Employee engagement is essentially the act of ensuring that staff members have a positive experience in their job, and linking this measure with improved engagement, which should result in increased productivity. Of course, increased productivity from staff is closely linked with higher revenue and business success.
But how exactly do you improve staff engagement? The answer to this question is complex, but it can be done when the correct measures are put into place. Here, we discuss what employee engagement is, the benefits an engaged employees can bring, and provide tips on how to boost employee engagement within your workplace.
What does employment engagement mean and why is it important?
Employee engagement can be defined as understanding the link between employee happiness and increased productivity that occurs as a result. However, employee engagement has many layers, and increasing employee engagement as a whole is complex. There are a number of measures that need to be introduced to successfully do so.
Increased employee engagement has been proved to be linked to business success. After all, happy and engaged employees are more inclined to work harder -and in turn - positive results entail. The business success that comes as a result of employee engagement is hugely beneficial. So, employee engagement is imperative for a businesses success.
The fundamentals of staff engagement
In order to achieve a positive employee engagement within your organisation, you should consider a number of fundamental factors.
Meaning and purpose
Staff engagement is significantly boosted when an employee feels as though they have a voice that is being heard within the business. When an employee doesn't feel like they are valuable, they won't speak up, and they generally won't take their own initiative. For this reason, it's very important to show an employee that they have meaning and purpose within the company.
Learning within a job role helps employees with personal development. When an employee is learning new skills and increasing their knowledge, they will often become excited and interested in what they are learning, and the job itself. This increased interest will usually result in a positive attitude, and help to improve employee engagement. To improve employee engagement it's vital to make employees feel as though they have the opportunity to develop and grow within their job role.
Ongoing 1-to-1 communication
Communication is a crucial key in understanding how an employee feels within heir roles, and what can be improved. However, encouraging employees to communication openly can be a challenge. The correct measures should be implemented and this can vary depending on the company, and the particular person. Some people respond well to frequent in person discussions, whereas others may be able to communicate better through employee engagement surveys or online communication platforms, like Slack or Asana.
Understanding life outside work
A healthy work life balance is vital for any employee. Employees that are worked too hard will often burn out, and lose interest in - or resent - their job. Burn out of an employee can also leave to sub-par productivity during their working hours. So, it's crucial for a company to ensure that they implement a healthy work life balance for all employees. This can involve not allowing overtime, allowing a flexible schedule, having a 'bring you pet to work day' and/or providing a free health club membership for all employees.
Management and leadership
The way that employees are treated by management and leadership teams has a huge impact of their happiness within their role. When a manager has bad leadership skills, for example they berate or talk down to their team members, this will generally create a bad environment. It's very important that leaders have the correct attitude and skills to communicate properly with their team, and to help encourage their individuals growth.
How employee engagement looks in a COVID-world
The pandemic has created many challenges for work places - first and foremost, it's created a common work-from-home model. When employees are working form home, it can be harder to implement methods that will improve employee engagement, however, it's not impossible.
A positive effect of the pandemic can also be associated to the work from home model for some employees. Some people prefer the flexibility of being at home, rather than in the office, and this has automatically increased employee engagement. However, others prefer the environment of an office.
Of course, the pandemic has had many negative effects associated to people's wellbeing. So, to understand how each employee is responding the the pandemic, and how their happiness can be boosted, communication has never been more important.
Benefits of high engaged employees
Needless to say, one of the biggest benefits of having high employee engagement is increased productivity. However, there are many benefits that are linked to high employee engagement, like increased employee wellness, increased profits, increased volume, lower absentee and higher employee retention. Below, we share some tips that will help you increase your staff engagement levels.
Tips to improve employee engagement
Encourage open communication
Engaged employees that feels heard and important within their workplace, will be inclined to work harder. The best way to make an employee feel this way is through open communication. Engaged employees that are encouraged to share their thoughts, and can do so without judgement, will often use their initiative and make helpful suggestions that can be hugely beneficial to the company's mission.
Similarly so, actively disengaged employees who are unhappy or struggling with a particular issue within the entire organization, they should feel comfortable enough to voice this. When employees are too scared to voice these grievances, they may just leave the job altogether, and it can be a costly and lengthy process to find new hires and train.
Encourage career advancement
When an employee has the opportunity to work hard, and be rewarded for their hard work through career enhancement, that will have much more of desire to do so. Employees who are in a role where they feel that can't advance, won't have a reason to grow and strive higher. So, all organisations should make it the next career stepping stone clear to their employees, and it can be helpful to outline a road map for the employee's advancement (or goals they'll need to achieve).
Implement a healthy work life balance
Ensuring that your employees have a healthy balance between their work life and their personal life will increasing their happiness. Overworked employees often resent a company for taking away time that could be used to benefit their personal life, for example, to spend more time with the family.
Companies can help to encourage a healthy work life balance by implementing measures that encourage activities outside of work, like a gym member ship, reward vouchers when a goal is reached or child care services.
Make sure employees have the correct tools
If an employee doesn't have the correct tools to do their job properly, they can become unhappy. An example of this would be a graphic designer who's given an old and slow computer to work on, without the correct design programs. If this same graphic designer was giving the appropriate tools to get their work done at a high quality, they will be more inclined to do so.
Another way that correct tools can be implement in an office work environment is through the use of software. It's often worth spending extra money on better quality software, that helps an employee, because the payback will be much more than the original investment.
Organise social events
Many work places have a monthly event that's often called 'month end', this can also occur quarterly. This kind of event will usually be a day (or half day off work) that involves a fun, team building event for all employees. These types of events increase employee engagement and improve workplace culture because it's something for workers to look forward too. However, social events can also help team members bond with each other and become friendly. When employees enjoy - and even bond with - the people they work with, they will generally be much happier at work.
Award hard work
Most workplaces have goals or benchmarks for their employees to meet. When these goals are met, the employee who's excelled should be awarded for doing so. If they aren't acknowledge, then the employee may not think that they effort they've put in is appreciated.
There are a variety of ways that you can award employees who have met their goals. Rewards can include things like days off, gift vouchers or other prizes. Acknowledging employees hard work should improve engagement and company culture.
How understanding employee engagement will help your employees help you
Identifying and implementing measure that will maximise your employee engagement is possible, but can be complex. If you aren't sure where to start, we have a team of skilled HR professionals who specialise in improving employee engagement in all different fields of work.
Our team can help you devise a plan to improve your employee engagement, give specific tips to engage employees and encourage employees, and/or make suggestions for software programs that can help you improve employee engagement. If you're interested in finding out more, you can contact us here.