Employee engagement? Of course you’ve heard of it, but as for what it actually means, well…
Don’t worry – if you’re a little unclear on the ins-and-outs of employee engagement, you’re not the only one. And yes, we’ve got you covered!
We put together this guide to give you a better understanding of what employee engagement is, why it matters and how to engage your workforce and add value to your business.
Employee engagement can be summed up as “the nature of the relationship between an organization and its employees.”
In other words, it’s the connection an employee feels to their place of work, and their willingness to do their best work in order to contribute to the organization’s success.
And you’re sure I really need to think about this?
If you’re wondering, “but does it actually matter?”, the answer is simple: yup, you bet it does.
Employee engagement is directly related to pretty much every aspect of your business – from revenue to customer experience to employee turnover – which means it should probably be considered a top priority.
Still not convinced? Alright, did you know that engaged employees are more likely to…
- Stay with a company longer
- Have better morale
- Have lower absenteeism
- Motivate others
- Act as brand ambassadors to customers, clients and potential new hires
- Be more productive
- Be more efficient
- Communicate better with both colleagues and management
- Be eager to learn and grow their role within the organization
- Be invested in the organization’s long-term success
And on the other hand…
Disengaged employees can have a direct impact on your business, too – but this time it’s not such a good thing. The reality is that disengagement = decreased productivity, increased absenteeism and, well, remember all the ways that engaged employees benefit an organization? Picture that, but the opposite.
Okay, okay – so, what can I do?
We were hoping you’d ask, because – good news! – there are a ton of ways you can boost employee engagement and provide an environment where your team is connected, challenged and recognized for their contributions to your organization.
Help them understand the importance of their role
Make sure each of your employees understands the importance of their role within the organization. Be clear about expectations and provide them with the training and tools they’ll need to perform their job well and to be successful.
If you want to motivate you team (and you do, trust us), communicate clearly how the work they’re doing is contributing to the overall success of the business.
Communicate the big picture
If you want your team to be engaged, communication is essential. Your company goals, your mission, your values – all that big stuff needs to be shared with your employees.
Let them know what’s going on (and why), encourage feedback and provide a platform for conversation.
Ask for their input (and act on it!)
Conducting regular employee surveys or focus groups is a great way to let employees know that their opinion matters to you.
Encourage your team to share feedback and ideas, and then take action where possible, using their insights to solve organizational problems.
Provide a path for growth and development
It’s no surprise that bored employees are not engaged employees. New challenges and development and learning opportunities are essential elements of engagement, helping show your team they’re valued and that you’re invested in their future with the organization.
Grow your employees by offering leadership training, mentorship programs and outlets for honest conversations about growth and career goals.
Support and recognition
Employees are more engaged when they feel appreciated and supported by their employer, simple as that. Your team needs to know you appreciate the work they do and that you recognize all the contributions they make to the organization.
Effective leaders get to know their employees as individuals, offer praise and recognition whenever possible and actively listen to both positive and negative feedback. Effective leaders definitely do not take their team for granted.
Recently, the demand for flexibility in the workplace has skyrocketed and companies that show understanding and compassion for each employee’s individual circumstances experience significantly less turnover than those who insist on the good ol’ fashioned 9 to 5.
Obviously, in some situations, an employee needs to be at a certain place at a certain time and there really isn’t any way around it. That’s fine! No one expects you to figure out how to have a heavy equipment operator do their job from their living room.
The best course of action is to have an honest conversation with your employee, listen to their concerns and see if you can come up with a solution that works for both of you.
Employee engagement + COVID-19
Maybe your entire team’s working from home, maybe most of you are still on-site but maintaining a safe distance. Regardless of the particulars, we can all agree that the pandemic has changed how we work in a huge way.
Because of this, we’ve added this *bonus section* to help you ensure your team continues to feel engaged and supported as we continue to adapt to doing business during COVID-19.
- A friendly reminder that work isn’t everything
All work and no play is a recipe for disaster. If you’ve seen The Shining, you know what we’re talking about. It’s important for your team to know you don’t expect them to be working around the clock, even if their office is at their kitchen table.
Encourage your employees to take time for themselves and also to connect with family and friends; to close ‘er down at the end of the day and to not spend the evening checking emails. Oh, and to take their vacation days (even with nowhere to go).
Check in on your team. Make sure they’re doing okay.
- Explain exactly how you’re working to keep them safe
Employees are stressed out, heck, who isn’t? Provide clarity amidst chaos by communicating to your team what actions you’re taking to ensure their safety as the pandemic continues.
As your action-plan changes, keep your employees in the loop. Let them know what’s happening, why it’s happening, and open the floor to questions.
- Creativity, meet org chart
Out with the old, in with the new – org chart that is. By repurposing or reskilling your team you can avoid layoffs and move employees into new areas of the business where they can contribute most effectively.
The best part of employee engagement plans – they’re customizable
Your business is unique, so it only makes sense that your employee engagement plan is, too. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution for empowering an engaged workforce, so you may have to conduct a little research to figure out what your employees really care about.
So where do we start?
If you’re not sure where to begin, start with your onboarding and training program. This is where you’ll introduce your company, share your values and vision and set out clear goals and expectations. First impressions count, especially when it comes to your business!
Keen to learn more? Check out our onboarding guide!