Engaged employees are those who are fully involved in their work. They’re enthusiastic about what they do and, quite simply, they act in a way that helps the organization they work for to meets its goals and vision.
It sounds simple enough, however many organizations struggle to engage their employees. According to Gallup research, just 15 per cent of employees around the world are engaged in their jobs.
There are many reasons for the lack of engagement – it can be because they aren’t clear on what they are trying to achieve, they have a toxic manager, poor communication, poor remuneration, lack of flexibility or just aren’t a good “fit” with the company.
The upshot, however, is if you have a workforce that isn’t engaged you can expect lower levels of productivity and profitability, higher levels of absenteeism or presenteeism, lack of attention to detail and therefore mistakes, lower levels of customer satisfaction, and high levels of staff turnover.
What is the state of employee engagement within your company?
When trying to determine the answer to this question, management needs to do some soul-searching and honestly answer these questions:
· Do your employees feel that the work they do is important?
· Do your employees understand their roles and what is required of them?
· How often do you give your employees feedback on their performance, both good and bad?
· Do you think your employees put in extra effort because they want to see your company succeed?
· Do your employees have good opportunities for learning and development and career progression within your company?
· How likely do you think it would be that your employees recommend you as a great place to work to family and friends?
· Do you feel that your employees are proud to work for your company?
· Do you think employees in your company have good relationships with their managers?
Armed with this information you need to rip the Band-Aid off and survey your employees to see what they have to say by asking them the same questions, but from their point of view.
The results might be shocking and may be different to the expected answers from management, and if this is the case, you have an employee engagement problem that you need to overcome.
The good news is that with some hard work and perseverance you can turn the situation around – but there is no quick fix.
Here are some of the best ways to boost your employee engagement:
1. Make it a priority for management
If your management team isn’t committed to improving employee engagement, the whole concept will fall over at the first hurdle. Managers need to take an active role in implementing any engagement strategies and need to be accountable for engaging their own staff.
In addition to this, managers need to model the right behaviors to their employees and be open and transparent. Employees will feel cynical if there is a “do as I say but not as I do” type of environment and you will only achieve the exact opposite of what you are hoping to achieve.
2. Commit to improving communication
One of the reasons that employees can feel engaged is because they feel as though they are in the dark and don’t know what is going on. Commit to improving on, or implementing if you don’t already have one, an internal communication strategy in your company.
All your communications should be clear and concise so that they can be easily understood.
Also look at the delivery channels for your communications. Are you using the best possible ones that will reach all your employees? If not, consider trying out new ways of communicating, such as investing in DeskAlerts. DeskAlerts is an internal communications software solution that boosts employee engagement by delivering messages straight to everyone’s desktop computers in the form of a pop-up notification, bypassing the increasingly unreliable email system.
3. Invest in your people
Employees are more likely to say they feel engaged when they feel that they are valued members of the team. The most high-performing organizations understand this and treat the satisfaction of their people seriously and make it a business onjective.
Investing in your people by providing them with appropriate remuneration for the work they do is a good start. But investing in staff isn’t just limited to their salaries. Training and development opportunities, ensuring your employees keep their skills up-to-date, great opportunities for career progression and providing flexible working opportunities are also areas where employees feel valued if given.
When employees feel they have all these things in an employer they are less likely to want to leave.
4. Rewards and recognition
When your employees do their jobs well and reach goals and targets, you need to thank them for a job well done and show your appreciation. Employees like to be praised for their good work and being given recognition can motivate them to keep the good work up.
5. Conduct exit interviews
When someone decides to leave your company, do you know what the reason was? By conducting exit interviews you can find out how the employees felt about your organization during their time there, what they enjoyed and disliked, as well as their reasons for leaving.
Sometimes the reasons for leaving might be things that you cannot do anything about – for example a change of career, opting to leave to take care of children or an elderly parent, or because they are relocating to another city.
Other factors, however, can be directly linked to employee engagement… for example not feeling valued, having an awful boss, poor remuneration, better career opportunities elsewhere or a toxic work culture.
Exit interviews are an opportunity for more honest feedback than you can gather in an engagement survey.