It is almost impossible to overstate the importance of employee engagement. Not only is employee engagement directly linked to higher levels of productivity and efficiency, but it also leads to a happier workforce, which in turn, creates a more positive working environment and reduces employee turnover. This guide is here to help you develop a deeper understanding of the importance of employee engagement, as well as offer some actionable insights as to how you can increase engagement in your workplace.
What is Employee Engagement?
Employee engagement refers to a state when an employee feels a heightened emotional connection for their organization, which motivates them to exert greater discretionary effort on their work. An engaged employee is defined as one who feels involved, committed, passionate, and empowered and who demonstrates these feelings in their behaviors towards work.
The Effects of Employee Engagement
Employee engagement can have effects in a range of different areas; for example, employee retention, productivity, profitability, customer loyalty and the working environment are all altered by levels of engagement. However, the effects of employee engagement are not only felt in isolated areas, but can have a significant influence on the overall performance of an organization.
The consulting firm Tower Perrin studied 50 global companies over 12 months to analyze the relationship between employee engagement and company performance. The study noticed that companies with high levels of employee engagement saw a 19% increase in operating income and a 28% increase in earnings per share.
The research also saw the effects of low-level employee engagement, as companies experienced a fall of 32% in operating income, with earnings per share also dropping at more than 11%. The findings of the Tower Perrin study are by no means unique. A Gallup study, which involved 23,910 companies, compared the business units of the top and bottom quartiles of engagement scores and found those in the top quartile averaged 12% higher profitability.
Despite the numerous studies that have been conducted, all of which illustrate the very real fiscal benefit of employee engagement, it is still largely lacking for many businesses, as the majority of employees are not actively engaged. The Global Workforce Study, surveyed 88,600 employees across 18 countries and found that only 21% of this workforce was engaged.
Why is Employee Engagement Currently So Low?
Unfortunately, the answer to low levels of employee engagement is not quite as simple and distinct as a failing human resources department. High levels of employee engagement rely on a variety of different factors, the first being recruitment.
Recruitment for Employee Engagement
Hiring the right people for the job is the first step to ensuring high levels of employee engagement. When hiring for engagement, it is important to focus on both the expertise and the interests of the individual. The reason for this dual focus is because engagement is increased when an employee feels interested in the work they are doing, as well as having the skills or training necessary to complete the work to a high standard.
The next point on the timeline of fostering employee engagement is training. Induction for new employees and training for staff that have been in the company for a while will offer growth and development opportunities, which inspire employee engagement.
Monitoring Engagement Levels
Once you have found, hired, and trained the right employees for the job, it can be easy to lose focus on employee engagement. To achieve the highest levels of engagement, it is important to regularly check in with your employees. Historically, checking employee engagement has been neglected, with supervisors and managers instead checking on the progress of individual tasks. Employee engagement and well-being surveys like those from inpulse.com help you really understand what your employees are feeling, giving you insights which can then be used to inform engagement strategies.
Rewarding Hard Work
One of the reasons employees are increasingly disengaged in our modern workplace is because they are unable to see the outcome of their hard work. Not seeing any real consequence of their work other than their salary can have a big impact on the morale of an employee. To help combat this, managers can have regular meetings where they outline the outcomes of a project, explaining how the team’s individual efforts affect the overall success. If such regular meetings are not feasible, then offering rewards for work well done can play a similar role.
For these rewards to be most effective, they should be judged on a personal basis to offer a reward that the individual would value most. Efforts like these are a great way to make an employee feel valued by a large organization, as well as helping them to understand the very real effect their work has on the overall success of the company.