Studies have shown that when employees are engaged at their workplaces, they are more productive, loyal and feel more fulfilled. Engaged employees are the key to achieving organizational goals and progress. So, what does an engaged employee look like? These are the employees who show a keen interest in the way the company operates and are invested in the success of the company. They offer suggestions to help improve processes and can even convince others on the team to work harder and be more productive. In short, an engaged employee is an ideal employee from the perspective of management.
However, research has found that 36 percent of companies indicated that employee engagement is a challenge, yet companies still struggle to find ways to improve the connection workers have to the business. In fact, employees who are disengaged from their workplace can cost up to $550 million each year. A large portion of this cost is associated with sick or stress leave as well as a loss in productivity. These numbers are staggering and can seriously impact a company considering the fact that 70 percent of workers are not engaged, according to statistics. Yet researchers have discovered that organizations with higher employee engagement often see over 200 percent more productivity in their workplaces. If higher productivity is what most companies are looking for, it seems reasonable to begin by utilizing some solid employee engagement strategies.
Given that employee engagement is an important element of success, here are some of the best ways to improve the level of engagement in your employees.
A comprehensive recruitment and selection process will help weed out potential employees who are not the right fit for your workplace. Screening, thorough interviews, and take-home assignments can help filter applicants that are sincerely interested in working for the company and care about its success. The benefits of a comprehensive hiring process will help you find employees who are committed, interested and well-suited to their positions within the company.
Employees who feel their work is valued will be more likely to actively engage with the company. Acknowledging a job well done can not only build loyalty but also lead to higher productivity rates. Companies can offer a variety of rewards and incentives to employees for recognition. These can range from public praise, monetary rewards or significant incentives such as a prized parking spot for a month. Some companies have even put up an achievement board in a common area. Notifications and recognitions can be regularly posted as a way to let employees know how valuable their contributions are. In addition, the opportunity to simply acknowledge a special event or celebration in their life, such as a birthday or anniversary will also go a long way. Seeking out ways to let your employees know you value them is a key part of creating an engaged workforce.
Companies that offer extra training and skill development are often high on the list for employee engagement. Allowing employees an opportunity to enhance their knowledge and skills will improve their commitment to the company. As the employer has invested in their career growth and development, employees will also invest this knowledge and skills back into the company. Career growth opportunities are among the most valued offerings that employees are looking for from an employer.
Traditionally, management has felt that every minute of an individual’s time at work needs to be focused on productive work. However, pushing employees too much can backfire and lead to absenteeism and health issues for staff. Though it may seem counterproductive, leadership can actually improve employee engagement and dedication by allowing some off-time during work hours. Whether it’s extra coffee breaks, time to stretch or get moving, or just a brief few minutes to disengage and refresh. Psychological research has shown that tiny breaks can improve productivity by allowing the brain to refresh itself.
Give employees the opportunity to offer feedback and suggestions in the workplace. This can help them feel more involved in what is going on with the company. It shows them their input is valued. When putting a feedback committee together, ensure that every department or area of the company is represented and has the chance to contribute. Set aside space in the office for the committee to meet regularly. This will give management an opportunity to approach employee representatives to solicit specific feedback on ideas or new concepts.
Activities for employees to be social outside of office hours is another tool to cultivate engagement. This could be a night out every month, a holiday party or a scheduled event that gives everyone a chance to participate in a new activity. Helping employees get to know each other can create more of a team atmosphere in the office and can also help them feel more connected to the company. All of these things will lead to employees being more productive and engaged in the workplace.
As technology continues to become a part of everything we do, the idea of gamification in the workplace has grown. Gamification in the workplace is the idea that everyone gets involved in an online game, related to business goals, that requires interaction. There are rewards and incentives that can be offered out to draw in players.
Nothing helps drive employee engagement like a mentorship program to connect co-workers. Through mentorship, new employees will be better able to understand the corporate culture and what is expected of them. The connection they make with a mentor will also enhance their feeling of belonging to the company sooner and reinforce that they are valuable. On the flipside, more experienced employees are given the opportunity to give back to the company. This helps engage them more in the organization by letting them know that their contributions are valued and that they are important to the company.
Regardless of the industry you work in, employee disengagement is something that can disrupt the workplace. With over half of the workforce reporting they are not fully engaged and committed to their employers, having a solid engagement strategy is key to creating a more positive and productive workforce. Many times the cost to start to cultivate engagement among workers is minimal to start, and it can pay large dividends in the end.