Getting Real About Employee Engagement

Posted on Oct 30, 2018 - By Sasha Drujinina

Engaged employees create for a better working environment. They help the company work better. Engagement is the emotional connection workers feel toward their organization. Those who feel more connected and loyal to their companies are more likely to deliver projected results, contribute more, perform better and maintain a strong work ethic. Employees who sustain positive feelings toward their organization experience better mental health and quality of life.

Workers who are engaged at work are committed to improving the company and driving results. They focus on the company’s goals and objectives, not just their own. Engaged employees feel that their values are in alignment with their organization’s and are more motivated to make decisions that benefit both. When workers are focused on the larger picture of their organization, the business in turn experiences many positive results. So, it is in a company’s best interest to cultivate and maintain engagement.

Impact of Increased Engagement on Business Results

The role of increased employee engagement not only supports workers of the organization but improves the business itself. Engaged employees drive performance and deliver on business objectives. Below are the ways in which engagement effects business outcomes.

  1. Attracts better talent — Top talent is a competitive advantage. Highly sought after employees are more likely to work for a company that they feel connected to. This connection is built and maintained through engagement efforts. So, it is essential for a company looking to hire the best to offer the best.
  2. Builds a stronger brand — A strong brand involves cohesion and consistency. Those factors must be evident from the inside out, starting with employees. Engaging employees involves nurturing their sense of connection and loyalty to the company. This is accomplished by the utilizing the drivers and best practices below. When employees feel connected to a company’s principles and mission they are more likely to reflect that in their work.
  3. Increases employee retention — People who feel connected to their work and their company are less likely to leave. Employee turnover is an added expense and erodes company trust. Efforts made to keep employees establishes a sense of importance and helps to build skills in those workers rather than having to constantly training new ones.
  4. Decreases absenteeism — Workers who feel emotionally connected to their work are more likely to show up consistently. Absenteeism is often due to stress, low morale, workplace conflicts and overall sense of dissatisfaction at work. The best practices of employee engagement help to alleviate many issues that promote absenteeism.

Drivers of Engagement

Because of the importance of engagement in the workplace, there have been numerous studies conducted to figure out what best drives it. Results show that the following are some of the top drivers of employee engagement.

  1. Great leadership — While this can encompass many things, it is the confidence that company leaders will follow through with promises, make decisions based on company values and are committed to making the company great that make the difference in employee engagement. The actions of leaders must demonstrate their understanding of employees and take corrective action when they make mistakes. Ultimately, engaged leaders inspire engagement.
  2. Meaningful work — This means that an employee’s skills, abilities and passions are being utilized in their daily operations. When employees feel like these aspects are being applied, they feel more fulfilled and important. Meaning makes work personal.
  3. Positive relationships at work — Most workers have experienced a negative interaction with a co-worker at least once, whether it was due to miscommunication or personal differences. Cultivating good relationships in a work environment increases the feeling of connectedness in a company so employees are more likely to care about other aspects of the business.
  4. Recognition and rewards — Many people are not satisfied with just earning a paycheck. Being recognized and rewarded through employee of the month programs or positive feedback is evidence that an employee matters. This also demonstrates to employees that their values and goals are in alignment with their company which creates a greater bond and connection.

Engagement Best Practices

Improving employee engagement starts at the top, with executives, managers and other company leaders. Leaders must consistently practice behaviors that engage with their employees and make them important to the company. It is inspiring to see leaders engaged in their work and this attitude easily trickles down the ladder.

  1. Aligning decisions with values — Leaders who align their decisions with company goals and values show that they are dedicated, trustworthy and connected to the organization themselves. This is evidence to employees that leadership believes in the principles and direction of the company which builds trust. Employers who demonstrate their connection to company objectives through their actions come across as connected to the employees and it promotes a sense of excitement for the future.
  2. Open communication — Frequent, open and honest communication between lower and upper level management and employees fosters a sense of teamwork and inclusion. Employees who are able to speak with company decision makers are able to truly feel part of the organization rather than just working for it. Transparent communication, during times of both struggle and prosperity, helps employees feel connected to and heard in the company.
  3. Personal growth opportunities — To feel invested in a company, employees must be working on work projects that align with their own goals and values. A company that honors employee goals, talents and ambitions can ensure that that employee will be more committed to the objectives of the company. Having opportunities for personal growth lets employees know that their company is invested in them and in turn, they will mirror that investment right back.
  4. Culture of appreciation — Many people leave jobs because they felt like the work they do is not appreciated. This feeling leaves workers with a lack of purpose at work and thus decreased motivation to accomplish tasks. However, systems of rewards and recognition make workers feel special and like their efforts are noticed and make a difference in the company.