Did you know that approximately 63% of US-based companies feel that hiring employees is easier than retaining them? On the contrary, it’s quite easy. If only these organizations knew about the trick called employee engagement.
In this article, we’re sharing everything you need to know about employee engagement and team engagement. From what it really means, to how it is measured and how to engage employees effectively.
What is employee engagement?
Employee engagement definition is often confusing for most. Everyone interprets it in a way that suits them. But in actual, employee engagement refers to any and all activities that define the relationship between an organization and its employees. It looks into this relationship both qualitatively and quantitatively to gauge the strength of it.
An organization is said to have a high employee engagement rate when they’re able to make their employees feel enthusiastic about work. When they don’t have to micromanage to get work done and still see a high productivity level at all stages.
Employee engagement is imperative to business growth. It ensures that the employees are working in sync with the goals of the organization and do not feel pressured to perform. This is only possible if the relationship between employees and the organization is stable, comfortable and built on strong trust.
What drives employee engagement?
Once you understand what employee engagement is, it is essential to know what drives it. Employee engagement drivers will enable you to put the right employee engagement ideas in place that will motivate your employees and drive them to do their best.
Simply put, employee engagement drivers are knowing what motivates your employees.
Now before you go looking for employee engagement drivers, let us stop you right here. We’re going to be covering them all in this section and how you can work on each in the other sections.
The things to improve on at work to improve employee engagement:
Make sure that an employee is crystal clear with respect to the organization’s vision, mission, and what is expectant of him or her with regards to the same. Clarity with respect to job description is also important to drive employee engagement.
Identify what it is that defines an employee’s loyalty towards the company and his or her job. An employee’s perception of the job matters a lot in defining a relationship with the organization.
There should be regular communication between the employees and their managers, so as to avoid any gaps whatsoever. Continuous feedback and dialogue are essential to drive smooth employee engagement activities.
Career improvement is yet another employee engagement driver that works well. Improved and better opportunities boost employee morale and make them more open towards their peers and superiors.
Another important employee engagement driver is the relationship that an employee has with his or her peers, superiors, and subordinates. The quality of that relationship determines the success of the employee engagement activities you may be looking to pursue.
Employee engagement is driven by not only personal ethics but also organizational ethics. Inspirational leadership works better than it looks and is the best way to engage employees.
6. Personal traits
Not just organizational efforts, employee engagement is also driven by the employee’s personal strength, ability, and the willingness to engage with the organization as a whole.
Employee engagement is as much affected by these drivers than it is by effective leadership and organizational ethics. Make sure you have these in place to give your employee engagement activities the relevant push.
How to measure employee engagement?
Companies need to be SMART with their goals. Employee engagement strategies or staff engagement falls under the purview of this. One of the first criteria of having a smart strategy in place is to make sure it is decipherable and measurable with possible outcomes.
A strategy without any timeframe or goal in mind is like shooting an arrow in the dark; futile and fruitless. Thus, a company should also be able to measure its employee engagement so that the respective strategies and ideas can be improved for better productivity and for the benefit of the organization.
As per research, there are 10 metrics that should be considered while conducting any employee engagement survey that can measure and define employee engagement in your organization or the levels of engagement across different teams. Here is what matters to your company engagement:
- Employee recognition
- Employer feedback
- Employee happiness
- Alignment with peers and superiors
- Personal growth of the employees
- Employee satisfaction
- Employee’s overall wellness
- Employee’s relationship with managers
- Employee’s relationship with colleagues
- Employee’s conduction as a representative or ambassador of the organization
Considering all of the above-mentioned in mind, the following are the ways in which employee engagement can be measured:
One on One Chats
Have regular one-on-one meetings with employees. Let these meetings be an attentive employee engagement strategy rather than a fleeting affair. Let the conversations flow freely wherein you can get a real sense of what’s going on with the employee, and how external and internal factors are affecting productivity.
Employee engagement surveys
Short pulse surveys basis the 10 factors mentioned above can be created and circulated periodically via mailers. It can be just a regular survey which can ask employees about their work environment, how they are feeling, is there any dissatisfaction or hurdle which is preventing them from utilizing their potential to the max, etc.
Gallup has chronicled a definitive relationship between employee engagement and the overall well-being of the employee. Employee engagement surveys are the easiest way to tap on this relationship, for the betterment of the business.
Following are the examples of employee survey questions that you can target:
- On a scale of 1-10, how satisfied are you working here?
- Would you recommend someone as a potential employee?
- If you were to quit tomorrow, what would be the reason?
- Do you have clarity on your role and expectations?
- Do you feel the perks of your job are enough?
eNPS (Net Promoter Score)
Employee Net Promoter Score is considered one of the most effective ways to measure employee engagement. Fred Reichheld published an article in Harvard Business Review in the year 2003. Titled, ‘The One Number You Need to Grow,’ it talks about eNPS and how it is the most effective unit to measure loyalty.
eNPS is basically one simple question, and the answer is based on a scale ranging from 0 to 10. While the actual scale was created to measure customer loyalty, in this case, it is modified as a tool to measure employee engagement.
For example, the question could be as simple as – How likely are you to recommend a friend to the job role you’re working in?
The employee could then answer using the following scale for reference.
Structured interviews (Stay/Exit)
These are structured and fixed interviews, the questions of which are created after careful consideration. These are presented to the employees at the time they are exiting the organization or when they complete a milestone in their journey with the organization.
These surveys, interviews, or employee engagement questionnaires aim to find out the reasons for their leaving or staying. At the same time, they also ask for feedback from these employees on what they think should be improved at the organization, and what would make them do their job better.
‘How to measure employee engagement,’ is a question that should be asked often in the organizations. The better you measure your employee engagement, the better will be your employee retention rate and employee productivity, and the better will be your growth in the industry.
Why is employee engagement important?
Employee engagement is important, period. Whether you define it as the loyalty the employees feel towards their organization, or the latter’s responsibilities towards the former, the bottom line is that it is a lateral relationship between the two which defines the business’s growth. An organization’s employee engagement ideas and their commitment towards executing those strategically prove how invested they are in making a conducive environment for their employees.
Employee engagement is important for a variety of reasons. Here are the most important benefits of employee engagement:
Increased customer satisfaction
Quartz defines the most engaged employee as someone “more inclined to put in the effort that translates into buzzing productivity levels, a happier sales force, and a more credible product pitch.”
This is true in many aspects. An employee who is more loyal and dedicated towards the brand and who knows the vision and mission of the organization well is more prone to upskill and sell the same to a customer. Employee satisfaction equals customer satisfaction for a motivated and engaged employee will represent the organization in the best way possible, to the customer.
So if you’re wondering how does employee engagement affect business results, this is your answer.
Increased employee retention
If an organization focuses on its employee engagement strategies well, it’ll be able to retain its best employees. A happy employee is less inclined towards leaving an organization. It is absolutely essential to keep your employees engaged over time with newer and better employee engagement ideas so that they don’t feel discouraged enough to leave.
One of the main reasons for a high attrition rate is a low employee engagement rate. Thus, if you are witnessing an outflow of human resources at an alarmingly high rate, the reason maybe this.
We can’t stress enough on this. An engaged employee is a productive employee. This is due to the fact that employee engagement strategies and policies ensure that there is absolute clarity when it comes to the job description, job expectation, and organization’s overall roadmap. When an employee knows how his own growth can be honed in sync with the organization’s, the path towards productivity is clear and unhindered.
An engaged employee not only works but works better than the rest.
Enhanced company culture
Employee engagement strategies exist to involve employees more in sync with the organization’s policies. It is proven that employees who are better engaged are easier to work with. They work better not only with the organization as a whole but their respective colleagues and managers too. This, in turn, boosts the entire company culture and makes the organization an overall better place to work at. This also places the brand in a better position as compared to others in the industry, especially in the recruitment market.
Employee engagement ideas should be successfully implemented, not only for the benefit of the employees but for that of the organization as a whole. A happy and engaged employee contributes more to the organization than one who is disengaged and disoriented.
How to improve employee engagement?
One of Gallup’s global surveys has surmised that 38% of the employees are engaged at most of the workplaces. While this is an improved statistic, it still remains quite low. What can be done to engage the rest of the 85%? How to increase employee engagement at your organization?
You know about employee engagement and ways to measure it. But in today’s time of cutting-edge competition, staying afloat is not the only option. You have to swim against the tide to make sure your strategy is the best and no one beats you to it. After all, you don’t want the best of your employees walking away to a competing organization.
Thus, improving employee engagement strategies and ideas should also be a priority.
Here are some of the ways in which you can improve engagement at work:
Engage at the local and organizational level
Employee engagement ideas work best when employees feel included. The responsibility of this falls on the employers who should involve employees at all possible levels. Additionally, employees should identify their own barriers to engagement: what is it that is stopping them from being a part of the employee engagement activities?
Employers should make sure that the employees feel connected not only towards their peers and superiors but also towards the organization as a whole. Employees should perceive company goals as their own goals. The existence of that sync ensures the success of employee engagement activities.
Make sure you have engaging managers
Employee engagement defines the relationship between an employee and all the aspects of the organization, including the organization itself. Thus, it is imperative to have engaging managers that have the attitude to bring out the best in the employees. A good manager is not just someone who can create SMART goals for a team, or efficient weekly sprints, they are people who can understand what motivates employees and finds ways to keep them engaged.
Here are the qualities to look for when searching for an engaging manager:
- Someone who is result-oriented
- Someone who is assertive
- Someone who knows when to delegate work and when to retain it
- Someone who knows how to lead and not to boss
A good manager should be someone who doesn’t intimidate. Rather, he or she should be approachable. While it is important to maintain a line of hierarchy, it should be comfortable enough for the employee to interact freely.
Coach managers to improve employee engagement
You have found the right manager, great. However, what if he or she has never previously worked in creating an employee engagement strategy?
What if they haven’t yet been in roles that require them to communicate more to keep their teams engaged?
Employee engagement, given it is based on relationships and conversations is a dynamic concept which cannot be deciphered into a set formula. Even the right kind of managers need constant training so that they can engage their employees better at different stages and times.
Managers need to learn ways of fostering a learning culture for increased productivity. They also need the training to have a deeper insight into understanding every person’s perspectives and what keeps them motivated.
So while you’re implementing strategies to keep your employees engaged, remember to continually upskill your managers too.
Create career opportunities
Another way organizations can increase employee engagement is by way of offering them on-the-job courses which help them refine their skill. This not only boosts their professional growth personally but also increases their confidence in their work, thus increasing productivity.
Further, give them chances to apply their newly-learned skills in the role they are at or another in the same team. A certificate will be redundant if the work learnt therein is not put to use frequently.
Set measurable KPIs
It’s cliche but effective. Key Performance Indicators in the form of SMART goals can be set by managers after talking to the employees. The goals should be quantifiable so that the employees know in specific terms what are their responsibilities and to what extent are they accountable. Having defined limits helps them to assess their own abilities and enables them to engage better within the organization.
Engagement at work is essential. Improving it will enable your employees to engage across all levels and be more aware of their connection with the organization.
Employee engagement ideas to get going
Employee engagement and retention should be the top priority for any organization. While it is easy to understand any concept, a difficulty arises when it has to be conceptualized and eventually implement it. Your employee engagement programs need to take into account your team’s interest, their availability and your own goals.
But how do you get an employee engagement program going? How do you come up with employee engagement ideas that can engage the employees in the best possible manner? For starters, here are a few innovative ones to get the ball rolling.
Limited edition swag on special days is a great way to keep the employees engaged. These can be special days of the organization or even the employees in question. It can be in the form of absolutely anything, whether hoodies welcoming a motivated new year, mats or coasters featuring quirky quotes, duffel bags, mugs, and more.
Health & Wellness programs and policies
Another great employee engagement strategy is to have your health and wellness policies in place. Conduct regular employee engagement surveys to understand the types of wellness that your employees may be interested in. While it may not be possible to cater to individual needs, you can definitely create buckets wherein most of the wellness programs fit in. From mental health sessions and fitness workshops to food halls and more, there is a lot that can be done here to engage the employees.
Work-life balance has been a difficult arena to penetrate for a while now. Nevertheless, if organizations think of employee wellness as a whole, it can be achieved. A good way to promote employee engagement is to encourage them to maintain a work-life balance not only in words but also by giving them realistic work and deadlines. Encourage a flexible work schedule.
Instilling company pride
In today’s times of free and unlimited information ready for consumption, the employees are better-informed citizens. Stand for the right causes and conduct CSR activities which instil the employees with a sense of pride. The aim is to make the employee feel proud of his or her association with the organization. This is a great way to engage employees.
Employee engagement surveys
Employee engagement surveys are the most common yet the most effective way to gauge what employees want and how their environment can be made better to meet their requirements. These surveys can be customized from time to time and circulated electronically.
Promote activities that ensure a healthy mental well-being
Mental health is extremely important for overall well-being. A mentally sated individual performs better in life, whether personal or professional. Make your office a fun place to work by incorporating practices that will ensure the employees’ mental health gets a boost at every step. This is a great way to engage employees. On-site yoga, unlimited vacation days (with appropriate management checks), charity days, offsites, etc are some great ways to do this.
Keep open lines of communication
Employee engagement defines the relationship of an employee with the organization and vice versa, and the first tenet of a healthy relationship is a healthy and uninterrupted conversation. Make sure there are regular meetings where employee progress is discussed in detail, along with their grievances and hurdles. Also, ensure that the required steps are taken to make their job hiccup-free. Open all lines of communication.
Give responsibilities not tasks
When employees are inundated with tasks without any major communication, they may not always be positive about it. However, when they are given more responsibilities, a trust factor is conveyed which makes them feel important and boosts their morale, making them feel more engaged with their workplace.
Anniversaries, birthdays, special days; celebrate them all with your employees. This makes them feel involved and engaged and improves the relationship within the organization.
Link goals and incentives
The best way to further instil employee engagement is by linking their goals with incentives, wherever and whenever necessary. While periodic appraisals do fulfil this professionally, make it a little personal in little, everyday affairs. These incentives can be in the form of movie tickets, gift vouchers, a small token of appreciation, and more.
Employee engagement ideas are not difficult to curate and conduct. To curate a good one, all you need is empathy and encouragement.
Do you really need to focus on employee engagement?
Engagement at work is the necessary focal point in today’s work scenario. If you need your consumers to be happy, you need to be happy yourself, and an organization’s happiness quotient is directly dependent on how engaged, happy, and innovative its employees are.
The more disengaged and disinterested the employee, the more dismal the organization’s situation.
Hence, having employee engagement strategies in place is imperative. A few reasons why your organization should remain on the lookout for innovative employee engagement ideas are:
- Reduced attrition rate
- Increased employee satisfaction
- Increased productivity
- Fewer chances of employees being absent from work
- Increased loyalty
In a market that is becoming competitive by the day, across all industries, employee engagement is the need of the hour.
What are the employee engagement activities in place at your workplace? Do share them with us by tagging us at @Harmonizehq.
We’d love to hear how workplace engagement has helped your employees and your organization grow.