A workplace by every means should encourage employee engagement. Employee engagement is a powerful factor in making your business a success. Since engaged employees are far more productive, customer-focused, and profit-generating, so employers also prefer to retain them. However, employee engagement cannot be compared to a HR initiative that managers need to carry out once in a year. It is rather a key strategic initiative that drives employee performance, accomplishment, and continuous improvement all year long.
Firms have been so engrossed in increasing engagement employee levels, and fortunately, there is some progress in their efforts. Just recently, Gallup said the percentage of “engaged” US workers was at 34.1 in March 2016. This is the highest level since the research and consulting firm started to track US workplace engagement in 2011.
Just like organizations do not have complete control over factors like employee empowerment, or motivation of employee, or their satisfaction, employee engagement also partly involves the employees who have the power to make decisions and choose the procedures of how they want to be involved while at work. Employees do have the power to make choices that would be relative to their empowerment, motivation, and satisfaction.
So is the responsibility of the employer to create a culture and an environment that is conducive to employees making the choices that are good for your business. And, engaged employees are good for your business.
What factors create an environment that is favorable for employee engagement?
In the view of many HR professionals, the increase in engagement employee levels simply means that more employees are now working with passion and have a profound connection to their organization and hence these engaged workers would help the organizations to move forward successfully.
Employers looking to further improve engagement employee levels in their respective offices can be guided by the following factors in engaging their workers.
Better Career promises
Productive employees always look for career opportunities that are challenging and meaningful with promises of advancements in their careers. People want to do new things in their job. The challenge for an organization is to provide their workers with meaningful career paths that will inspire them and give them different opportunities to grow. Failure to do so can cause stress, frustration, and lack of engagement on the part of the employees.
Many companies looking to improve employee engagement in the workplace provide their workers with formal training programs and more importantly, the opportunity to practice their skills and knowledge on the job.
One survey conducted by consulting firm HR Solutions stresses that employee recognition is the top driver of employee engagement. Numerous studies and polls have showed that employee recognition is one of, if not the top an essential factor in driving employee engagement. The same poll showed that only 59 percent of employees say their bosses let them know when they have accomplished a good job. Studies have also indicated that employees feel that they receive immediate feedback when their performance is below expectations. An organization should aspire to recognize their employees who are performing creditably in a sincere and timely manner. This can boost morale of the staff, resulting to a higher engagement level among the employees.
A productive office culture
Management should strive to maintain good corporate culture in the workplace, as people would be proud to be part of an organization where there is meaningful work, deep employee engagement, and strong leadership.
Good relationship with immediate Team leads
For many employees, their immediate team lead represents the management. If a team lead isn’t fair and approachable, then there is an increased likelihood that the employee will be unmotivated at work. The scenario would be worse if the employee is prompted to leave the company altogether because of his poor working relationship with the team lead or manager. Thus, companies should train their officers to become more competent in supervising their employees, providing feedback on their performance, and delegating appropriate levels of responsibility.
Consider the following if you need your employees to become more engaged and involved in their work
- Employee engagement must be a business strategy that focuses on finding engaged employees and then, keeping the employee engaged throughout the whole employment relationship.
- Employee engagement must focus on business results. Employees are most engaged when they are accountable and can see and measure the outcomes of their performance.
- Employee engagement occurs when the goals of the business are aligned with the employee’s goals and how the employee spends his or her time. The glue that holds the strategic objectives of the employee and the business together is frequent, hence effective communication that reaches and informs the employee at every level and practice of their job is crucial.
- Engaged employees have the information that they need to understand how what they do at work every day affects their company’s s goals and priorities. Though these goals and measurements are typically related to the HR department, but every department should have their own set of metrics.
- Employee engagement thrives when organizations are committed to provide management and leadership development strategies in performance development that are performance-driven.
What Makes Organizations Fail at Employee Engagement?
Employee engagement is a crucial aspect of any business. Studies have repeatedly shown the important role engagement plays in driving productivity and profitability. Still, most businesses struggle to keep employees engaged at work. However, the inability of most companies to engage employees is obvious when looking at surveys of employees. 70% of American workers and a staggering 87% of employees worldwide are not engaged, according to a Gallup study. The study also estimates that this figure amounts to around $7 trillion in lost employee productivity globally or about $1000 for every person on earth.
Most firms and executives are aware of the importance of employee engagement. A Globo Force report found that over one third of businesses consider engagement to be their number one challenge, ahead of a multitude of other factors related to resource management. However, despite companies’ understanding of the importance of an engaged workforce, many businesses still have a hard time achieving it. This is most clearly demonstrated in a Harvard Business Review survey of senior executives. The survey found that while 71% of respondents ranked employee engagement as very important to achieving organizational success, only 24% believed that employees at their organization were highly engaged.
The largest reason for this lack of engagement is poor internal communication between management and employees. For example, many businesses still use traditional communication methods like mass email lists, which employees do not find interesting or engaging, according to surveys. Rather than targeting specific employees with helpful information, these email blasts can often be irrelevant or mistimed resulting in lost productivity. Using targeted communication instead of email lists can provide employees with more informative messages and ensure they are engaged and responsive.
Another important reason for firms’ failure to engage employees is that employees simply feel unmotivated. Surveys have shown that a significant fraction of employees either don’t understand or don’t care about their company’s mission, and thus don’t put their best effort into their work. This can be solved through several methods, including gamification.
Additional factors that encourages employee engagement
The following factors also influence the willingness of employees to stay engaged and contributing
- Effective recognition and reward system
There’s value in a recognition system that lets employees know they are truly worthy. Effective recognition always involves verbal or written acknowledgment from the employee’s manager in addition to any physical reward.
- Frequent feedback
The downside of the standard employee performance appraisal is that it is a one-time deal. Effective performance feedback takes place every day at least weekly and there should be interaction with the employee’s manager. Effective feedback focuses on what the employee is doing well and what needs improvement. It is clear and specific and reinforces the actions that the manager wants to see the employee regularly perform.
- Shared values and guiding principles
Engaged employees thrive in an environment that reinforces their most deeply held values and beliefs. Employees are most successful in an organization in which their personal values are in sync with the organization’s stated values and guiding principles.
- Demonstrate emotional intelligence towards employees
Employee’s direct supervisors need to demonstrate that they are personally interested in and care about their employees.
- Positive relationships with coworkers
Engaged employees need to work, not just with nice people, but with coworkers who are equivalently engaged. Coworkers who demonstrate integrity, teamwork, a passion for quality and serving customers, and are passionate about what they do, make for ideal coworkers who help foster employee engagement