Engagement & Productivity: Why You Need Both & How To Get Both
Employee engagement is an easy buzzword to throw around, but it’s also a vital element in any organization.
As The Atlantic points out, the Bureau of Labor Statistics “defines labor costs as the ratio of hourly compensation to labor productivity. So another sort of obvious phenomenon is that labor costs will decline for employers when productivity is increasing.” What that means is that the more productive your employees are, the better it is for your bottom line.
You may not have needed the economics lesson there, but it serves as a valuable reminder: the more engaged your employees are, the more productive they are. And that, in turn, means money back in your pocket. Said another way, disengaged employees are costing you money.
So naturally, you may be asking, what can you do to better engage your employees and ultimately boost their performance? Here are a few helpful insights to get you started. See how you can reframe the way you are empowering your employees this week, and it can almost certainly give them the engagement boost you all are craving.
Use Performance Management Platforms
As we’ve mentioned before here on the blog, it’s important that you’re not simply appraising your employees’ performances, but rather you’re taking steps to actively manage their performance. This comes from having a growth-based mindset for your company: you don’t just want to stop your employees from doing bad, you want them to take ownership of their growth and development.
With that in mind, whether you’ve got a 5 person or 5,000 person operation, it’s hard to simply manage performances from your notebook. There’s plenty of software out there not only to help you track performance, but really engage with your employees and help drive higher performance.
According to the G2 Crowd Grid, there are myriad options when it comes to top performance management platforms, including:
- UltiPro: designed primarily for payroll solutions, this application boasts increased engagement and productivity across the workforce
- 15Five: using employee surveys, check-ins, and peer recognition, this platform is a sensible choice for companies looking to have a weekly cadence with employees in an engaging way.
- Halogen TalentSpace: “built from the ground up” this platform was built in an effort to drive a high performance culture.
Providing Employees With The Tools They Need
Technology is constantly evolving. And contrary to what the push notifications on your phone might tell you, you don’t have to update every app three times a day to have functional, practical technology in your office.
In fact, having the latest doesn’t always mean the best, because some new tools need to be market tested, and allow a bit of the “hype” to fade before they become something that’s worth using at the enterprise level.
That being said, that’s also not an excuse to keep your office technology in the stone age: you need to provide employees with the tools they need to do the best job possible.
One perfect example is with computers. As we continue to see a rise in remote workers, it doesn’t make sense to provide employees with a desktop computer. It makes all the more sense to have a mobile laptop equipped with enough of the bells and whistles to make it actually mobile.
So whether they’re working off a hotspot in the airport, or from the comfort of their own bed, your decision to equip your employees with the proper mobile technology empowers them to get their best work done at home and in the office. Giving them that kind of flexibility shows your investment in them, full-well knowing the demands of longer hours in the ever-connected internet age.
Giving Them The Information They Need In Real Time
And in the spirit of that endless connection, it’s important that you’re in a place where you can communicate with your employees quickly, efficiently, and effectively. You can send out all the “email blasts” you want, but if they’re just getting buried in an inbox that continues to suck up an employee’s time, you’re begging for them to be distracted and not engaged.
Instead, try focusing on communication tool that distill the most important information quickly, without derailing your employees from their top priorities. Whether it’s a leaderboard that everyone can keep an eye on, or a central hub for newsflashes and win announcements, there are plenty of communication tools out there that can project vital information without derailing someone’s to-do list.
Showing Recognition As It Happens
We’ve all been there: you get a fast start off the block, but then Q2 comes around and things start to run dry. Then before you know it, what was set up to be a record year turns into one you’d rather soon forget.
If your organization relies solely on annual recognition, based on those who were able to sustain a great year, you may be unintentionally causing your employees to disengage, ultimately setting them up longer term failure down the road.
As Polly Brewster pointed out for Entrepreneur, “In a study by WorldAtWork, a global human resources foundation, 54 percent of employees said that short-term incentives have a high impact on engagement, while only 32 percent cited long-term incentives.”
What that means is that while long-term incentives like annual trips and end-of-year bonuses can be great, they don’t help to keep failing employees engaged. But if you choose to show recognition for employees in real time, it could help to keep employees engaged later on when they begin to falter, which in turn could help give them the motivation they need to push through a dry quarter or two.
No matter what initiatives you’re choosing to introduce in your office, one thing is clear: the message you send to your employees matters. And when you show them that you’re invested in their success, it benefits their level of engagement, their productivity, and ultimately your bottom line. That’s certainly a win, win, win.