Companies that have a highly-engaged workforce often outperform those with bigger numbers of disengaged workers. Not only do they recover quicker from market-based setbacks, but also retain top talent for longer. Low engagement contributes to toward lower productivity and more frequent turnover, making otherwise promising talent leave for better opportunities elsewhere.
Although all of this seems obvious, rarely do we see a company that has a vested interest in taking every step possible to actively engage their employees.
- Only 20% of workers consider themselves very engaged.
- 16% of workers are fully engaged.
- 31% of workers are engaged, but think that their business could do more to improve their experience.
Fortunately, such bleak statistics only paint the bigger picture, and it is up to the individual company to employ worker engagement strategies and prove them wrong. In this post, we present our top five picks.
For companies to retain the respect of their workers, they need to treat them just and with respect, while also holding themselves to the same principles. Employees like to know that they will be judged primarily on their performance rather than factors which are outside of their control. They also expect that procedures and rules are there to be upheld, not thrown away at a moment’s notice. This is especially important for leaders who usually set the standard for behavior by example. If workers have an impression that the rules do not apply the same to everybody, they will more likely become disengaged and refuse to hold themselves accountable for their own actions. Company expectations should be realistic – leaning too heavily on engaged employees will either burn them out or lead to resentment.
Start from the bottom
Just like a stable house is built upon solid foundations, so too are companies created upon a solid understanding of their employees. In other words, knowing what your workers are thinking about. Using questionnaires and surveys is crucial when testing your workers’ feelings and opinions. Unfortunately, most surveys defeat their purpose, as they’re developed for producing outcomes that satisfy the executive board, rather than allowing employees to comment on important issues. They also employ a top-down mindset, possibly concentrating on a single or two problems instead of having a holistic approach. Instead of having such thinking, realize that your survey is only a springboard towards engagement. Once the results come, hold a team meeting – not specifically formal, rather something with lunch – and focus on common issues or ask the team about how to resolve them.
Offering work challenges and personalized career development
Neither leaders nor their workers can do their best work each on their own. When managers are willing to collaborate with associates and delegate some of the responsibility, everyone will be able to their job efficiently and hear a variety of points of view. When your employees feel like you trust them and that their work is valuable, they will naturally feel more inclined to complete it to the best of their abilities.
It is best to complement this with personalized career development. Today’s workforce, particularly the Millennials, concentrates more on how on-the-work experiences can improve their skill set and their organization’s future. Some excellent ways to nurture personal development within the staff include:
- Making employees self-assess their pros and cons
- Developing affinity groups
- Using subject matter experts within your company as educators
Recognize good work
It is one thing to show support for workers through development opportunities, but such measures are one of the ways that companies can demonstrate how much they value their workers. Highlighting accomplishments and cheering on successes might seem trivial, but it goes a long way towards showing employees that their work does matter. For instance, you can reward your employees with an eftpos gift card when they go above and beyond their usual responsibilities. A gift card is an excellent reward for any employee who outperforms others and can motivate them for further hard-work.
Positive feedback and recognition from co-workers can also boost engagement, as they create a sense of trust and camaraderie throughout the organization.
Measuring employee engagement
How can you know which employee is engaged? Your staff should be able to confidently state the following:
- I have an opportunity to do what I do best – daily
- I trust my manager
- My opinion is heard and valued
- I regularly receive recognition, praise, and constructive feedback
- I have the resources and training to develop in my role
- I understand what is expected of me and my work quality
- I have opportunities to grow and learn both personally and professionally
The steps for increasing engagement aren’t complex, they simply need to be prioritized. This means that engagement needs to be a core responsibility of a manager’s role. Remember, your business is a thriving community – consisting of you, your managers, and your staff. Communities thrive best when everyone feels included, valued and trusted. The more engaged your workers are, the more productive they become, while you can keep your top talent.