Let’s start with the beginning:
What is employee engagement?
A very brief definition would entail speaking about an emotional connection an employee perceives towards their organization, job role, and colleagues, which can influence their actions and level of effort and productivity in work activities.
An engaged employee is one who is 100% invested and involved in the company’s mission, vision, and values and who will act in such ways to facilitate the organization’s interests and objectives.
Suppose we were to look at this concept from an HR and management point of view. We should define employee engagement as a complex of measures and initiatives devised to boost an employee’s perception and emotional attachment towards the company, their job role, their colleagues and the company culture, vision and mission.
Note: If you would learn more about company culture, we have an in-depth article about the topic.
Why is employee engagement important?
Simply put, engaged employees generate better business outcomes than other employees. As a business owner, it’s up to you how you decide to treat them and how much focus you put on keeping them engaged and making them feel appreciated.
Disengaged employees will literally cost you money, as they are on your payroll and that they could use their energy towards contributing to the objectives of your organization.
What are the benefits of employee engagement?
Engaged employees are the ones who come to work and are involved, not just because they have the goal of getting paid, but because they’re invested in the organization's goals on more than one level: emotionally and professionally.
Supporting employee engagement and making it a priority will get your organization on a better path overall. But let’s see the key advantages you can benefit from:
1. Increased productivity and better quality of work
The first obvious advantage! Productivity is a crucial goal for every company, and one of the methods to achieve it is through engaged employees. A recent report revealed in the USA showed that only 21% of employees consider themselves “very engaged” at work.
The difference between engaged and disengaged represents a gap of 79% of employees who could be more productive and aren’t.
Engaged employees tend to perform better, come up with better ideas, be more innovative and maintain teamwork at the best level.
2. Higher retention rate
An engaged employee who is invested in his everyday activities is less likely to leave the company. Make a point from keeping everyone, especially top talent.
Every new hire starts with certain expectations and desires, and if your organization doesn’t meet those, they will begin searching for something better. Engaged employees reduce the cost of turnover and help in improving retention rates.
3. Higher level of customer satisfaction
People who are excited about their work are usually the ones you want talking to your customers. Why? Because their passion will be noticed and because your company’s image only has to gain from this. If your employees feel appreciated, they tend to behave towards the customers and are more inclined to deliver a superior customer experience and increase satisfaction.
4. Company culture is amplified
Engaged employees are perfect to work with. They like or even love what they do, which can only translate into a culture of employee engagement. Without realizing it, they are the ones creating part of the company’s culture. Make sure that you as an employer give recognition and provide positive feedback to your most engaged employees.
5. Increased level of feedback from the employees
An engaged employee will have a constant desire for improvement on a personal and organizational level. Therefore, they will actively participate in meetings and will provide feedback for possible innovation and improvement.
6. Positive atmosphere all over
Engaged employees are of great help for the others, not so highly motivated. Why? Because they bring a certain energy to their work every moment of the day to act as motivators for all the others.
Your most engaged employees are more likely to participate actively in training, which can convince others to do it.
Another critical factor is that through engagement, you will also lower the risk of burnout.
7. Employee engagement is a sign of success
Having an engaged workforce is also a sign of success. And it’s not only about your business’ success but about personal or team-wide success.
Engaged employees work harder and are more productive because they feel valued, and this will show. It will add to your company’s reputation.
How to improve the level of employee engagement?
Once you know how important it is to have engaged employees, it’s time to take action and improve this area. Let’s see how exactly can you achieve this and the key strategies you need to consider:
- Promote and sustain growth - every employee will look for opportunities to grow professionally within the company. So, by focusing on training and development programs, you will work towards having more engaged employees.
- Well-being - it may sound like a complex concept because well-being is not something very measurable. General signs for happy employees are a good work-life balance, feeling appreciated, valued, and part of a team.
Tip: If you would like to send appreciation letters to your employees for good work or anniversaries/birthdays, you can use our templates free of charge.
- Relationships - we refer to both relationships with peers and managers. An employee will not succeed without an adequate manager and colleagues who make them feel good at work and cooperate effectively.
Encourage constant communication through all kinds of means: from live communication to remote, through specially designed apps for team collaboration.
Note: Do you want to be a successful people manager? We share 12 skills you need to master.
- Clear defined responsibilities - if you want your employees to be interested and invested in your organizational goals, they need to understand those and their role in achieving them fully. Therefore, every job description should be complex and straightforward at the same time, explaining why every one of your employees’ jobs exists.
- Constant feedback and recognition - giving feedback is helpful in many ways, but also for engagement. But feedback needs to be constant, not once in a while. Ensure your managers have precise guidelines, which they follow, and that the employees feel free to speak their minds during feedback meetings. Positive feedback has to be also concrete, so recognition is key. It can be monetary or not: a bonus of some gift cards, for example.
Feedback is a two-way street, so make sure your employees have the opportunity to give feedback regularly. It may be a great option to use anonymous online surveys, so they feel free to express their opinion.
- Wellness - implementing a wellness program can also lead to improved employee engagement. So you may consider helping your employees with their mental and physical help, thorough activities such as healthy lunch and snacks, fitness, creating flexible hours, or community service activities.
Investing in well-being will reduce the risk of burnout and will be another stepping stone to a more engaged workforce.