As HR professionals, we hear about employee engagement constantly. The question is, has it become a buzzword to the point that we have become disengaged with the concept of employee engagement? As tempting as it may be to ignore the engagement chatter, we can’t afford to. Your employees are key to your organization’s ability to achieve optimum productivity, sales, innovation, effective hiring and retention. It’s HR’s role to support and promote employee engagement.
In case you need a refresher, an engaged employee is one who comes to work ready to work, who wants to be there and comes to work even on a day when they might rather have stayed home, but they don’t want to let their team down. An engaged employee is one who goes the extra mile, because they understand how their extra effort will impact the customer. An engaged employee genuinely cares about their team and is committed to lifting them up. An engaged employee makes diversity second nature because they see the value that each individual brings to the team.
Still not ready to pay attention? Let’s talk some numbers for why engagement is important:
- According to Business 2 Community, organizations with high employee engagement outperform those with low employee engagement by 202%.
- A Watson Wyatt study of 115 companies suggested that a company with highly engaged employees achieves a financial performance four times greater than companies with poor engagement.
- Talent Space found fully engaged employees return 120% of their salary (compared to 60 percent from disengaged employees).
- Gallup estimates that disengaged workers cost employers $292 billion to $355 billion a year which leads to absences and a lack of loyalty.
- Nearly 60% of Americans would take a job they love over a job they hate, even if the preferred position paid half the amount of salary they would earn at the job they dislike (Lexington Law).
- The Corporate Leadership Council found 67% of engaged employees advocate for their organization and are 87% less likely to leave an organization.
That is quite a bit to take in. Obviously, engagement is important. Engaged employees are more actively involved in their work, pay attention and effectively tackle challenges to reach their goals and drive business performance. So, what are some ways to engage your employees and create a winning work environment?
- Lead through management – care about your employees, have integrity, demonstrate competency and lead by example.
- Create an onboarding process that sells employees on why they want to be enthusiastic about their new assignment and workplace as described by Karen Lawson’s article “Orientation or Onboarding.”.
- Communicate the financial performance and short and long term goals of the organization – this leads to employee buy in of company vision, goals and strategies.
- Create an environment of motivation where employees can feed off the creativity of colleagues and have the necessary tools to do their job effectively (source “Motivating Your Team.”).
- Make the work consistent with the core values and mission of the organization.
- Bring employees into the performance evaluation process. Employees are much more engaged when they are involved in their performance appraisal.
- Encourage staff members to take on new responsibilities and projects outside of their typical roles.
- Make recognition and rewards a regular part of your engagement. It has been said that 86% of employees thrive with regular recognition and rewards.
- Create an environment where mistakes lead to innovation and growth.
- Check in with employees and encourage an environment where employees work together to manage the workload and know they are supported by management for additional assistance (source “Motivating Your Team”).
- Boost engagement by offering programs like telecommuting and flexible schedules, which help employees juggle their work and personal lives.
- Get out of the office and be social from time to time. Whether it is going out for happy hour or going to a sporting event, it can really improve morale and strengthen the team.
- Volunteer work is another great team building activity that leads to more engaged employees.
All of the bullet points listed above lead to a more engaged workforce and eventually to a more successful business, but employee engagement is a critical business metric to keep track of. There are several ways to track employee engagement from employee surveys, active listening platforms, pulse surveys, employee focus groups, one on ones and stay/exit interviews. It is important to track your engagement performance and progress to create immediate and future action steps in order to continue to improve employee engagement.
Remember, engaged employees actually generate around 43% more revenue according to the Hay Group. They are resilient, find their work meaningful, work longer hours and are more immune to stress. So get your employees engaged and educated in your organization and remember to assess your employee engagement early and often.
A special thanks to Lisa Johnson, CIR with Strategic HR for sharing her insights and findings on engagement. If you have any questions or would like to share your comments, contact us at info@strategicHRinc.com.