When your employees are highly engaged, the flow-on benefits to your workplace are enormous: people are happier, more productive, less likely to be absent, less likely to leave the company, and more likely to work hard as a part of a team.
What does employee engagement mean?
Employee engagement can be described as the amount of dedication and enthusiasm an employee feels towards their job. When an employee is engaged, they are more likely to care and be enthusiastic about the work they do and the company they work for and its performance. The employee engagement definition also describes a concept based on employees having trust in the company, as well as two-way communication and commitment between the organisation and the employees.
Why is employee engagement important?
Employee engagement has an important role to play in a company’s overall success. It has strong links to levels of job satisfaction and employee morale. According to recent Gallup research, however, only 31% of employee in 2021 say that they are engaged at work.
A lot of research over the years has found that companies with engaged employees are more successful, their employees are more productive, the financial health of the company is better, and these internal metrics can flow on to external factors like a strong brand identity, happy customers, repeat business and so on. When employees are disengaged they’re more likely to not be fully present, won’t put in their best effort, and will probably leave the organization for somewhere more engaging.
What are examples of employee engagement?
There are several factors that drive employee engagement and can affect whether or not you will retain your most valuable employees. You can improve engagement levels by implementing initiatives in the following areas:
1. A well-done onboarding process
When your onboarding process is not smooth (or if it doesn’t exist at all) the employee begins their life at the organization with confusion and disarray. They won’t have clear goals or expectations set and won’t know how they are expected to contribute to the company’s overall success.
2. Workplace culture
The culture of your workplace will have a huge impact on employee engagement. If you have a welcoming workplace where everyone is kind, inclusive, respectful and courteous and everyone works together well as a team, it is more likely than not that your employees will be engaged. When a workplace culture is toxic – full of bullying, harassment, office politics, lack of teamwork, lack of leadership and lack of clear direction – it is almost a certainty your team members will be disengaged.
3. Provision of work tools that make tasks easier
The technology and other systems used in the workplace can affect engagement of employees. When you use outdated systems or the tools you are using are cumbersome and require too many unnecessary steps to accomplish a task, this can lead to frustration and then disengagement. Tools that help employees work better and collaborate with their peers will help improve morale.
4. Provision of training and development opportunities
Employees value it when you invest in developing their skillsets and helping them on their career paths. When you provide training and development opportunities to employees, they are likely to reciprocate by investing their time and commitment right back to the company.
5. Good leadership
Leadership sets the tone for life as an employee within a company. The old saying is that people don’t leave jobs, they leave bad bosses. When your leadership is ineffective, that filters down to how employees will feel about the organization.
6. Good internal communication
When internal communication is poor or lacking entirely, it can have a negative effect on workers’ engagement. Employees need to be provided with clear, concise, relevant and timely information so that they can do their jobs well. Without good communication there can be confusion, lack of direction, mistakes, loss of productivity and resentment at being kept in the dark. Improving internal communication practices, including using a wide range of channels to ensure employees don’t miss information, will also drive engagement.
7. Workplace health and wellbeing resources
Employees can often feel stressed by work and/or home issues, and the amount of time they spend sitting down, commuting and working overtime etc. can take its toll. Providing workplace health and wellbeing resources, such as employee assistance programs, healthy food options, exercise initiatives can help employees to feel both valued and can reduce the workplace health burden.
8. Flexible work options
A big engagement killer for employees is lack of flexibility in the workplace. This has only been heightened during the COVID-19 pandemic as people don’t want to return to their old work lives where they had no flexibility at all. Flexibility can take many forms and there isn’t a blanket approach that will suit all employees. Some may want to work more hours but less days, some might want different start and finishing times or continued remote work to remove long commutes from their lives. If there is no reasonable reason why employees cannot work flexibly, by enabling it you will have happier, more productive, more engaged employees.
9. Rewards and recognition
Showing you appreciate the contribution that employees make via a rewards and recognition program can help to keep them feeling positive and motivated and will also inspire other employees.
Happy employees are more likely to be engaged, loyal and productive employees. By understanding the definition of employee engagement land committing to raising its levels within your organization it will be more competitive, more profitable, and attract and retain the best talent within your industry.
What are examples of employee engagement?
There are several key drivers of employee engagement. These include:
- Providing employees with the tools they need to succeed
- Providing employees with a safe and comfortable work environment
- Providing employees with a competitive salary and benefits package
- Providing employees with job security
- Keeping employees informed
- Enabling employees to feel safe to voice their concerns
- Encouraging and fostering teamwork
- Encouraging autonomy
- Providing learning and development opportunities
- Giving employees a career path within the company.
What is good employee engagement?
Good employee engagement is best described as creating and encouraging positive behaviors and attitudes that lead to positive outcomes for the business. It helps employees to feel pride in their company which in turn increases their loyalty. It also ensures that employees behave in a way that is consistent with the company’s values.
Why is employee engagement so important?
Employee engagement is important to an organization as it helps to provide a better workplace culture for the team, helps to reduce employee turnover rates, boosts productivity, builds better relationships with clients and customers, and drives profits up.
How can we improve employee engagement?
There are several ways to improve your employees’ engagement within your company:
- Clearly communicate your organizational goals and values
- Ensure that employees have a way to provide feedback that will be listened to and acted upon
- Make your employees mental and physical health and wellbeing a priority
- Reward staff achievements and recognize your top performers
- Carry out employee engagement surveys
- Plan off-site team building activities
- Build an inspirational work culture that encourages innovation.