Engaged employees genuinely care about their work and want to make a meaningful contribution.
To them, it’s not just about the pay cheque. Is this your staff?
The definition of employee engagement is a workforce that feels an emotional connection to the organization and its values. It’s not just about the paycheck. Engaged employees genuinely care about their work and want to make a meaningful contribution. While every worker adds to a company’s bottom line, dedicated and enthusiastic, engaged employees add much more.
Employee engagement is a must-have for any business seeking that crucial competitive advantage in 2022. The Great Resignation is now a worldwide phenomenon. Lost productivity and increased recruitment and onboarding costs are impacting company profits. However, those organizations with highly engaged employees are successfully riding the waves of change.
This ultimate guide to employee engagement covers everything you need to know to succeed. All your questions are answered, from employee engagement drivers and success measures to surveys and tracking software.
We begin by looking at the benefits of employee engagement and why it is critical to profitability and performance.
Companies like Gallup have undertaken extensive research into the impacts of employee engagement. And the evidence is unequivocal. According to Gallup, there is a direct link between employee engagement and a company’s financial health and profitability. Among the many benefits of employee engagement are the following:
An engaged workforce means staff:
The bottom line is employee engagement drives performance. Businesses with engaged workforces consistently outperform the competition and are 21% more profitable. (source: Gallup.com)
When it comes to employee engagement drivers, there are two main categories: organizational drivers and management drivers.
How the company works in practice greatly influences employee engagement. Internal communications, trust in senior management, and investment in training and development are crucial here. Also important is the commitment leaders have, to make the company a great place to work.
A good relationship with an immediate supervisor is a key driver of employee engagement. Managers are responsible for setting clear performance expectations and ensuring workers have the necessary tools to get the job done. Furthermore, managers should give staff freedom and autonomy to make decisions.
Also important in the context of key drivers for employee engagement is strategic alignment. Workers should have a strong sense of the big picture and where the organization is heading. Strategic alignment ensures employees have that overall clarity of purpose. And, perhaps more importantly, they understand their contribution to making it happen.
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to boosting employee engagement. However, there are various steps you can take. And when it comes to increasing employee engagement, these small steps soon add up to a giant leap.
Here’s a selection of employee engagement activities your business could introduce:
Engagement starts with onboarding
Employee onboarding sets expectations for the worker’s entire tenure with your organization. Done well, and from day one, staff will feel aligned to corporate goals and invested in the company’s success.
Recognize workers’ efforts
A culture of appreciation has a significant impact. A public thank-you, employee, or team of the month programs and peer-to-peer recognition with Slack shout-outs are just some of the ways you can recognize employees.
Invest in professional development
Supporting employees to develop professional skills sends a strong signal about how much you care. Possibilities here include lunch and learn events, webinars, and on-the-job coaching, plus external courses and workshops.
Promote two-way communication
Create opportunities for workers to share their insights and feedback. Examples include blogs, pulse surveys, staff newsletters, and business IM. Open and transparent two-way communication improves decision-making and reinforces the message that staff matter.
Hybrid and distributed teams plus remote working now dominate the modern workplace. This shift towards flexible working combined with the Great Resignation’s impact has brought about a rethink on employee engagement. What worked before the onset of Covid-19 may not necessarily be so effective now.
So, what new employee engagement initiatives are on the horizon in 2022? Here are some of the emerging employee engagement ideas you need to know.
Maintaining human connections
The sense of isolation and loneliness reported by those working from home has highlighted employers’ need to ensure staff remains connected. Business IM platforms and employee engagement software have helped bridge the gap. Real-time communication speeds up decision-making. And team members can continue to enjoy the casual conversations and human connections that underpin every successful workplace.
Employee wellness initiatives
Looking after staff wellbeing has taken center stage since the pandemic. A range of innovative employee engagement activities has emerged, including Zoom yoga, steps challenges, Monday mindfulness exercises, and healthy recipe exchanges.
From team challenges to individual rewards, gamification such as badges and leaderboards is an increasing feature of employee engagement.
Doing good in the community is an excellent way to build team spirit and motivation. A few hours volunteering at the local food bank or taking part in a beach cleanup can be very rewarding. Many companies report that the strengthened team bonds continue back in the workplace.
Getting a handle on where you’re at with employee engagement is vital to success.
There are several employee engagement metrics you can use. Options include employee engagement tracking software, people analytics such as turnover, sickness and absence, and exit interviews. Furthermore, customer acquisition and satisfaction data can provide valuable insights. And standard business performance metrics such as sales, profits, and productivity are also impacted by employee engagement.
The most popular measurement of employee engagement by far is an employee survey. Many businesses use an employee engagement survey as a baseline assessment and track progress over time. Employee engagement surveys are such a vital part of the toolkit that we look at them in detail later.
The key message here is to have a wide range of employee engagement data so that you can build up a comprehensive picture.
Employee engagement doesn’t just happen. You need to plan for success. An employee engagement strategy sets out the roadmap for your organization.
The strategy should identify the overarching objectives for employee engagement. It might be to improve corporate culture, connect remote workers, or align employee and company goals. Employee engagement activities and metrics are also critical elements of all the best strategies.
Here are some guiding principles to help prepare your strategy.
Employee engagement is multifaceted and is an ongoing process. It’s great to be ambitious. However, identifying realistic and achievable goals is the essential starting point for success.
Set clear lines of responsibility
Make sure you delegate responsibilities to the right people and regularly monitor progress.
Things will inevitably change. You only have to look at how Covid impacted the workplace over the last couple of years. Be open to new ideas and modify your employee engagement strategy based on experience.
It almost goes without saying, but employees should be at the heart of any engagement strategy. Be sure to involve staff in identifying priority areas for improvement.
Your employee engagement action plan pinpoints the key activities to support your strategy. It drills down into detailed team and departmental actions to deliver overall employee engagement objectives.
The following principles will help guide the development of your employee engagement plan.
Identify SMART goals
Your action plan must have specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound goals. Be clear about what needs to happen and who is responsible. Monitoring progress and achievements then become much more manageable.
Set up systems to track progress. This should include holding departmental managers accountable by regularly reporting progress to senior management.
Feedback to the workforce
Make sure you also update employees on outcomes. The credibility of your action plan and the overall strategy depends on this critical step.
Below we have worked up a couple of examples you can use as an employee engagement plan template.
Strategic Objective // Action Plan Target
Conducting an employee engagement survey is critical to identifying priority areas for action. It also provides a baseline of where you’re at so you can measure progress. Even more important, it gives staff a voice within the organization and signals your commitment to employee engagement.
Furthermore, employee engagement surveys allow you to benchmark your performance. Use the data to determine how individual teams are doing on the employee engagement front. And how well your organization is performing compared to others in the industry.
Some businesses contract an employee engagement survey vendor, while others prefer a DIY approach and use employee engagement survey software. Whatever option you select, make sure your employee engagement survey is anonymous. That way, you are far more likely to get honest feedback from staff.
A high level of participation is the goal of any employee engagement survey. Your choice of employee engagement questions will be crucial.
Use positive language and try to avoid yes or no questions. For example, asking staff whether they are satisfied with their work is likely to be answered with a straightforward yes or no and doesn’t tell you much else. Instead, use scales so that you can measure the strength of opinion. Asking employees how satisfied they are with work on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the highest and one the lowest) provides much more meaningful data.
Furthermore, keep open-ended questions that invite workers to provide comments to a minimum. While it’s great to give employees a platform to voice their feedback, analyzing the responses can be difficult.
And avoid going overboard on the number of questions. Make the questionnaire too long, and it will impact on completion rates.
Many businesses conduct detailed yearly employee engagement questionnaires. And others choose to supplement the annual data with more frequent pulse checks on specific issues.
You can use the following examples of employee engagement survey questions in an annual questionnaire or a pulse check.
Digital employee engagement platforms are especially relevant to hybrid and remote working. They help to connect employees regardless of location. And the real-time data and insights enable managers to build a great company culture.
Employee engagement is more critical than ever. The evidence is clear: Companies with engaged workforces are more productive and profitable. According to an article by Inc.com, it’s estimated that disengaged workers cost businesses up to $500 billion per year in the US alone. Furthermore, engaged workers tend to be highly motivated, happier, and stay longer with the same employer.
New ways of working have necessitated a fresh approach to employee engagement. PepTalk could be the solution you need to take employee engagement to a new level. Book a demo today, and we’ll show you how easy employee engagement in 2022 can be.