With 71% of executives stating how crucial employee engagement is to their company success, the value of having a strategy to keep your staff engagement levels as high as they possibly can be, has never been more crucial.
So, what is employee engagement?
Employee engagement definition:
Employee engagement looks at the relationship between an employee and their organisation and is primarily focused on the emotional commitment that an individual has to their organisation and its goals. The belief being, that the more engaged the employee, the more motivated and productive they will be in helping contribute to the overall success of that organisation.
Why is employee engagement important?
The reason why employee engagement is so valuable is down to its ability to positively benefit many areas of a business. While studies have demonstrated how high engagement levels in staff can generate 26% higher revenue per employee, it has also been proven to help reduce staff turnover, generate greater efficiencies and even benefit customer retention rates.
When you’re engaged it infuses everything you do with purpose, energy and enthusiasm. So, its therefore not too surprising to see why more and more organisations are looking at how they can develop employee engagement strategies, to get the best out of their employees, and to also enable them to build a stronger company culture.
Staff engagement ideas
So, what is staff engagement? And why should I worry about getting a strategy and set of tactics in place to help with this?
Staff engagement is all about how your employees relate to your organisation, with those who are the most engaged about what you do, typically working the hardest, looking to stay the longest in their role and more likely to contribute the most to your company's bottom line. So, it pays to have a staff engagement strategy in place with a host of employee engagement initiatives, which will help to ensure as many of your employees as possible are reaching those higher levels of engagement.
An effective employee engagement strategy should include an initial assessment of existing problems, before working with employees on solutions and changes, which will help foster greater employee involvement, job satisfaction and overall contentment with what they’re doing.
When you consider that staff disengagement and disconnection issues often occur when employees feel unappreciated and undervalued by their employer, the importance of employee engagement and its value to your wider business cannot be overstated. So, it’s vital to get to the root of the problems in your initial assessment, before looking at any initiatives you can implement to help and improve this.
The best way to increase your understanding about how your employees are currently feeling is through an employee survey as the questions you ask can reveal insight areas which may be harming engagement levels throughout your organisation.
How is employee engagement measured?
From absenteeism and employee turnover rates, to the ongoing review of sales and production figures. There are a number of different metrics you can use to measure engagement levels. However, the questions from an employee survey offer an extremely effective way to measure this and the feelings behind it. To simplify the measurement process you could start with quantitative questions and follow these up with qualitative ones to better understand the reasoning behind a particular score, rating or answer choice.
Whether it’s the level of emotional commitment that your workforce demonstrates towards their work, your business or your shared company goals. Whatever it is, knowing how to measure employee engagement is crucial if you’re to get to the root of what might be causing them to disengage or disconnect and make steps to improve their contentment and the strength of your company culture. And your survey questions are critical to this process.
There are several key areas that your employee engagement survey needs to explore if you’re to maximise the value you will obtain from your results. While reviewing employee job satisfaction can enable you to examine how challenged and tested staff feel in their roles, by exploring their relationships with colleagues and managers, and their views on career development and your company identity, you can assess their wider commitment to your organisation and its shared goals as well. For more in-depth detail about these five areas and how they can influence employee engagement, you may also like to read our earlier ‘How Employee Engagement Surveys Help Create Greater Business Success’ blog piece.
How to use employee engagement to increase motivation levels
Once you have issued your employee engagement survey and have collected and analysed its feedback, you’ll be in a much better position to know, which areas of your business you need to improve.
However, whatever it is you need to work on, there are some more general ideas and initiatives you could consider implementing as part of an employee engagement strategy, to boost overall levels of staff motivation throughout your organisation:
Think about ways to make your workplace more fun: Whether it’s celebrating employees’ birthdays, or some other significant milestone, or charity fundraising and dress down days, any initiatives that lighten the mood can help create a greater sense of camaraderie and good will among colleagues.
What employee perks and incentives can you introduce? From free food and gym discounts, to allowing employees to take duvet days or work more flexible hours. There’s a range of different activities you could consider introducing to improve the health, well-being and ultimately the motivation and engagement levels of your staff. In addition, if you were to run staff benefit surveys you would be able to get a better idea of how your pay and any incentives you introduced were being perceived throughout your workforce.
Never forget to praise an employee for a job well done: One quick and powerful way of re-energising an employee, which shouldn’t just be limited to their yearly review is to praise them for something they completed to a high standard. Whether it’s highlighting their success in a company meeting or team email, or establishing a rewards system for those who have gone above and beyond the level of what’s normally expected, making employees feel valued in this way can be hugely inspirational for the rest of your workforce.
Corporate social responsibility: It is predicted that by 2025, millennials will make up 75% of the workforce, with the majority of this group wanting to work for a more socially responsible company. Subsequently, if you don’t already have one, it makes good sense to develop an effective CSR strategy, which will not only help you to attract new recruits from this age group, but also engage and retain the ones you already employ.
If you're looking to implement new ideas such as this to increase motivation and engagement, then why not incorporate them as part of your survey.
Whilst you may like the idea of a gym discount, you may find that your workforce would prefer free cinema tickets. It is quick and simple to validate your engagement strategies if you incorporate them into your survey, helping you to strike the right balance and implement rewards, recognition and perks that truly resonate with your employees.
Start or improve your employee engagement strategy
Whether you're at the beginning of your journey or are a seasoned veteran, there are always new studies and fresh ideas you can incorporate to your strategy to further improve relationships, happiness, engagement and productivity.
However, its important to have an employee engagement strategy in place, so you know where you are right now, where you want to get to and how you will measure success to see whether you're achieving positive change.
If you're new to your role or employee engagement as a concept, a great place to start is to understand the current landscape and use an employee engagement survey to take the pulse of your workforce, which can provide a solid foundation from which you can build your strategy. With a clearer picture, you can then look to realise the benefits improved engagement can bring such as greater productivity, efficiencies, reductions in staff turnover and an improved customer retention rate, while knowing what you need to do to achieve them.