It's just a buzzword for many companies - but it should be much more. Engaged employees are like loyal customers, promoting their company, investing in the organization's ideals, and retaining longer. Who doesn't want to lead a group of individuals who are committed to not only their work, but also the organization? So, of course you'd want to have engaged employees in order to reap all the benefits.
Benefits of improved Employee Engagement
Why would any company want to improve employee engagement? Because engagement offers a number of benefits beyond the surface that can both directly and indirectly affect business growth! These benefits make it essential to prioritize employee engagement strategies.
1. Greater team performance
Engaged employees are focused employees who are invested in company and customer success. When a team of engaged employees work together, they have overall better performance and greater retention rates.
2. Increased productivity
Goes along with performance, but engagement leads to getting things done effectively and efficiently. Let's face it, morale is contagious - good or bad - and positive, invigorated morale can also push others to do more.
3. Lower absenteeism
In most cases, absenteeism is linked less to work ethic and more to engagement. They are not invested in the company, and often feel the company isn't invested in them. Engaged employees feel empowered, appreciated, and valued, so they show up to work.
4. Healthier employees
Seems odd, but employee mental health and well-being has gained greater focus post-COVID, and with good reason. Happier, better adjusted, and more engaged employees tend to have less health and mental health issues keeping them from work. A big win for positive work environments!
5. Less burnout
The Great Resignation taught us that employees are looking for positive experiences at work with proper work-life balance, because work isn't about just paying the bills anymore. Engaged employees are less likely to be unhappy at work or stressed in their environment, leading to less burnout and departures as a result.
6. Lower presenteeism
You'd figure having employees present would be a good thing. But "presenteeism" refers to when an employee shows up to work, but they are simply present - their body is there, but their mind is on vacation.They aren't being productive or getting things done. Engaged employees are focused and driven during the work week.
7. Better branding
Employees know your brand better than most, and are naturally your first ambassadors when they are highly engaged. This can lead to new business acquisition and expansive revenue from your current client base.
8. Talent acquisition help
Engaged employees want to see their company progress while also sharing opportunities with others within their personal and professional circle. They could help cultivate better talent for the business as they know the inside of it.
9. Effective leadership
If you can inspire you employees to be engaged rather than disengaged, you are more effective as a leader and typically lead high-performing teams. As engaged employees can also help with organic and expansion growth, there is increased profitability and productivity from effective leadership.
10. Better customer satisfaction
We couldn't go on the list without tying it directly to customers as well. More engaged employees are also invested in exceptional customer experiences and improving customer satisfaction across all touchpoints.
This isn't an exhaustive list by any means, but knowing some of the best benefits can help make it clear why improving employee engagement should be a priority for any organization.
Ways to improve employee engagement
Of course, once you know why you should focus on employee engagement, it is important to know how to improve it. Let's look at some of the top ways to improve employee engagement.
Here are 10 engagement ideas for you to try in your own organization:
1. Focus on work-life balance as integral to organizational structure - in short, turn to a people-first focus when it comes to strategies. Post-COVID, employees look for more ways to live instead of being locked to their position as simply a means to paying the bills. You can do this a few ways to maximize employee satisfaction and improve engagement:
a. Flex hours
b. Unlimited PTO
c. Flex PTO spend
d. Remote/hybrid work options
e. Only contacting employees during dedicated work hours
f. Removing the stigma of missing days for health/personal wellness
g. Encouraging "mental health" days
2. Act on employee feedback effectively - don't simply ask you employees what would make them happier or how they are satisfied at work. Act on the feedback you're provided, but also set up the initial survey to be anonymous and secure, in order to encourage candid responses. This is all about transparency and authenticity. Employees have been shown to respond well to consistency in this area, as well.
3. Set SMART goals - goals can help anyone focus, particularly if they are SMART goals - specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely - that are visible to all employees and leadership. This creates an atmosphere of accountability and collaboration influencing engagement.
4. Create a safe and healthy company culture - company culture isn't a buzzword, but a must. As such, it's the foundation of any employee's interaction with the company, and should be one that is inclusive, diverse, safe, transparent, and uplifting. The better your company culture, the better your performance and collaboration. Toxic workplaces lower morale, which we know can be contagious! Combat this with positive work environments.
5. Check the pulse - HR review doesn't only have to happen annually. You should be continually striving to close the loop through action and feedback cycles, and you can do this with pulse checks. They can go out monthly or weekly to check on any changes happening with your employees, and you can put out fires before they get out of hand.
6. Build recognition programs that work - recognition and acknowledgment can go a long way when it comes to employees. Tellyour employees they've done a good job, and recognize performance and help?not only from the sales departments, but from the customer service, quality assurance, and IT departments, as well.
7. Look for alignment - as much as possible, align your team on operational, customer experiences, and employee engagement goals that also influence each other. It's about teaching everyone in your organization about how these pieces affect others and gain deeper insight into KPIs.
8. Professional development is key - help your employees do more, and they will accomplish more for you. Investing in your employees pays its own dividends. Career trajectory conversations, continuing education, and internal training can help produce more talentedemployees who are actively engaged.
9. Personal connection - focusing on employee engagement also leads to leadership and employees connecting on levels outside of just the professional aspect. This can help with empathy and understanding that can eventually create bonds.
10. Become an onboarding champion - onboarding is the first interaction with company culture after the interview process. Make sure your onboarding is powerful and memorable when it comes to your employees, and don't stop there! Periodic training, refreshers, and group activities can also create more positive experiences for your employees to gain investment.
These are just some of the ways you can improve employee engagement!
There are several ways you can improve your employee engagement, maximizing short wins to boost morale and increasing buy-in to attack bigger goals. No matter where you employees are now with their satisfaction and experience, it's possible to turn things around for the betterment of your company. Hopefully this article inspired you to make changes in your own organization.