Employee engagement is where your organization is committed to ensuring that your staff work in an inclusive, cohesive environment where they are supported to do their jobs well, and want to go above and beyond to help the company achieve and succeed. This is an emotional commitment that your staff members make to show that they are dedicated, enthusiastic, accountable and focused on results.
When you have happy, engaged employees your organization is likely to be more productive, have greater profits than other companies with less engaged staff, have lower levels of absenteeism and presenteeism, have lower rates of staff turnover, and have employees who are great ambassadors for your company and your brand.
Unfortunately, employee engagement is an issue that many businesses struggle with. A Gallup poll found that just 17 per cent of employees in the United Kingdom are engaged, 57 per cent are not engaged and 26 percent are actively disengaged.
Actively disengaged employees aren’t just unhappy employees – they show that they are unhappy. They may be negative, refuse to cooperate or even display outright hostility and undermine management.
You can’t just pull a culture of engagement out of a box and expect to install it in your organization. It’s a long process that takes a lot of time and effort to nurture. In essence, you may need to change the very culture of your organization and behaviors that exist within it.
Improving employee engagement isn’t just a checklist of actions that you can take and then expect everything will be fine after that – it needs to be ongoing, meaningful and embedded in your processes.
What your company’s culture should look like is going to be an individual result – your business and your people are unique. Your company’s vision, values, goals and mission may be vastly different to the business next door.
To improve employee engagement in your organization, you need to start at the very top. Your CEO and other senior executives need to model the desired behaviour and need to be totally committed to changing your culture and listening to employees.
You will need to carry out research to determine what pain points exist in engagement, what your employees want and expect, what is actually happening, and what you can improve.
Areas for improvement can include internal communication, actively listening to employees and implementing their feedback, coaching and developing people and investing in their potential, rewarding and recognizing great performers, being open and accountable, and not rewarding poor behaviour at any level.
Benchmarking and ongoing measurement are also critical – you can’t improve engagement if you aren’t measuring the success of any efforts you are making. You should do this at regular intervals so you can determine if your work is effective or if you need to make any improvements.