Is employee engagement important?
The answer is a resounding yes.
As more companies move into hybrid work models, it’s more important than ever to keep employees engaged to minimize staff turnover and improve efficiency and productivity.
Sadly, only one in five employees actually want to work for the company they’re hired by, according to the Workforce Institute 2021 Engagement and Retention Report. Worse yet, about half of employees surveyed plan to actively job hunt this year. Eek.
A lack of employee engagement could be caused by numerous factors including: poor company communication, false alignment with the company’s mission, minimal recognition, and more.
Below we share the importance of employee engagement and how to engage your employees even more so they never want to leave your company.
What is Employee Engagement?
How invested and engaged are your employees in your company?
If they’re smiling in meetings, and giving their everything with every task while showing up with gusto, you’ve got an engaged employee. Employee engagement is how emotionally committed an employee is toward a company and its goals. It goes beyond satisfaction; it’s more of a personal commitment to see success in their own work, teammates’ work, and the company’s mission.
If your employees care deeply about their work and your company’s work, chances are they are engaged and it’s not hard to see it.
Why Employee Engagement Matters
A recently released Microsoft survey found that the pandemic actually increased the need to focus more on employee engagement.
Now that employees realize they literally can choose to work from anywhere, thoroughly engaging current employees is a must to keep them wanting to stay on the payroll. HR departments everywhere are facing the fact that it’s essential to spend even more time focusing on employee engagement, retention and overall workplace satisfaction.
Here are a few reasons to connect the dots on how to best engage your employees:
Reason #1: Productivity
If your team has been working from home over the last year or so, check on them and keep them engaged. Gone are the spontaneous work breaks and colleague coffee meet-ups in person. Some employees may even be worried that their supervisors doubt their productivity while working remotely, causing them to log even longer hours. By engaging with your team and showing them how to balance their work-life in a healthy manner, you’re likely to see more employees who aren’t always on the edge of burnout. That, in turn, will increase their productivity without a doubt.
Reason #2: Employee Retention
When employees leave companies, it’s expensive. If your company has employees leaving in droves, it can be downright over-the-top costly. Not only do you have vacant positions to fill, but you also have the employees left behind who often need to pick up the slack — creating further friction and dissatisfaction. When your employees are engaged and loving their work and who they work with, they’re much more likely to stay and be happy about it.
Reason #3: Encourages Recruited Talent
The internet is a helpful place, especially when it comes to reviews. If your company has recent glowing employee reviews on sites frequently used by job hunters, you’re going to get even more qualified applicants. Based on review sites like Glassdoor, they’ll see if employees are positive, happy, and feeling fulfilled in their work. Engaging your employees on an ongoing basis means they’ll talk highly of your company — both online, in the community, and in their personal relationships. That’s good PR and it’s free.
How to Improve Employee Engagement
HR teams and leadership can take various steps to ensure they’re sending the message that employee engagement is important. If your employees lack the skills or education to keep doing their jobs well, how can you expect them to be excited day in and day out? Keep employees engaged with heartfelt, thoughtful strategies to keep them encouraged to give their work their all.
Here are a few ideas to try:
- Start from the very top - Leadership needs to offer support and connect with employees on a regular basis. One study of 1,500 respondents showed that 95% of employees know when they’re becoming disengaged and expect leadership to lead the way in engagement activities.
- Employee recognition - People like to know when they’ve done a good job. It’s nice to hear praise, and it’s also a nice feeling to be recognized. Reward employees for a job well done on a consistent basis. A catered lunch, gift card giveaways, paid half-days, and extra vacation time are almost always appreciated.
- Open communication - There’s nothing more frustrating for an employee than not knowing how to reach out to their team lead or HR department if they have an issue. Develop clear lines of communication and have a solid strategy for internal communications.
- Encouragement - Positive feedback goes a long way in encouraging good work ethic to continue on. If you’re a leader and see your team working well together or creating top-notch work, say something. Let them know their efforts are seen and appreciated. Encourage them to keep going and doing what they’re doing.
- Invest in them - Investing in your employees shows your company cares. Investments prove you want them to stay long-term and they’re more than just a number. Invest in training opportunities and continuing education to engage them beyond their regular duties. Share wellness challenges and invest in healthy programs or platforms that focus on healthy living and smart long-term lifestyle choices.
- Use a workforce communication platform - If you’re like many companies operating a hybrid work model, frequent and clear communication is a must-have. Instead of making your employees check their email hourly, invest in an instant communication platform that goes beyond just chat. You’re bound to see engagement spikes as a result.
Above all, if you want engaged employees, ask them what they need. Then, fulfill those needs as your company can financially. When feedback is given, take it seriously and to heart. There’s a reason they’re sharing it and it is wise to analyze it and see how it can make your employees more engaged and your company even better.
Is employee engagement important to your organization? How are you engaging your employees on a regular basis? Share your thoughts in the comments below!