Employee engagement refers to the extent in which employees feel passionate about their jobs, are committed to the organization, and put discretionary effort into their work.
A lot of people make the mistake of using employee engagement and employee satisfaction as two of the same. That’s not the case, employee satisfaction is a simple indicator about how happy an employee is. Employee satisfaction doesn’t address an employee’s commitment, motivation or passion.
Heck, if you ask employees what makes them satisfied, many would likely point to their paycheck. To our point, employee engagement is completely different and much more important for employers.
If you’re focusing on employee satisfaction versus employee engagement, we hope this article will change your mind. When we focus on employee engagement, we’re trying to get the best out of our team. We want employees that embrace change, continuously look for ways to get better, look for systems that make processes more efficient.
High performing employees look for those same qualities when searching for employment. Low performing employees don’t want to be accountable, they don’t like change nor do they worry about the results.
What Makes Employee Engagement So Important?
The biggest factor why employee engagement is so important is the fact that it drives performance. When an employee is engaged with a company, they understand the company’s mission, goals, values and beliefs. Even more, they accept it and want to be a part of that nucleus that makes a company great.
You want your employees to be proud of working for your organization. You want them to have a loyalty to the company, one that always promotes strong authentic values.
Engaged employees understand their purpose and role with the organization. They’re accountable for their own actions. Employee engagement is a key factor in a company’s growth and innovation.
When you have a workforce that is engaged, your organization is set up to achieve the goals and milestones you’re aiming for. It’s a proven fact that engaged companies have higher EPS (earnings per share) and they recover faster from financial trouble.
How To Measure Employee Engagement
Most companies don’t know how to measure employee engagement or fail to measure it accurately. One of the best ways to measure it is with employee engagement survey.
Engagement surveys must have validated stats and benchmarks from other organizations for them to be effective. Without this, you’re not going to know if the results are good or bad. They can be measured with short surveys that only have a few questions. After all, this is the only way you’re going to get useful results to use. Surveys are great but they can only be an indicator of whether your employees are engaged or not.
We recommend having around 60-70 questions on your employee engagement survey. These questions need to cover a wide range of topics that are relevant with your organization. While it’s fine to have multiple choice answers, we also recommend giving your employees the floor to speak their mind. Due to this, make sure your engagement surveys have a few open ended questions.
Once you have the results in hand, don’t hesitate to ask follow up questions based on the results you find. Your engagement survey will show you where you need to focus, follow up questions can help you find the root cause.
When Should Companies Measure Employee Engagement
You may be asking yourself, “when should I measure employee engagement?” If you’re considering it, it’s likely time to have a survey. While the time period you launch your survey does play a role, it’s always helpful to know if your employees are engaged or not. There’s no better time than the present.
You’ll need to create a readiness assessment, let your employees know why you’re doing an engagement survey and keep all of them in the loop. Once you get back the results, share it with everyone and most importantly, take action!
What Drives Positive Employee Engagement
While employee engagement surveys will give you insights to how engaged your employees are, there’s a number of different things that can drive positive employee engagement.
(1) Worksite Culture
The culture of your company plays a big role in how engaged your employees are or not, so clearly defining your company’s culture is vital to improving engagement. If the culture is clearly communicated and articulated to your employees, you have a higher probability employees will be engaged. If your culture is not defined or communicated, it’s time to outline your mission, vision, goals and objectives.
(2) Give Employees A Voice
We firmly believe that every employee should have a voice in the company. As employers, we want our employees to know we appreciate their time, effort and value their inputs. When employees feel appreciated, engagement and performance is higher.
(3) Hiring Employees Inline With Your Goals And Values
If you want to increase engagement among your ranks, you have to bring the right people into your organization. This is why it’s important to clearly define the work culture you want your company to have. You want to have passionate employees and if they share the same philosophies, values and beliefs as your company has, they’re more likely to be passionate about their work.
(4) The Right Leadership
Great leaders get the most out of their employees and if you want your employee engagement to thrive, you need the right leadership. We’re talking about the top of leadership down to management. Your employees need direction, motivation and appreciation. They need to understand what your company represents, what goals you’re trying to achieve, what values are at the heart of the organization. It’s up to leadership to communicate this down the ranks.
We’ve touched on communication over and over within this article. There’s a reason, communication is the main key to unlocking engagement. Most companies that struggle with employee engagement don’t communicate well with staff. In these scenarios, leadership is not effectively leading, management is not effectively managing and more times than not, it’s because there’s little to no communication.
(6) Encourage Creativity
Some of the greatest athletes, entrepreneurs and leaders needed motivation and encouragement to bring out the creativity inside them. Your employees will never reach their full potential if you’re not influencing them to be great. Make sure you’re giving all your employees the resources, tools, leadership and creative space to excel in your organization.
Studies have showed us that low employee engagement lowers production, increases costs and is one of the factors that cause low employee retention. If you can focus on the 6 areas above, take action on them, you can improve the engagement in your company.
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