“Employee engagement is an investment we make for the privilege of staying in business.” –
Success of your company is not only linked to winning over your customers. It has always been highly dependent on the company’s internal work environment too.
Yes, you have to market your company. But marketing your company to both your customers as well as your employees has become equally significant in recent years.
A successful organization is built by an efficient, effective and diligent workforce.
But this can only happen when you focus on employee motivation, happiness, satisfaction and engagement.
As a benevolent company, you must have ensured that your employees are happy and satisfied. But did you lay equal stress on engaging them?
Want to know the difference between a satisfied and engaged employee?
It’s quite simple, actually.
A satisfied employee is the one who is happy with his pay and work. He comes to the office, works the given hours and does his work well.
But is he engaged? Not necessarily!
An engaged employee is passionate, enthusiastic and dedicated to his work. These engaged employees are an asset who devote themselves to the growth of the company. They try to maintain a positive environment, have a collaborative outlook and work to further the company’s reputation and success.
What is employee engagement?
Employee engagement (or EE) is the new buzzword in the corporate world.
Employee engagement, as defined by Forbes contributor Kevin Kruise, is the emotional commitment an employee has towards the organization and its goals.
More precisely, EE is defined by the enthusiasm, eagerness and commitment that an employee has for his work. Management must take employee engagement initiatives to develop deeper connections with the employees, draw their innovative ideas to improve the company’s product or service and build their loyalty for the company.
They are energetic, enthusiastic and responsible. Moreover, they voluntarily act as advocates of the company at all times. These employees put in the extra efforts and come up with pioneering ideas and strategies to give an overall better result.
Want to know if your staff is engaged?
Ask them the questions below to understand how engaged are your employees –
- Do they care about the company and its objectives?
- Are they enthusiastic about their work? What is their key motivates at work?
- Are their goals in alignment with those of the company?
- How often do they take leaves?
- How are their relationships with other people in the organization?
- Are they making any progress?
Why is employee engagement important?
Disengaged employees affect the company’s productivity, profits, their co-workers as well as customer satisfaction. They create a negative environment affecting staff morale.
According to Gallup’s Employee Engagement report, companies with low employee engagement had 18% lower productivity and 37% higher absenteeism.
In contrast, the benefits of employee engagement are countless –
Engaged employees are highly efficient and often the top performers.
In addition to being hard and fast workers, they feel obligated to reciprocate with best efforts as they feel connected to the management.
Lower absenteeism –
When employees are committed to their work, they show up and get the work done. Engaged employees believe that they are a part of the company and feel responsible for the company’s growth.
In companies with low employee engagement, absenteeism is 37% higher as compared to companies with higher employee engagement.
Turnover rate falls–
Employee turnover rate is the percentage of employees that leave the organization in a specific period of time due to dismissals, retirements or voluntary resignations.
Hiring and on-boarding new employees is a very time-consuming and expensive process. Moreover, there is also the hassle of training new employees.
Retaining your best top employees creates a good culture in the organization and also helps in attracting new employees. Hence, you must constantly keep challenging your employees to help them grow which ensures staff engagement.
When employees love their job, they work harder and when they work harder they produce better quality work. As a result, errors and operational costs reduce. Thereby, providing higher profits for the company.
Simply put, this makes sense.
As a matter of fact, this is an easy way to increase a company’s profitability. But companies tend to focus on churning profits from the outside rather than working on engaging employees for better ROI.
Customer retention –
Having satisfied customers is vital for any business.
Undertaking employee engagement activities ensures that employees are happier and care deeply for their job. Consequently, they provide better service to the customers of the company by passing on their enthusiasm and ensuring that the customer have a seamless experience.
Better customer service means happy customers. Happy customers keep coming back and also refer your company to others. Hence, a double win for the company, its leaders as well as the employees.
Employee Engagement Strategies employed by Renowned Companies –
Apple is known for having one of the most talented workforce. Don’t you agree?
The company believes in hiring highly skilled and motivated employees to begin with.
Employees say they are persuaded to perform better as they are surrounded by really smart people. Apart from this, Apple gives its staff discounts and free apple products which is a great incentive as employees themselves become an advocate of the products they develop and use.
Google is one of the top companies in the world and was also ranked the number 1 company to work for in 2017 by Fortune.
Their employee engagement strategy is quite unique. The company offers its employees flexible working hours and on-site facilities like haircuts, massages, a gaming area, medical care, and free gourmet food. Truthfully, the list is endless.
Furthermore, Google encourages its employees to spend 20% of their time working on ideas they are passionate about. This culture has proved to be a cherry on the cake for Google as it has led to the development of unprecedented ideas like Google news, Google alerts, AdSense etc.
Hyatt Hotel Corporation–
Hyatt has been listed in “Fortune’s 100 best companies to work for” list for five consecutive years.
The company’s employee engagement initiatives are not an add-on to retain employees. Rather, they are the pillar of the company’s overall business strategy. Hyatt provides its staff with tangible incentives like free hotel stays up to 12 days in a year, discounts on company’s restaurants, spas and free or subsidized food on-site meals.
Doesn’t that sound amazing?
Apart from this, Hyatt invests heavily in the personal development of their staff. They provide reimbursement for tuition encouraging all levels of staff to further their education. It also provides training to its employees to better their career opportunities.
Why Current Employee Engagement Strategies Don’t Work?
Creating a proper employee engagement strategy and implementing it regularly is one of the most challenging tasks for any organization. You must have experienced it yourself.
The most common mistake your company can make is carrying out employee engagement activities occasionally with the purpose to get information for the management board. If your employees feel their opinions and suggestions are falling on deaf ears, it will create a disconnect between the employees and the organization. Thus, making the efforts redundant.
It is imperative for you to understand that employee engagement activities have to be planned and carried out on a regular basis.
Establish your employee engagement goals, formulate a definitive strategy and implement it well. These efforts are not in isolation of the HR process but rather have to be ingrained in the company’s values and principles.
Another issue with employee engagement is, it becoming forceful or dutiful. Making participation in activities and events a compulsion can actually reverse the effect of the activities.
Employee engagement should be fun and exciting for the employees- something they look forward to.
Do you undertake engagement activities regularly but see no effects?
Are you failing to connect with your staff?
This is because planning and implementing is not enough!
To improve employee engagement within your company, review and measure the effects of the activities you undertake at regular intervals. Use employee engagement tools to analyze what works for your company and do away with activities that are not very effective. Modify your strategies every now and then to avoid it from being monotonous or boring and reap the benefits of employee engagement.
How Do Companies Engage the Workforce?
Following activities will help you attain your employee engagement goals by enhancing staff engagement and increasing employee motivation.
According to Maslow’s Need Hierarchy Theory, monetary benefits are the primary motivation for people.
Similarly, beyond a certain limit, money will not push your employees for higher performance.
Recognize and appreciate them for their efforts.
Having an employee of the month program or appreciating an employee in the weekly meeting in front of their colleagues are some simple yet effective ways to encourage your employees.
McDonald’s, for example, has an employee of the month as well as an employee of the quarter program for each restaurant. The winner gets extra benefits and perks which motivates every worker to continuously perform better.
You can organize various events throughout the year which will give them a chance to interact outside the office environment.
- Annual parties are an excellent example. Host a Christmas or a Diwali party every year wherein you can invite your employees to bring their family and spouse.
- Give your employees a chance to explore and showcase their talent through Competitions and Talent shows.
- Having monthly team parties, fun team building activities outside the office or weekend trips are some other ways of bonding with your employees.
Do you want to develop a healthy relationship with your employees?
Then, build a culture for open communication.
Conduct employee engagement surveys and circulate questionnaires through which the employees can communicate their concerns or recommendations. These EE surveys can be open or anonymous.
It is equally important to make sure you review the surveys and bring changes and not just stack them for the sake of it.
Conduct formal and informal meetings wherein you really connect with your employees making them aware of how they can contribute to the company’s goals. State the company’s vision, mission and goals clearly so they are always aligned with the company’s growth.
83% of employees are more likely to stay with their present company if they are given a chance to take on new challenges.
Are you aware of your employee’s career goals?
Do you know what s/he wants to do next? No?
Then make it a point to talk to your employees to find out their personal goals and aspirations.
Provide them learning opportunities. Just like Hyatt does in the example above.
Give more responsibility, have job rotation, send them for seminars or provide the support for educational courses. Provide all these benefits and as a result, your employees will always be loyal to your organization. As a result, employee engagement will also lower down turnover rate.
Do you know office environment can greatly impact an employee’s mood as well as productivity?
Make small changes to the physical environment and you can see the effects yourself.
Having well-lit rooms, some new air freshener or simply getting colorful coffee mugs with their name imprinted on them are some easy tricks that will help make a positive work environment.
In addition to this, you can give your employees the liberty to add a personal touch to their office cabin. Or have a photo wall where any one is free to put up pictures from office events, parties and outings or a candid shot of an employee.
We assure you, employees will be eager to come to work every day to strengthen their bonds of friendship.
Try to break the monotony in office by having certain ‘Special Days’ in the office like casual Fridays, bring your pet to work day or bring your kid to work day. This will help create a light environment in the office.
We hope you got interesting insights into implementing employee engagement initiatives. The next question is how do you measure it? How do you know the EE activities you are executing are bringing in a positive outcome? That’s where employee engagement tools come into play.
Employee engagement tools
There are various employee engagement tools that can help you communicate with your staff, conduct employee engagement surveys, track the effects of your efforts and better your staff engagement strategies.
Here is a list of few employee engagement tools for you:
- 15Five – This tools helps in conducting employee engagement surveys every week to know your staff’s wins, complaints, pains etc.
- iDoneThis – It’s a tool to track the team’s progress. This helps everyone to know what everyone is doing, reflect upon their daily achievements and company’s growth.
- Slack – It will help you stay connected in the office and make communication simpler. The employees can communicate to everyone as well as privately on one platform. You can share files, data and make client strategies using various channels on it.
- CultureAmp – A platform solely made to analyze employee engagement. It provides sentiment scores and predictive heat maps based on data collected.
Now that you know why employee engagement is important and what wonders employee engagement can do for your company, don’t wait and get started. IMMEDIATELY!
Build a strategy based on your company’s goals, needs and environment and reap the benefits of an engaged workforce. Implement the strategy, measure the results and make the necessary changes to improve employee engagement within your company.
Always remember, engaged workforce is the primary key to high performance!
Which employee engagement strategies do you use in your office presently?
Let us know in the comments below.