When employees communicate well, are excited to go to work, collaborate with each other and have healthy team dynamics, chances are that they are highly engaged. Employee engagement affects these and more aspects of the employee experience. It is the level to which employees feel mentally and emotionally connected to their jobs.
Employee engagement will also affect customer relations and profitability of businesses. To maintain it, there are aspects of employee engagement every organisation should consider.
Before deploying the elements of employee engagement, it is necessary to measure where your employee engagement stands.
How to measure employee engagement
This will reveal what exactly needs to be improved. Surveys and one-on-one conversations are some of the tactics that can be used to measure employee engagement. However, you need to plan a measuring strategy that covers some of the following areas:
Identifying what is important to your employees
Use surveys that seek to find out what is important to your employees. This way you will be able to create engagement drivers that will actually have an impact.
It should be continuous
Employee engagement cannot be measured once. Rather it is an area that needs to be revisited time and again. Your measuring strategy should have a schedule for how often you will get employee feedback.
Survey all your staff
It might seem effective to only survey a sample of staff but this will not give a true picture of how engagement stands. Design an engaging survey and administer it to all staff.
Tailor the measurement to specific groups
Once you have measured all the staff, you may receive data that indicates that a certain group or team has a different experience. Delve deeper by asking these different groups more specific questions.
Once you have the results, employees can be classified as highly engaged, moderately engaged, barely engaged and disengaged.
Highly engaged: These hold the workplace and the work they do in high regard. They go out of their way and put extra effort to help the company succeed. They also speak positively about the company outside of work.
Moderately engaged: These employees view the company positively but they see areas for improvement. They are unlikely to go the extra mile or ask for more responsibility.
Barely engaged: This group exhibits low motivation and will only do what they need to do. They do not dislike the workplace, but neither do they like it.
Disengaged: This group has a negative view of the workplace and may tell others about this. They do not feel an affinity with the values or goals at work. Their attitude can have a negative impact on those around them.
Once you have the results, set about improving or maintaining engagement if it is high.
10 elements of employee engagement
Trust is essential if you wish to have a highly engaged workforce. This includes a number of things: bosses trusting employees to take on new tasks, management sharing information with employees about how the company is performing and employees trusting that they can share failures with their supervisors.
It also extends to trust between colleagues and team mates. It makes for an engaged staff when employees feel like they don’t need to walk around on eggshells in the workplace.
Workplaces should strive to create and maintain a positive workplace culture. Culture constitutes the behaviours and customs of the workplace. Some aspects of culture may be intangible but if it is positive, it will result in employees who are happy to come to work. In addition to improved engagement, a positive culture can improve productivity and profitability.
Yet another element of employee engagement is professional growth. Have an employee development program to ensure that employees are continuously improving their skills. While there might be specific areas required for all employees, ask specific employees what areas they are interested in and skill them in these as well.
Ward off employee stagnation through conferences, work retreats and online courses. Mentorship and shadowing of senior colleagues is another means of professional development.
Nothing can be as demotivating as continuously doing good work and receiving no recognition. According to one employee survey report, employees wanted their boss to give them more recognition more than they wanted frequent check ins (8%) and career growth (19%)
Pay attention to high achievers and reward them. An employee recognition and rewards program can make this even easier. Don’t forget to include informal ways for showing recognition. This will encourage a culture of gratitude amongst staff. Plus, recognition shouldn’t only be reserved for employees who hit targets. Recognise employees who served customers well and who helped colleagues out.
Good communication in the workplace is a big driver for engagement. Without it, tasks may go undone or get done wrongly. It is prudent to set up clear lines of communication in the workplace.
Some parts of communication lie in culture. What is the relationship between managers and their staff? Do employees interact outside of work? If the workplace supports such, they will help positive communication.
There should be open communication between upper management and the staff. Letting staff know how the business is performing will make them feel like part of the company as opposed to just workers.
Good leaders foster retention, improve morale and positively affect culture. Offer comprehensive periodic leadership training right from senior management to team leaders. These training sessions should include knowledge on soft skills like listening, creativity, problem solving, empathy and emotional intelligence.
Engaged employees understand the big picture and how they fit into it. A clearly communicated vision and an understanding of core values give employees something to rally around. If employees feel like a part of something bigger than themselves, they are much more likely to go above and beyond to contribute to that greater purpose.
For employees to be engaged at work their tasks should be challenging but doable. Too easy work doesn’t give a sense of satisfaction upon completion.
If employees are doing their work right, they should master their tasks in time. This is where the need for professional growth and advancement come in. Learning new things and taking on new challenging tasks every so often will boost employee engagement.
Employees need to be able to answer questions such as “Why am i doing this job?” and “What is the point of this?” While meaning to work can be deeply individual and vary from one employee to the next, management can help by articulating the benefits of one’s work to other stakeholders.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
Closely related to having meaningful work is CSR. CSR drives engagement because employees know that their efforts are impacting someone else. This works even better if employees have a hand in selecting the charities or activities that the organisation supports.
Employee engagement is always going to be important to businesses. This is because it affects all aspects of an organisation, both internal and external. Luckily, there are numerous elements of employee engagement that you can deploy.
It is however important to do this after understanding where engagement rates lie and getting an understanding of which specific elements will work for your employees.