to which employees develop a passion for their work and in helping a company achieve its goals. It’s all about how committed to an organization they are and their enthusiasm when performing their duties.
It also shows the emotional and mental connection between employees and their organizations. It reveals whether your team is just working for a paycheck or if they have a certain level of loyalty to the company.
Workplace engagement is all about integrity, trust, communication, and two-way commitment between staff members and an organization. Businesses with suitable approaches often see a significant improvement in their overall performance.
Now that we know the answer to the question, “what is employee engagement?” let’s find out why it matters.
Why Is Employee Engagement Important?
There are various reasons why employee engagement is crucial, namely:
Every worker wants to be part of an organization that values and appreciates them. Rather than feeling like your organization is just “a place of work,” they want to develop an emotional investment. As a result, they will want to stick with you for the long haul.
As you may know, high staff turnover leads to spending more time and money on recruitment, training, and onboarding. Instead, you can channel that money to more deserving areas of your business.
In addition, you get to retain your reliable top performers because it can be time-consuming and exhausting to find suitable replacements. Besides, it can be disruptive having many people leave and join your team.
Better Customer Experience
If your staff is engaged, your customers will be the first to experience the benefits. Naturally, employees who are happy and satisfied with their jobs will spread their enthusiasm to their customers.
Think about it.
Happier people are kinder and more accommodating.
So, they will be attentive to client needs and go above and beyond to provide world-class customer service. Additionally, it will become much easier for them to build a rapport with your client base, turning them from one-time to repeat customers.
The right employment engagement strategies are all-inclusive, making workers feel like they’re part of the team. As a result, they’re likely to value and enjoy their jobs which translates into high-quality work.
On the other hand, disengaged staff will only show up to work for the sake of it. They’re likely to give the bare minimum, lowering the company’s standards.
Better Internal Collaborations
Team engagement makes it much easier for staff to get along, making teamwork easier since they align with the same goal. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about whether your workers can collaborate on projects seamlessly.
Businesses lose billions of dollars every year to workers that feel like they have no connection to their jobs or bosses. For starters, they go about the day barely contributing to their roles, and in turn, revenues go down.
If establishments could implement staff engagement, they would stop wasting money on lost productivity. In addition, their staff would work harder, bringing in more money.
Better Decision Making
Engaging your staff makes it easier for them to communicate any hurdles they face. It may be due to a lack of proper infrastructure to deliver, the need for a better work-life balance, toxic work environments, or other reasons.
From here, it’s up to you to take the proper steps to create a conducive work environment for stronger employee-employer ties.
When your workers feel that they can communicate with you freely, they get the confidence to be more innovative. Otherwise, they’re unable to voice solutions or ideas that could transform your company.
Measuring Employee Engagement
Now that we know what employee engagement is, how do we quantify it? Knowing whether you’re doing a good job in this area is the best way to help you develop the right employee engagement strategy.
Again, it becomes so much easier to improve your existing plan of action for a win-win outcome for you, your employees, and your clients.
Before you start, be sure to notify your entire team regarding the context and objectives. You and your senior management must be ready to commit to the results, whether positive or negative.
Also, be ready to start taking action once you get the feedback, even if it’s in small, incremental steps.
Here are some ways to increase employee engagement:
Employee Net Promoter Scores (eNPS)
Businesses have been using net promoter scores for the sole purpose of measuring customer loyalty for a long time. Recently, they’ve become a powerful tool to evaluate employee engagement.
They center around the likelihood of a worker to recommend a company to acquaintances, friends, or family as a suitable place to work.
The metric awards a score on a scale of one to ten, placing participants in the following categories:
- 0 to 6 – Detractors
- 7 to 8 – Passive
- 9 to 10 – Promoters
To calculate the outcome, subtract detractors from promoters, then divide with the total number of respondents.
Stay and Exit Interviews
You can find out whether your staff is engaged or disengaged via stay interviews. The best thing about this method is that it will help you catch problems before they snowball. Since they’re face-to-face or via video calls, you can gauge your staff’s response through non-verbal cues like tone of voice or body language.
Things to look out for include:
- Whether your employees are happy or unhappy with their jobs
- Any suggestion that may help improve their experience
Exit interviews, on the other hand, look for reasons why your staff is leaving. You might be lucky to salvage the situation, especially if you’re about to lose a top performer. If not, you can use their feedback as a learning point. Consider using someone who isn’t their line manager to get honest information.
Carry Out an Engagement Survey
Most businesses have the habit of only getting feedback about workers from their superiors. But have you ever considered doing it the other way round?
What if a supervisor is rude, high-hand, unnecessarily harsh, and making your company an unbearable place to work?
Surveys are a sure way to find out about your team’s experience. They give staff and their bosses an avenue to provide you with feedback.
In addition, they establish two-way communication, which can go a long way in making workers feel like you’re concerned about their welfare.
From here, you can start focusing on points of action. Next, set your priorities and draw an implementation plan. Remember to use your findings as a benchmark for future comparison.
There are three types of employee engagement surveys:
- Satisfaction and opinion surveys: Seeks to find out perceptions and attitudes towards the job and company.
- Culture surveys: Evaluate the traits that make your company what it is and whether they align with your staff and organizational goals.
- Commitments surveys: Measures sense of purpose, commitment, motivation, and passion for their roles and company.
Employee Monitoring Tools
Companies use monitoring tools to determine the levels of productivity and find areas of improvement for employees. They’re legal to use. However, be transparent with your workers right from the start if you intend to use them.
The solutions send you valuable reports and analytics that show if the performance is on par with your expectations.
Your findings can be a starting point for discussions with your team members regarding issues they might face, such as life challenges or lack of resources.
Check Turnover and Absenteeism Rates
Engaged employees are happy to stay with you for the long term.
Of course, people resign from their jobs for various reasons that have nothing to do with you. Examples could be moving across states due to marriage or divorce, sudden openings for dream jobs, and starting their own companies.
But if the rate at which your employees are leaving you is more than 10% per year, then there’s cause for concern. Additionally, if your staff is repeatedly absent, it shows a problem unless they’re sick or on leave.
How To Improve Employee Engagement
Now we know why it is so important, how do we improve employee engagement? Here are some ways:
Onboard and Train Your Staff
The wrong approach could lead to massive turnover, with 69% quitting within the first three years due to a sense of disengagement. On a positive note, over 80% of employees who stay with a company long-term claim they had a wonderful onboarding experience.
It also helps to provide proper training in your workers’ careers to help them develop their skills. It will engage them, and your company will gain from having a more knowledgeable team.
When was the last time you checked on your staff? Most companies wait for yearly reviews to get feedback.
To most employees, the performance checks feel more like exams that are more about company returns than anything else, reducing engagement.
Therefore you should consider having periodic evaluations to see if your staff need any resources or are facing any hurdles in their projects. Also, have a genuine interest in anything that may be affecting their wellbeing, even if it’s not work-related.
Plan Employee Engagement Activities
Scheduling time for team building is another way to improve your staff’s experience. It allows them to bond and relax with their colleagues in an informal environment. Some things you could try are trips, dinners, or sports events.
Use Engagement Software
Employee engagement solutions can help you improve on employee experience. They have features like peer-to-peer recognition, surveys, one-on-one meetings, 360 reviews, rewards, and analytical reports. With them, you can continuously track performance and engagement levels.
Give employees a voice regarding things that they feel are affecting their morale. Anonymous surveys work best as they remove the fear of victimization. Keep in mind that opening up communication with your staff will benefit both parties.
Offer Healthy Work-Life Balance
An engaged team has time to rest, have hobbies, or spend time with their family. Therefore, schedule offs and leave days for them to recharge and spend time with those who matter most.
In addition, have a wellness initiative to check on their mental wellbeing. You can also arrange for free screening for the onset of diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
Nothing demoralizes staff more than lack of recognition. Therefore, never waste a chance to praise good work, no matter how trivial it might seem. That alone can encourage your staff to work even harder.
Another incentive would be to raise their salaries or give promotions and rewards.
The answer to “What is employee engagement?” is broad. It’s not just about reasonable compensation or fun team-building activities that make staff happy and satisfied.
Instead, it’s a balance of various factors that work in harmony to create a positive work culture. With careful execution, it creates stellar experiences for your staff.
If your approach towards your workers has been an aloof, “come to work, do your job, and go home,” you could be missing out on a lot.
Quality employment engagement strategies span across a collection of activities that improve the work-life balance and career development. The right approach can build trust, reduce staff turnover, improve decision making, improve customer service, bring better returns and increase productivity.
It’s best to measure how engaged your staff is before it’s too late. Some ways to do that include regular check-ins, work-life balance, using engagement software, recognizing and rewarding good work, planning team activities, onboarding, and training.
Employee engagement is the extent to which employees invest their emotions towards their jobs and are willing to help an organization achieve its goals.
The goal of employment engagement strategies is to improve staff experience. In return, a company is likely to benefit by limiting its worker turnover and increase its returns due to high productivity.
Employee engagement works if the management is willing to listen to its workers and act on their feedback. As a result, employees stop working for the check but have a genuine interest in seeing the company succeed.
The senior managers and HR are responsible for employee engagement. So, what is employee engagement? Check out the article above for an in-depth answer.