Whether your employees are actively engaged or not is a crucial question that affects the productivity and success of your company’s workforce. The question also answers whether your employees are consuming their salaries without making a positive difference in the organization’s profits. Experts use the term Employee Engagement to define the extent to which employees are actively engaged to achieve the organization’s smaller and larger goal sets.
Definition- An “engaged employee" is the one who is fully absorbed by and is enthusiastic about their work and so takes constructive action to further the organization's reputation and interests. An engaged employee has a positive attitude towards the organization and its values.
1. How do you differentiate an engaged employee from a disengaged one?
Engaged employees can be differentiated from disengaged employees mainly through their attitudes towards work and their productivity. Disengaged employees are harmful to the progress of the organization. These employees are not only unhappy and discontent with work but they sometimes also act against the interest of the company. They are capable of creating adverse effects on the company’s relationship with the customers and even cause damage to the company’s reputation in general. Moreover, there is a danger of the company losing precious resources of money, time and leadership that is invested in these employees. If the number of disengaged employees in the organization is high, even the efforts of engaged employees may fail to bear results.
On the contrary, an employee who is engaged has high levels of focus and motivation. He is more involved in the work culture of the organization and in his own performance to benefit the company. He is expected and focused on bringing better results and accomplish both smaller and larger goals for the organization.
2. Differentiating Employee Engagement from other related terms
The term employee engagement evolved in management studies in the early 1990s (Wikipedia). Previously and even today, the term has been often misread and associated with other related terms such as Employee Satisfaction, Employee Recognition and Appreciation, Employee Experience and few others.
Although the above-mentioned terminologies describe employee’s relation to the organization in various aspects and levels, none of them describe the extent to which an employee is engaged in his work as the term employee engagement does. While others have their own place of importance in the study of employee management, to gauge about your employee’s productivity, you should check how “engaged” they are.
3. Co-relation between employee engagement and customer satisfaction
So you thought engagement practices are only about employee performance? Absolutely not. It is also about your profits, the company’s online reputation and customer satisfaction. Here’s why you should practice it to improve customer satisfaction.
There is credible research that states that employee satisfaction influences customer satisfaction positively. Forbes Insights research reveals the following:
- If a company is a leader in engagement, they have four times the chance than the rest, of achieving growth of more than 10%
- These companies are also 3 times likelier than the others to be in the top quartile of customer NPS scores.
- How a business2community.com article talks of how CFOs fail to see the relevance of engaged employees but they end up seeing it as revenues since engaged employees directly affect the experience of the customer and the first impression of a business prospect.
Better employee performance in the domain of customer relation managing and PR services or customer grievance management brings positive outcomes in terms of improving customer satisfaction. Better products are also another way to impress your customer and develop a long lasting relation.
4. What should you do to have highly engaged employees?
There are multiple ideas to keep your employees motivated. The objective of employee engagement is achieved if your ideas are aligned with the following goals-
- Increase communication among employees, managers and higher authorities.
- Give regular feedbacks about employees’ performance.
- Know your employee better- his aspirations, life goals and family goals etc.
- Be quick to identify and deal with performance issues.
- Make the employee feel empowered in the team’s work.
- Make him aware of the changing goals in the organization.
- Get him connected with the core values and ethics of the company.
- Help him get closer to his personal career goals by enhancing his skill or efficiency.
- Align your engagement strategies to your key business goals and organizational results.
All employee engagement activities in the organization should be modeled around the objective of fostering good relationships and empowerment within various teams and the larger organization.
5. Measuring Employee Engagement
The extent to which an employee is engaged can be measured in three aspects-
- The employee’s performance and relationship to his team’s goals/team members.
- The employee’s connectedness and appreciation of the organization’s values and objectives.
- How the employee perceives his professional growth in his career trajectory.
It is established by experts that engagement influences performance positively. The best way to measure the benefits of engagement techniques and strategies is to check the team or employee’s performance or to conduct a survey with an appropriate set of questions. Assessing the results of the questions helps to figure out the percentage to which the program has raised performance bars.
6. How employee engagement drives growth
- Improved Productivity: If you employ the right tricks and techniques, there are high chances of your employees responding positively to their work projects and creating better results for the benefit of the organization. An engaged employee has a better understanding of his role in the team and in the organization’s growth.
- Improved Perception of Self: As other factors in an employee’s life like job satisfaction and his aspirations are also linked with his job role, he will find himself better aligned with these aspects if he is sufficiently engaged in his job role.
- Improved Reputation of the Organization: An engaged employee has more chances of giving favorable reviews about the company to the outside public.
- Higher Chances of Innovation: An actively engaged employee has higher chances of suggesting innovative ideas for the benefit of the organization.
- Unwanted turnover reduced: Research, in recent years, shows that successful companies have started paying more attention to employee engagement in order to tap valuable resources and reduce attrition in the new age. Those with low turnover rates are the ones that put more emphasis on employee engagement.
7. Strategies to Improve Employee Engagement
- Focus on the individual levels- Motivation should pervade all the layers of the organization, not just the top one. It’s important to have highly motivated employees in the bottom layers also. They are the driving force within an organization and are like the evangelist for your brand. Hence it is of crucial importance to instill a sense of self-importance at all levels of the organization.
- Be People Focused: Organizations that cultivate a people-focused culture has a better approach towards addressing employee grievances, giving and taking feedback. This, in turn, brings the same results such as performance enhancement which is the objective of other approaches as well.
- Discuss employment engagement: Pay attention to the level of engagement in your team and also in the organization. Make discussions about engagement techniques a part of meeting agendas. Cultivate a culture of rewarding and appreciating for individual contributions at all levels of working.
- Let employees contribute: All your efforts in employee welfare is incomplete if you do not seek feedback. Conduct surveys and feedback sessions to know how engaged they are and to understand their preferences. You can also ask for their suggestion for the same.
- Flexibility: Be flexible with your plans in employee engagement. Plans may need some last minute changes and corrections.
8. The future of Employee Engagement
Employee engagement is emerging as not just a trend but also a necessity in the business world. Entrepreneurs, HR managers and team managers, today, acknowledge the importance of having employee engagement culture in the organization. There are various researches and studies conducted in the human resource management field to bring out the most effective techniques of employee engagement and thereby understanding employee behavior in depth.
The new age addition to this is managing employee engagement and the methods of rewards and recognition through technology. These software solutions offer a platform to virtually represent employee engagement data and history of rewards and recognition that makes the task much easier for management.
Among the leading platforms, Xoxoday is a software-based platform that helps HRs and team managers at various levels of engagement. It has multiple features to aid the process of creating positively engaged employees at the workplace. In the future, employee engagement will be a common practice even in small companies but the trick is to get the strategies right.