Have you heard employers use the word ‘tribe’ while referring to their employees like they’re part of one big family? Over time, workplaces have started to focus on building a culture that is employee-centric.
The more employers invest in their employees, the more empowered and dedicated their employees feel, which enhances their contribution. This process of interacting with employees, and recognizing and prioritizing their needs is known as employee engagement.
Let’s look at the different ways in which employee engagement techniques can be efficiently adopted by organizations.
Defining Employee Engagement
Over the years, employee engagement has become an integral part of both human resources and standard management strategies. Efforts to boost employee engagement are prioritized because modern-day workplaces demand more than just the nine-to-five routine. Organizations want their employees to be involved in a more holistic way. In addition to staying committed to their roles, organizations want employees to contribute to the overall goal-setting process.
In this scenario, employee engagement becomes an effective tool to help employees develop commitment towards their organizations. If employees feel ‘engaged’, it’ll influence their attitude and motivation at the workplace. Their engagement can be a key differentiator when it comes to innovation and growth. Successful organizations depend on dedicated people to drive their business goals.
Organizations often confuse employee engagement with employee satisfaction. The latter indicates the overall satisfaction of an employee. It isn’t a good measure of employee involvement, motivation or emotional commitment. You need to create an environment that determines an employee’s well-being and encourages them to grow in their career. Positive workplace culture can improve an employee’s commitment and dedication to their work.
Importance Of Employee Engagement
Employee engagement looks different in every organization, but the benefits of a highly-engaged organization is consistent no matter how different the industry or culture is. Here are a few factors that showcase the importance of employee engagement:
1. Boost In Productivity
High-performing companies strive for better employee engagement because engaged employees often identify the best business solutions. Engaged employees are more likely to be invested in their roles and responsibilities. Moreover, if an organization recognizes and celebrates their work, employees feel accountable. They’re motivated to get out of their comfort zone and utilize their untapped potential, boosting productivity and leading to better business outcomes.
2. Increased Employee Retention
A low retention rate isn’t a healthy sign for any organization. If you lose the best employees, it could push even other employees to leave. Disengaged employees are unable to form a strong connection with the organization and, therefore, get demotivated. But efficient employee engagement makes employees feel valued, thereby increasing their involvement in the organization and making it difficult for them to leave.
3. Improved Company Culture
When organizations define their values, it becomes easier to establish the kind of culture they’d like to build. If employees are made to realize the overall mission and vision of the organization, they understand their roles and responsibilities better. They’re encouraged to build and uphold the company culture.
4. Decreased Absenteeism
Absenteeism is one of the most common symptoms of low employee engagement. Absenteeism can delay meeting project deadlines or harm workplace relationships. However, employees who feel enthusiastic and passionate about their roles tend to find it difficult to miss work on a frequent basis. Organizations could talk to the individual and understand the reasons behind their absenteeism. One-on-one conversations between a manager and their team member can help address this issue.
5. Greater Commitment
Compassion, empathy and open communication go a long way in maintaining workplace relationships. If organizations want employees to commit to their work, they should commit to their well-being first. If people receive constructive feedback, they can better identify areas for improvement. The more people work on their personal growth, the more they can contribute to professional development. Engaged employees focus on the organization’s commitments in addition to their individual commitments.
Building Employee Engagement
There are many ways in which organizations try to foster employee engagement. Young companies, especially start-ups, experiment with employee engagement quite a bit. Some examples of employee engagement techniques include installing ping-pong or foosball tables, having break-out rooms and coffee lounges. However, there is more to employee engagement than just entertainment. Here’s how you can increase employee engagement at your organization:
1. Have An Engaged Purpose
An ‘engaged purpose’ is a written statement that communicates what your organization does, for whom and why. Often, a company’s overall purpose, mission or vision statements are dedicated to customers or shareholders. If you create an internal written purpose for your employees, they can connect with the organization’s principles better.
2. Measure Engagement Regularly
The first step to improving anything is to measure it. But defining employee engagement isn’t easy, let alone measuring it. However, there are multiple metrics that come together to define employee engagement—feedback, recognition, personal growth, satisfaction, relationships with managers and peers, wellness and happiness. If you measure engagement, it shows that you’re dedicated to making a conscious effort to help your employees feel good at work.
3. Make Space For Vulnerability
Provide your employees with a safe space that allows them to be vulnerable and open about providing feedback or insights. The best way to make employee engagement a focus area is to listen to your teams. Understand what makes them happy and how they would like the company to help them out. For example, anonymous surveys are a good tool for encouraging employees to speak up about the areas of improvement at the workplace.
4. Take Action Immediately
Once you receive employee feedback, you should try to act on it immediately. Some actionable items may be more time-consuming but it’s important for you to identify the simple tasks. Through small but quick wins, you can show your employees that you’ll make the necessary changes to accommodate their demands. It’ll also show that you keep your people’s best interests in mind.
Harappa Education’s Managing Teamwork course will teach you how to work with different team members and their working styles. You’ll also learn how to better utilize your emotional intelligence skills. The Social Styles model will help you learn the four common styles of working in a team. Embrace the art of giving and receiving feedback and successfully engage your team.
Debunking Employee Engagement Myths
There isn’t any concrete definition of employee engagement, so most organizations struggle to develop employee engagement strategies. Some organizations even fall prey to some common myths attached to this popular buzzword. Here are a few myths you should be careful about:
1. Higher Pay Means Better Employee Engagement
As we’ve already established, organizations often confuse employee satisfaction with employee engagement. It’s important to differentiate between the two because employee satisfaction is a transactional relationship. When you offer higher pay or more benefits, people may be satisfied but you will have to assess if they are content too. Employee engagement addresses people’s emotional needs for a long-term and mutually beneficial relationship.
2. Hands-on Management Hampers Engagement
It’s often considered that employee engagement is about removing the leadership hierarchy. You want to give the employees the freedom to function independently because it leads to better engagement. While it’s true that you should give people the necessary space to grow on their own, it’s important to leverage great leadership. Find appropriate ways of encouraging leaders to guide and manage their teams. Better guidance and mentorship will lead to better management leading to higher engagement.
3. Perks Are Necessary For Engagement
We often see successful organizations offering exciting perks like nap-pods or free cooking classes to make the workplace fun. Perks are an effective way of boosting employee happiness but they don’t necessarily help in developing employee engagement. You can’t expect employees to put their hearts and minds to their work by providing them with short-term benefits. Meaningful work comes from strategies that help employees constantly work towards self-improvement.
It can be difficult to engage employees, especially when everybody’s working from home. A good way of going about it is to build effective channels of communication. Virtual team-building activities are becoming more and more popular. Organize quizzes or use online communication tools to stay connected. Engage and encourage!
Explore our Harappa Diaries section to know more about the topic related to the Collaborate habit such as Teamwork, Importance of Rapport, How to be Happy at Work, Building Relationships, How to Say Sorry professionally & Work-Life Balance in order to develop your collaboration skills.
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