Employee engagement is the level at which your employees feel passionate about being at the workplace. It shows their degree of commitment to your organisation and how much effort they put into their work to achieve business outcomes. It measures the level of motivation of employees and how desirous they are to stay with your organisation.
From the definition, you should understand that the two terms, “employee engagement” and “employee satisfaction,” are different. Employee satisfaction is only an indication of how happy the employees in the organisation are. It does not essentially address the level of involvement, motivation and emotional commitment of your employees. Satisfied employees are not necessarily engaged employees. For some of them, satisfaction comes from getting their monthly paycheck and working as little as possible.
More often than not, an improvement in employee satisfaction does not always translate to an improvement in performance. Sometimes, the circumstances that give job satisfaction to employees also frustrate them. High-performing employees look for change and embrace it. They search for new ways to improve their performance and change the status quo. They are constantly striving to deliver the best business outcomes—something that sets them apart from low-performing employees.
Employee engagement is usually the result that depends solely on the actions of companies, particularly those driven by managers, leaders and teams. It goes beyond employee satisfaction, employee happiness, and employee well-being. It won’t be wrong to say that highly engaged employees act as ambassadors for the business—those who are always looking for ways to grow the organisation and further the business’ mission.
Why is employee engagement important for the business?
Now that you know what employee engagement is, let’s look at why it is important for the business. Just like all other years, 2020 will also see HR teams of companies focusing tremendously on their employees’ engagement to reap the innumerable benefits that come from it. Let’s take a look at a few points here:
1. Increase in productivity
While the productivity level of each employee differs, it is seen that engaged employees tend to be more productive at work. When employees are engaged, they are more motivated to work, and thereby contribute more towards organisational goals. Employees who feel good about their contributions are naturally more likely to be proud to work for the organisation.
2. Increased business profitability
Employee engagement is directly related to higher business revenues because the contribution of each employee counts. When employees are engaged, they tend to be more competitive. They work harder and strive to satisfy customers. This translates to an increase in revenue for your organisation and, in turn, a steady rise in its profitability.
3. Reduced turnover
An organisation that engages its employees can retain its top talents. Also, it can create a positive impression of its culture and acquire new talents very easily. Employee engagement is all about creating a sense of belongingness—something that gives employees a reason to stick around their job. Employee engagement makes employees feel empowered, valued and respected. Since they feel more recognised, they are more likely to stay on board for a long period.
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4. Better learning opportunities
A dearth of learning and development opportunities or an increase in the sense of favouritism can hinder employee engagement and increase the odds of them being burnt-out by 16% and 23% respectively (source). So, employee engagement is important for HR to be able to manage their talents better by catering to their needs and hunger for knowledge and skill development.
5. Increased workplace morale
With proper employee engagement activities, organisations can see a boost in the morale of the workplace. Teams in such organisations are happy about everything they do and would love to come to work every day. As such, this results in a drastic reduction in absenteeism, which, in turn, helps companies get more work done and achieve business outcomes.
What are the drivers of employee engagement?
Employee engagement aims to provide maximum value to both individual employees and the organisation at large throughout the entire lifecycle of employees. It seeks to prevent high-potential and high-value employees from leaving the organisation. Much of it depends on the communication process between the top management and employees. But there are many other drivers of employee engagement, which are as follows:
True employee engagement starts with seamless onboarding, which takes place when a new employee is recruited. But, even before they are hired, they get an idea of the communication culture prevailing in the organisation. After being hired, it’s the on-boarding process that gives them a glimpse of whether they wish to work for the organisation or not. One way to engage employees during onboarding is to give them enough time to gain mastery over their job.
2. Workplace culture
It is one of the most important drivers of employee engagement. Organisations can build a positive and transparent workplace culture by sharing company goals, setting clear expectations, providing regular updates and maintaining proper communication. It’s all about improving openness to make employees feel valued and respected. At the same time, it’s also important for organisations to provide autonomy and ample learning and development opportunities to enhance the experience of employees.
One critical factor contributing to employee engagement in modern-day companies is the technology that helps employees boost their productivity and manage their time. A gamut of unplanned meetings, activities and tasks can be distracting for employees, often bringing down their productivity and efficiency. However, there are many tools available these days that help employees keep pace with a dynamic work environment. Such tools help them break down their goals into achievable tasks and meet deadlines.
Perhaps the most important driver of employee engagement is the leadership of the organisation itself. Employee engagement depends on the quality of leadership to a great extent. It is not only true in terms of how leaders nurture engaged employees, but also how their degree of engagement is projected to teams and groups. As such, leaders need to build trust, provide clarity on organisational purpose, ensure alignment of systems, remove bureaucracy and unleash valuable talent to create a highly engaged workforce.
How is employee engagement measured?
The following methods can help you measure the level of engagement prevailing among employees of your organisation:
1. Sentiment analysis
Sentiment analysis is a method of deriving essential information from data that’s quite subjective. It can help HR managers know the general sentiment of employees from the language they use in their online interactions. There are sentiment analysis tools that scan through chat and email data and help provide managers with an insight into toxic and unfriendly workplace behaviours in a single department or across departments. The tools maintain full anonymity while collecting the data.
2. Pulse surveys
Companies are now doing away with cumbersome annual surveys and switching to pulse surveys. These surveys offer frequent insights into the level of engagement prevailing in the organisation. This implies that there will be fewer cases of the rebuilding of employee engagement strategies and more cases of just tweaking them. But, frequent pulse surveys can lead to feedback fatigue if teams have to keep answering them often. Hence, organisations should consider administering pulse surveys using AI-powered chatbots. Since such surveys can be taken instantly and on-the-go, they are more likely to push employees to give honest responses.
3. Face-to-face interviews
It may not always be possible to retain employees in a company; however, exit interviews can give HR managers a wealth of valuable information, which can be used to increase the engagement levels of the company’s existing employees. Exit interviews often show how essential it is to regularly engage with employees to reduce turnover. It throws light on critical aspects that managers have to focus on without fail, starting from onboarding recruits and creating an impression in the 90-day-period to defining a workplace culture that engages even new employees.
How to improve employee engagement?
Here are some ways in which you can boost employee engagement in your organisation:
1. Set clear goals:
Every employee is bestowed with many goals and responsibilities to fulfil in their professional journey within the organisation. It’s common for employees to get confused about their role in the company. So, clarifying responsibilities and goals is crucial for increasing job engagement in your organisation.
2. Increase flexibility
Flexible working hours give employees the autonomy to adjust their work timings or location to strike a work-life balance. Giving employees flexible hours and doing away with the rigid 8 – 5 schedule will make them happier, as well as more productive and engaged in their work.
3. Provide rewards
Rewards and recognition make committed employees feel valued and motivate them to give their best always. They feel that they matter to the organisation and push themselves to achieve business outcomes.
4. Organise social gatherings:
Weekly gathering with peers is a great way to develop good interpersonal relationships and help employees know each other better. Some fun time with their colleagues will not only break up the boring routine but also boost creative thinking and collaboration.
5. Focus on skill development:
Creating a workplace culture that fosters continuous skill development helps workers fill knowledge gaps and perform their jobs better. It also shows that the company fully believes in the potential of its employees.
Employee engagement can lead to tremendous success for your organisation. Achieving this goal isn’t as hard as you think. You should work closely with your team to research and develop a proper employee engagement program that suits your company in the best way.