If only employee engagement were an exact science. Businesses around the world would be more productive, more creative, and have a healthier bottom line, wouldn’t they?
According to the MacLeod report on Engaging for Success, companies with high staff engagement enjoy more profit, greater growth and lower staff turnover than those with low levels of engagement. The key to business success relies heavily on employee engagement, but getting that right can be easier said than done.
Happiness versus engagement
The research into employee engagement is wide reaching and businesses are inundated with employee surveys, employer rankings and measurement tools. However, it’s easy to get lost in the data.
All too often employers lose sight of what engagement actually looks like. For one, just because you have a team of happy employees, doesn’t mean they are engaged with the business. A typical staff engagement survey determines whether an individual enjoys working at a particular company and asks whether they would recommend it as a place to work. But all that does is determines whether or not that person is happy.
A happy employee may well have a smile on their face during working hours, but will they go that extra mile to boost the company’s reputation? To be truly engaged an employee needs to be active, ambitious and enthusiastic about his or her work.
Benefits of having engaged employees
Findings from the recent Oracle Simply Talent: A Western European Perspective study revealed that 93% of employers recognise the strategic importance of employee engagement on their business. Those questioned cited collaboration between teams (65%), better business performance (61%), and improved customer service (60%) as the top three business benefits.
Other benefits include less absenteeism, greater opportunity for innovation, more effective communications, and quality improvement. All of which directly impact a business’ bottom line.
Unfortunately, the survey also showed that not enough is currently being done to drive engagement. 68% admitted that they still rely on staff surveys, while just 37% use advanced analytics to measure engagement levels.
Employee engagement ideas
If you are beginning to suspect your employees might not be as engaged as you once thought they were, you’re not alone. Happily disengaged workforces can be found in businesses far and wide.
So what can you do to better engage your happy workforce? Here are five engagement ideas that you should consider applying to your business today.
1 Know your purpose
Millennial employees make up a large part of today’s workforce – and that number is going to keep on growing. This generation place a greater emphasis on a company’s values and purpose than previous generations. Companies need to think less about what they do and how they do it, and focus more on why they do what they do to keep workers enthused and inspired.
2 Emphasize work-life balance
Not only does a good work-life balance keep employees fit and gives them more freedom, it also helps keep them engaged. Offering flexible hours and the option of working from home helps employees strike the right balance and have more time for both work and home life.
3 Praise where praise is due
Everyone likes to get a pat on the back from time to time. Make sure you let colleagues know when they have done a good job. Personally congratulating someone can mean a lot and spur them on to keep up the good work!
4 Rewarding work
If you want to go one step further than a pat on the back, offer employees incentives for doing well. A reward scheme is a great way to show you appreciate everything your employees do for the company and keep motivation high. A reward could be a bottle of wine, cinema tickets, or dinner for two.
5 Empower your employees
Nothing creates a greater sense of responsibility than having the power to make your own decisions. Give employees the opportunity to be their own leader and avoid going down the micro-management route. If staff members feel empowered they will show more respect to you and the business.
Leaders leading the way
If employees are going to feel engaged, that engagement needs to start from business leaders and work its way down through the company. Engagement is a matter of company culture so leaders need to listen, inspire, support and encourage individuals to do their very best.
Are you giving employee engagement enough of your attention?
Image: teams working – Sat morning 3 by Carbon Tippy Toes available under a CC BY SA 2.0 license