Employee Engagement: Building Positive Employee Connections in the Workplace
Doing a quick search on the best practices of employee engagement and out pops pages and pages of enthusiastic yet vague instructions. We know that engaged employees can make the difference between the organizations that cruise by and those that excel. So how do we go beyond office pizza parties on Fridays and get to the core of what engages employees?
What is Employee Engagement?
Let’s first define what employee engagement is. It’s important to know that employee engagement isn’t the same as employee happiness or satisfaction. Employees may be happy at work or satisfied with their responsibilities but that doesn’t necessarily translate to working hard and being productive.
Employee engagement is defined as the emotional commitment the employee has to the organization and its goals. Engaged employees display higher levels of enthusiasm, energy, and motivation which translates into higher levels of job performance, creativity, and productivity. For organizations, this means higher revenues and profits, alongside higher levels of employee well-being.
How it is Crucial in the Workplace
- Organizations that focus on employee engagement in employee surveys and make it central to their business strategy show 21% greater profitability, a 41% reduction in absenteeism and 59% less turnover.
- A report by the Engagement Institute found that disengaged employees can cost companies up to $550 billion per year.
- Towers Perrin research have found that companies with engaged workers have 6% higher net profit margins.
Building Employee Engagement
When employees feel engaged or have a positive connection with their work, job satisfaction increases, and employees experience better overall health. Organizations benefit from increased productivity, job retention, and profitability. Here are five strategies that can help improve employee engagement:
Be transparent. Employees that are confused about how their work connects to and addresses the organization’s short- and long-term goals are more prone to low motivation and decreased productivity. Even though you may not always be able to share everything with the team, do your best to be transparent about why. This will reduce any stress that accompanies ambiguity.
Make sure people are in the right roles. Aligning employee talents and strengths with job expectations and responsibilities can help you assign tasks and projects employees will find meaningful. It’s also equally important to follow up with them to make sure that they feel they have the right tools to succeed.
Provide autonomy. Employees are 43% less likely to experience high levels of burnout when they can decide what tasks to do, when to do them, and how much time to spend on each of them. If you’re worried about whether an employee is ready to be independent, you can always ask them to shadow you or someone more experienced.
Commit to your employee’s growth and development. Giving employees the chance to move around or even move on while letting them know that you can support them in this area will deepen the sense of trust between you and them. Though they may not be promoted in regular intervals, it’s important that employees feel they are being provided with growth and learning opportunities.
Create a culture of recognition. Publicly recognizing hard work and contributions increases the connection between you and your employee. Providing support and recognition makes it easier for your team to cope with increased work demands because they’ll know that their efforts are valued.
Poor employee engagement, alongside the consequences that come with it, are detrimental to both employee well-being and business performance but it can be tackled with creating healthier work-spaces and cultivating an open and communicative environment. When employees are engaged, productive output and financial ratios improve – so everybody wins.