Exactly what is meant by Employee Engagement?
The first thing to understand about employee engagement is that it is a full time activity. It is one thing your staff members being happy when taking part in meetings or attending company events, but you have to ensure that they are equally happy in the day to day running of their job.
Wikipedia defines employee engagement as “a property of the relationship between an organization and its employees. An “engaged employee” is one who is fully absorbed by and enthusiastic about their work and so takes positive action to further the organization’s reputation and interests”
In simple terms it is the level of contentment, engagement and enthusiasm that an employee feels towards their employer. A fully engaged employee will produce more, contribute more and develop better relationships with work colleagues.
The Benefits of Employee Engagement
Increased Retention Rates
Good employee engagement results in happy staff members, who are less likely to go looking for positions in other companies. It is estimated that training a new employee can cost as much as 40% of their annual salary. It is therefore imperative to create a happy working environment in which your staff feels contented.
It goes without saying that people who feel committed to their job will go the extra yard to make a success of it. Forbes reported* that a Gallup poll found productivity increased up to 21% by having a positive employee engagement.
Improved Customer Service
Fully engaged staff members not only interact with colleagues better but also with your customers. This means that your customer satisfaction rates will see a significant increase.
As the working culture in your office improves with your increased employee engagement, so you will notice new innovative ideas being put forward. It is for this very reason that innovation driven companies like Apple, for example, spend so much time and effort on ensuring that they have a fully engaged staff.
Clearly engaged staff will be working at a more efficient level, this means more profit for your company. A Wyatt Watson study showed that increased employee engagement meant a revenue rise of 25%
Improved Worker Satisfaction
Happy staff are more satisfied, take less time off, are more punctual and less likely to leave, it really is a win-win.
How to Establish a Good Employee Engagement Culture
Establishing a good employee engagement culture starts right at the beginning with their training. Always ensure that they are fully understanding of their duties and responsibilities. This encourages confidence and confident staff perform better. Make sure that they understand their goals as well. A clearly stated list of goals will give them the tools they need. Employees need to know where they fit within the company structure and be offered a clear line as to promotional opportunities.
Build a good company ethos by ensuring that good work does not go unnoticed. Always praise their efforts, a kind word goes a long way in team building. Make sure that career development is clearly explained. A Gallup poll * showed that 87% of millennials (and 69% of non-millennials) saw career development as vitally important in their jobs. Give your employees the opportunity to think for themselves, to problem solve. Too much micromanagement destroys confidence.
Improving Your Employee Engagement strategies
To improve your core employee engagement strategies just takes a little forward thinking and planning. When building your teams, take individual personalities into account to ensure that they will work well together. Encourage your teams to have their own sets of values. Within those teams make sure that you develop a culture where they feel confident enough to tackle their own personal projects, and also ensure that your company values are fully understood and adhered to.
When a new member joins your company, assign a mentor for them. This will make them feel at home and also improve their learning. From time to time have themed office days and have team photos taken. Of course everyone likes a break on company time also, so consider activity based team building trips.
Many companies now, particularly those working abroad, get involved in charities. This is a way of putting something back into local communities but the trade off is that staff members generally really enjoy being involved. If any staff member has a personal favourite charity, always encourage their efforts. It is a well known fact that attrition rates cost millions. By adhering to these ideas you will have more money available to raise salaries regularly. This in turn improves retention and employee engagement.
Overall, generally the best way to improve your employee engagement is to foster a feeling of harmony, respect and value among your employees. Celebrate their achievements and celebrate them as people, let them know that there are not just number in your organisation but a highly respected member of a valued team. Always give and encourage feedback from all parties. Going for drinks after work is an opportunity for employees to really start getting to know each other and you.
In short build a family not a work roster, trust and not mistrust and mutual respect.