Why is everyone talking about employee engagement? And what exactly is it? Well, simply put, employee engagement measures how passionate employees are about the work they do, how loyal they feel towards the company they work for and whether or not they’re willing to go the extra mile. It is NOT the same as employee satisfaction, though it IS just as, if not more, important.
Okay, but why is this such a hot topic? Well, according to Gallup, “disengaged employees not only erode an organization’s bottom line but could cost an estimated $300 billion in lost productivity. It has been proven time and time again: engaged employees are more profitable, productive, customer-focused, safe and likely to stay with your organization”.
Additional research has shown that the downside of low employee engagement can be a heavy price to pay for the United States economy as well. Various estimates put the cost between $450 to $550 billion per year. On the plus side, a 2016 Gallup study showed that companies in the top percentile for employee engagement outperform their competitors in many categories such as 21% higher profits, 20% increase in productivity and 25-60% lower turnover.
Finally, the findings of a Forbes Insights and SilkRoad survey of 212 United States-based CFOs and financial executives revealed that the fastest-growing firms put greater emphasis on understanding their employees and engaging them compared with slower-growing firms.
So, employee engagement does matter. It matters a lot.
Do you know whether your company has low or high employee engagement? If not, what are a few ways you could measure this? One easy and cost-effective solution is an annual company-wide survey which can provide insight and trends to how your employees are feeling. Another is optimizing various apps such as Keyhubs Voice or Trakstar that provide real-time feedback on employee emotional engagement.
However, nothing can replace superior management who display a genuine interest and have a strong connection with their people. In addition, we believe leaders should strive to provide an environment where their people:
1. Are Strongly Connected
Develop strong personal ties by paying attention to what’s important to your people, professionally and personally. Enhance personal touches by sharing lunch and/or coffee breaks as well as with some good, old-fashioned listening.
2. Obtain Recognition
Most people strive to make a difference and like to be recognized for it. By moving from simply measuring individual performance to evaluating the entire team’s performance, you have the ability to create a “team spirit” and feelings of greater contributions to the greater cause.
3. Have Choice
Be willing to delegate more and empower people (within guidelines) so they can make more choices and have more control of their tasks.
4. Are Provided With Challenges
Give your people projects that stretch them and their abilities, especially if it takes them outside of their comfort zone!
5. Encouraged to Laugh
Humor IS allowed at work. I have mentioned this several times in previous articles. Generate laughter and fun by providing an environment where people can relax and joke around. Be sure to set some boundaries though so people know when things should be taken seriously.
Having engaged employees is a fundamental part of any successful business. It will become increasingly important as Generation Y and Millennials have more influence in the workplace. Get ahead of this now so you can enjoy watching your people show initiative, take pride in their careers and demonstrate an eagerness to take on new projects.