Employee engagement is central to corporate success in the 21st century. Engaged employees are interested in their work, productive and ultimately a boon to what matters most: the bottom line. Oftentimes, employee disengagement is the result of poor communication. The failure to clearly and cogently communicate with co-workers, supervisors and those who are lower on the corporate totem pole causes alienation from work. As soon as workers feel disengaged from their work and/or their employer, they will prove less productive and possibly look for outside employment, which costs organizations around $450-550 billion each year (Gallup). This is precisely why businesses of every size and type must remain connected to their workers.
Highly engaged employees are 87% less likely to leave their place of work
(Source: The Muse)
An Explanation of Employee Engagement in Plain English
Employee engagement is a meaningful interest in one’s work. Engaged employees are invested in their work and the company values which they collectively represent. Alternatively, disengaged employees are alienated from their work and employer. A disengaged employee feels as though his or her efforts are irrelevant and unimportant. Companies that successfully engage their workforce have a fantastic retention rate, enjoy improved productivity and higher profitability.
Strategies to Boost Employee Engagement
Communication is the name of the employee engagement game. Employers must communicate with employees at a high frequency to ensure they are well-informed and feel valued. The manner in which communication occurs is just as important as its frequency. Managers and executives should be aware of the manner in which employees prefer to communicate. Some employees prefer email while others favor face-to-face interpersonal interactions. Certain employees enjoy filling out worker satisfaction surveys while others prefer periodic interviews with managers.
Wawa, for example, recognized the varying needs of their hourly shift workers, who didn’t even have company emails, compared to that of their corporate counterparts. They knew that the best way to effectively engage their frontline with timely, relevant information in order to create a great in-store experience for customers and employees alike, was through their smartphones. You can read more about their story here.
Above all, employees want to feel as though their feedback is significant. As detailed in this informative CNBC article, 60% of workers are willing to accept a pay cut to work for an empathetic employer. This means employees desperately want their employer to treat them as human beings as opposed to cogs in a machine. It is not enough to merely ask employees for their thoughts and feelings about the organization. Rather, this input must be used to enhance the workplace, keep employees engaged, and heighten employee retention rate.
Companies that make a genuine effort to listen to employee feedback and incorporate their suggestions create a desirable workplace that bolsters worker retention rate and boosts profitability. Implement employee suggestions at your workplace and you will find employees really do prove that much more engaged with their work, colleagues, clients, and the company as a whole.
37% of employees consider recognition as most important in boosting their productivity level.
Employee Engagement Affects Company Success
Some employers assume employee engagement is solely important for boosting worker morale and keeping as many current employees on board as possible. Though hiking employee engagement is certainly important for worker morale, it also benefits the overarching company as well. Engaged workers enjoy a much more positive workplace experience that motivates them not only to remain at their current positions but also to put forth their best effort on a daily basis.
Truly engaged employees feel as though their personal interest is aligned with that of their employer. As Ann Latham explains in this insightful Forbes piece, employee engagement should be thought of as a symptom of success. Workers who feel positive about their contributions to the company’s collective interest are that much more likely to feel good about working for the business, ultimately proving that much more engaged.
Highly-engaged workers give their all every single day, proving productive to the point that their effort makes a meaningful impact on the bottom line. As long as the employer reciprocates this contribution with positive reinforcement in the form of pay increases or other benefits, the employees are likely to remain engaged moving forward.