What is Employee Engagement? What Boosts it?
Engaged employees lead to better business outcomes. Learn how you can increase your employee engagement in the face of an increasingly disengaged workforce.
So What Exactly Is Employee Engagement?
Employee engagement is pretty much what it sounds like: a measurement of how much your employees feel valued and see value in their work at your company. What’s more though, is that it has a direct correlation to the long-term growth of your company. When employee engagement is down, your whole business loses. So what exactly are the factors that contribute to, or even hurt, employee engagement? Is there are way to demonstrably increase your company’s employee engagement metrics? In short: yes. And here’s how. Let’s start with the facts: Gallup tells us that 70% of employees are not engaged, which means just 3 in 10 of your employees right now are actively engaged with their work. Right off the bat, that’s problematic for your bottom line, and your team’s ability to produce their best results. So how did we get here? And how do we tip the scales toward increasing employee engagement?
What is the Impact of Employee Engagement?
First, we need to acknowledge the direct link between engagement and performance. When you have employees that are actively engaged with their work, it means you’re going to have a successful workforce. That means you’re going to spend less time and budget on hiring, training, and building up new teams. Think about it this way: HBR tells us that nearly 40% of U.S. employers are having a hard time finding talented workers to fill positions. When you have actively disengaged workers on your sales team, and you’re not actively working to help them re-engage, you’re all but asking for new vacancies on your team. And that means that you’re going to have spend valuable resources on mining an already depleted pool of potential workers. When you seize the opportunity to develop the folks already on your payroll, you’re making a smart investment in your company’s bottom line. And that development starts with re-engaging your employees.
So What Boosts Employee Engagement?
It can seem intimidating to go about guessing how to boost your employee engagement: do you have to spend top dollar on overproduced corporate events and team building exercises? Do you have to bring in engagement gurus? Thankfully, no. Let’s start by talking about the ever-elusive concept of “culture.” No, engaging employees isn’t about unlimited specialty coffee and exercise-ball chairs. Culture, as we’ll define it here, is about the attitude with which you approach your employees, and the mindset you ask them to bring to their jobs. And you’d be surprised to know that a little goes a long way. As we’ve highlighted on our blog, efforts as simple as gamifying corporate goals, or creative recognition initiatives can go a long way in helping employees to feel bought into their work. And it can also help them to feel valued for what they’re doing. The truth is, people are simple: kind words make a big difference, and a little competition never hurt!
The Value of Teamwork and Communication
Additionally, there’s inherent value in creating a culture of collaboration amongst your employees. The future of collaboration may look a lot different from the old days of brainstorming around a board-room, but that doesn’t mean we’re becoming more individualistic: the board room of today is a lively Slack chat, quick brainstorms have become FaceTime conversations from across the globe, and stack rankings can be posted on live, real-time leaderboards. These technologies give us exciting prospects for the future of collaboration and team engagement. You just have to know how to wield them. One place we can start when it comes to technological overhaul is with email: the hallmark of internal communication in the digital age has quickly become a dinosaur in its own right. More and more, we’re seeing companies that are moving towards flexible schedules and remote workers. The benefit, beyond the cost-saving on office space, is that you’re not constrained by the limits of local talent—you can bring in the best of the best, without them ever having to relocate. And in light of trends like that it’s especially important that you’re working with the technology of today. And what does that mean for your employee engagement levels? It means that there’s a new and increased expectation for real-time results. And re-engaging employees starts with giving them an incentive to collaborate. Increasingly, we’re seeing tools for collaboration that keep us in the immediate, and emphasize efficiency: whether it’s instant messaging, live video, or digital signage—communication is meant to happen in real time whether you’re all on the same sales floor or not. And that’s becoming easier and easier. Likewise, live-updating servers and real-time document editing online has made collaboration between your New York and LA offices seamless. No need to clog up your Exchange inbox anymore. Get the technology that you need to keep your employees in the best position to engage—and just as importantly, succeed.
At the end of the day, employee engagement isn’t some arbitrary buzzword. It’s something that has a direct impact on your organization’s performance, long-term growth, and even your customers’ overall experience. When you’re creating an environment where your employees feel valued, and see the value in their work, you’re going to see more productivity, stronger teams, and a better business. And the tools are here for you to do it: employee engagement is something you can absolutely afford to do, and can’t afford not to do. Move your business into the technology age of today, meet the needs of your evolving workforce, and watch as they soar beyond your expectations.