Employee engagement is a term you have probably seen banded around on LinkedIn or in blog posts a lot recently. The pandemic has pushed organisations to focus their efforts in this area.
Engagement is about making sure that employees are happy with where they work. They feel aligned to the organisation. They are motivated by the organisation, as well as their work. Quite simply, they are engaged by the organisation and what they do for their employees.
Employee engagement is important. Organisations are starting to understand that many employees want more than simply good pay or a nice-looking office to work in. To have a successful business, you need people who are engaged and aligned, employees who are willing to work hard and go the extra mile to make it a success with you.
What does an Engaged Employee look like?
In the UK, research has shown that our workers are some of the least engaged in the world, with only 36% of them engaged at work. You can recognise an engaged employee by the following behaviours.
Positivity! They have a positive outlook on things and when it comes to work, they rarely seem negative or disgruntled.
They share with others that they are happy in their job and workplace.
They are team players! Even if they are happy with working alone, they are great working in a team and collaborating.
They don’t stop! They hit their targets and when they do, they don’t stop there! They work towards the organisation’s goals and support others to meet objectives.
They have an emotional connection to what they do. It isn’t just a job that pays the bills.
They are aligned with the company’s mission and company values. You’ll notice this in the way they communicate, both internally and externally.
It is important to note too that there are different employee engagement levels. Someone who is fully engaged will tick some of the boxes above and will generally appear to be positive and doing well at their job.
Someone who’s not engaged will get the job done, they do what they need to do and that’s about it. They would jump ship and switch jobs if a better offer came along.
Then there are Actively Disengaged people who do less than the bare minimum. These people need to be motivated and managed frequently. They can also be quite toxic in the workplace as they can often drag others down with them with their negative outlook.
You might be able to tell whether your staff are not engaged or actively disengaged by a few key metrics.
Employee Turnover Rate – If your staff are leaving often and quickly, it is a good indicator that they are not happy and engaged. You can use this to work out if this is in particular departments, or company wide. It’s important to keep an eye on this.
Absenteeism – If your staff aren’t turning up, this again could highlight if there is an issue with engagement.
Employee Surveys – An important question in employee surveys is whether they would recommend the company to their friends. It is a simple but powerful indicator as to whether your staff are engaged and aligned to your organisation.
Effective Strategies To Build Employee Engagement
There can be a range of different things that can improve employee engagement. They will also differ from one person to the next. Effective strategies to build employee engagement could include:
Pay & Benefits – This one is quite straightforward; employees need to have their financial needs met to be more engaged. If employees are not happy with their pay, no amount of events or nice to haves are going to take away the negative impact of bad pay.
Opportunities for Growth – If your employees don’t feel there is a developmental journey where they can progress, they will feel stuck in their roles and won’t feel motivated to work towards anything.
Work-life balance – If employees feel that their work is impacting their personal lives, they will likely feel negatively towards the organisation and are less likely to stay.
Organisational Transparency – If employees understand the organisational strategy and that what they do in their roles, directly impacts the goals – they will feel aligned to their roles and the organisation and will be more likely to work hard towards meeting targets and objectives.
Autonomy – When employees feel like their job is theirs and they can make decisions within their role, it makes them feel more secure and engaged in what they are doing.
Recognition – Many of us remember what it felt like to get a ‘well done’ sticker when we were younger. The feeling of motivation and recognition for a job well done. As adults, being recognised for your hard work through schemes such as Employee of the Month can boost morale. It can also help us feel positively towards our organisations.
Why is Employee Engagement Important?
Without our employees, we don’t have a business. They are the ones doing the day-to-day work – speaking to our customers, running front of house and making the sales. The more engaged they are, the better they will be at doing their roles. Here are 3 reasons that employee engagement is important.
Culture & Morale – Having a good workplace culture and good morale is something that is priceless. A harmonious workplace where staff are positive and is something that all employees will be positively affected by.
Improves client satisfaction – When your employees are engaged and aligned to the company, it resonates with your customers and helps improve their experience with your business meaning they are more likely to keep their business with you!
Less turnover means less time and money spent on hiring – As mentioned before, engaged employees are more likely to stay with their organisation than someone who is disengaged. This means less staff turnover which is a great thing for reducing time on having to recruit, hire and train new staff.
Once we know what employee engagement is, how to recognise it in staff and why it is so important – it is important for organisations to plan and create effective strategies for building and maintaining their engagement – one team building event will not suffice!
6 Employee Engagement Strategies
It isn’t always a quick fix and there isn’t a one size fits all plan that will work when it comes to guaranteeing higher engagement. You must build a strategy that works for your organisation and your employees.
These are six employee engagement strategies you could implement into your workplace.
Make a Point out of Recognition and Rewards
It really is quite simple and it isn’t a surprise to know that 37% of employees consider recognition as the most important thing for feeling engaged at work. This can be a straightforward strategy. Openly recognise and praise the success of teams and individuals.
What is key here is that you are consistent in the way you reward and what you reward for. It can be demotivating for those who do work hard and go the extra mile when there is inconsistency here.
Let your Employees do the Talking
Listening to what your employees have to say and using their feedback to improve things, is a key part of making employees feel engaged. The more you listen and act on feedback, the more likely employees are to continue to speak up!
Utilise meetings as well as other HR technology platforms such as hug. hug is an employee centric feedback tool which can also provide HR leaders with a holistic overview of their workplace wellbeing.
The wellbeing of your employees is hugely important, especially following on from the impact of the pandemic. People spend a huge part of their day & week at work which means you as the employer, are responsible for a large part of their wellbeing and employee’s work life balance is a key part of wellbeing.
Software such as hug smart matches benefits to employees based on the areas they need support. It also points employees in the direction of resources that can help their individual circumstances. And finally, it shows employers where wellbeing may be lacking.
The better your employees understand how they fit into the bigger picture and how their actions affect the company’s results, the more engaged they’ll be.
Ownership & Responsibility
Allowing employees to have control and accountability in their roles allows them to feel motivated in their roles and more likely to take control of their progression, making them more engaged.
Making sure employees know what they have to do to progress in their roles and in the organisation means that they know what they need to do and can take their future in their own hands.
Employees will be more likely to go the extra mile if they know what the potential outcome could be. Ensure you have a resource that provides them with the tools to learn and develop.
How To Implement an Employee Engagement Strategy
An employee engagement strategy should be tailored to your business and employers. Starting off by getting feedback from employees through a survey, means you can get insights as to how everyone is feeling.
Utilising software can ease the process and help streamline the approach. With hug, each employee, regardless of standing within the company, fills out an easy-to-use questionnaire, on either a tablet, smartphone or desktop computer – whichever way suits them, whenever it suits them.
These completely anonymous insights enable full reporting on a companywide view of the workforce, indicating common themes perhaps where employees themselves feel that they have training gaps, whether they need support with their wellbeing or if they feel fulfilled in the office, and at home.
These comprehensions often highlight some clear actions and improvements to enable you to build and support your best workforce possible. But don’t worry, you aren’t on your own to trawl through the data. The platform instinctively suggests pathways for each individual, which could be NHS choices guides for better sleep, sign posts to help with debt management or even discounts on gym memberships to help employees get fitter and healthier.
Measuring engagement is important, you need to understand what is working and what isn’t – reflect on the feedback. Continue to ask and question employees, don’t just do it once and that be it. It might take a while to see improvement in all areas. Remember, it is important to remain consistent and transparent with your approach.
When it comes to employee engagement, it’s a two way street. To engage your employees you must engage with them! Listen to them, act on their feedback, be consistent and provide them with the tools they need to do their jobs successfully so they can develop and progress.
There are so many options available to support employee engagement. As mentioned above, individual employees will find different strategies help engage them most. You need an HR software that can take these individual requirements into effect. If you’d like to find out how hug can help, please request your demo by clicking here.