What makes your company a success - or a failure? Many business leaders would say that it all comes down to the numbers on the bottom line, market share, or profitability. And while those are all important metrics, the most important element of your business is the people who make it run every day.
Your employees are your most valuable asset - they perform their daily tasks so that your business can thrive and delight your customers. In today’s highly competitive business world, you need to get every advantage from your employees that you can.
And the best way to do that? It’s not by having them work increasingly long hours or getting maximum work for minimum pay - it’s by getting your employees involved in your organization. This goes beyond just engaging your employees in their work, though that’s important as well. Employee involvement is about allowing your employees to take an active role in how your business runs and operates. Read on to find out everything you need to know about the benefits of employee involvement.
What is Employee Involvement?
Employee involvement is when your employees participate directly in activities that help your business grow and fulfill its mission. This means employees aren’t just toiling away at their daily tasks - they’re taking an active role in the business's management and decision-making processes.
Employee involvement means it's not just senior leaders responsible for the company's growth and success - each employee has a role to play there, too, no matter how low on the corporate ladder they are. According to their expertise, employees contribute to the company and provide innovative ideas that help the business solve organizational problems, hit key metrics, and more.
Why take such a seemingly radical approach to run your business with this level of employee involvement? After all, HBR has found that many managers and supervisors actually resist increasing employee involvement. But it’s valuable because it helps build a sense of community and investment in your business, from the newest entry-level worker right up to the CEO. That’s powerful.
The Importance of Employee Involvement
Employee involvement can seem like something that’s a nice idea but hard to put into practice. But in reality, for most organizations, it has significant benefits. Getting your employees involved has benefits for both your works themselves and your business. Here are eight benefits of employee involvement.
1. Your employees are more motivated.
It’s a simple fact of human psychology - when we feel we have a real stake in something, we are motivated to work harder and perform better. When a business openly asks for and solicits feedback from employees and then acts on that feedback, employees feel like their voice is heard. And they know the business is listening to them and taking action based on what they say. That’s highly motivating - they go from feeling like pencil-pushers to valued, valuable assets to the business's greater good. Employee involvement and motivation are strongly linked.
2. Change isn’t as feared.
Today’s business world is fast-paced and only speeding up - changes happen at an ever-increasing pace. It’s easy for employees to feel overwhelmed by the pace and amount of change when they feel helpless and voiceless. But when those employees are given a voice to help guide the organization, suddenly they feel more in control and less averse to change.
3. You attract and keep more top talent.
What do top performers want from their jobs? A sense of autonomy and ownership over their work. After all, if you’re going to make the effort to attract and hire top talent, you should let those superstar employees contribute to their fullest - not confine them to basic tasks and drudgery. Your employees have incredible insight into many critical parts of your business, so let them guide how you run it can keep them around for the long run. With the high cost of turnover, keeping more employees around longer by giving them a voice is good for your bottom line too.
4. You create a continuous learning environment.
Ambitious and highly engaged employees always want to be developing their skills to succeed in their careers and roles. Encouraging those employees to tell you what they need to know to do their jobs well benefits both your business and those workers - you can offer targeted training opportunities that really meet employee needs. When their needs are met, training and development become less of a chore and more of a perk.
5.You increase employee engagement.
Employee engagement happens when people are emotionally connected to the work they do, their team, and the goals of their larger organization. Increasing employee involvement helps employees feel more connected to the organization's goals and strategies because their feedback helped shape it. That’s a powerful way to increase engagement levels significantly.
6. Your customers are happier.
We’ve all experienced it - walking into a shop or store and encountering an employee who clearly loathes their job. While the employee may be well within reason to despise their role or the company they work for, the resulting customer experience is uncomfortable at best and downright unpleasant at worst. It doesn’t make you eager to return soon. On the other hand, engaged and involved employees are happier about performing their duties, and customers pick up on this. Plus, those happy employees are much more likely to go the extra mile to delight customers.
7. You uncover more innovation.
No one knows the ins and outs of the products and services you offer like your employees - they deal with them every day and are experts. That means they know what’s working really well, and what’s causing pain points for your customers too. This deep knowledge can lead to innovative solutions or ideas for new products, but you won’t find out about those great ideas unless you empower employees to speak up.
8. You uplift your people.
Employees want more from the workplace these days than to be treated like a small interchangeable cog in a big machine. They begin to feel disengaged when they’re treated that way regularly. Asking them for feedback and then acting on it, on the other hand, makes people feel heard, valued, and appreciated. And that makes them more likely to go above and beyond for your customers and your company. Pretty powerful stuff, right?
Best Practices for Employee Involvement
Now that you know just how important employee involvement is to your people and your business's success, how can you work to increase it effectively? Putting some employee involvement practices and ideas in place will help you increase involvement and satisfaction.
Ask Employees What They Think
Involving employees in your business starts with a simple step - ask them for their feedback! There are several ways to gather employee feedback to increase involvement, and finding the right method will depend on your employee base, size, and your company’s culture.
You can ask for open-ended feedback in surveys if you want to gather a range of suggestions from a wide variety of employees. You can ask targeted multiple-choice questions to dig into specific issues in a survey. Or you can get feedback by asking employees to contribute in an all-hands meeting or gather feedback via managers.
Take Action on Their Suggestions
Now comes the step too many organizations ignore after asking for feedback - it’s time to take action on those suggestions. This isn’t to say you need to implement every suggestion an employee gives, because that would be counter-productive. But you do need to make a good-faith effort to adapt many of the changes and solutions employees suggest, especially if there’s a strong groundswell of support for those changes.
If you ask for feedback without making any changes, employees will not feel involved or valued and may actually become less engaged. There are always certain things you can’t change, but it’s best to not ask about those issues. And if it seems like you can’t really change anything meaningful, it’s time for a harder look at why that seems true at your company.
Measure Your Results
Finally, you need to track and measure the results of your changes. You can run more surveys at this step, especially employee engagement and employee satisfaction surveys, to gauge how employees feel about your workplace. If results are going up, well done! You’re on the right track. Xoxoday Empuls can help you run the right surveys for your needs and track your progress, as well as suggest any possible improvements.
While engagement and satisfaction are not perfect proxies for employee involvement, they’ll give you a pretty good look at how involved and valued employees feel. You can also look closely at your business results to measure your progress - have you shaved time off old processes, increased productivity, or seen innovation happening faster? Those could all be results of increased employee involvement as well.
Need help implementing feedback surveys and gauging your employee involvement results? If you’re looking for a complete employee engagement solution, from designing the best survey questions to detailed analytics that tells you exactly what you need to do with your results, Book a Demo or Schedule a Free Trial of Xoxoday Empuls today.