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5 Ways to Improve Employee Engagement

These five tips will be useful for increasing and measuring your employees' dedication, motivation, and investment in their workplace.

An image of an employee answering the question "How was your day?" with a sliding scale measurement.

Employee engagement measures how dedicated, motivated, and invested an employee is in their work and company. Employee engagement has a positive impact for both the employee and employer – studies show that engaged employees bring in higher profits through an increase in productivity; engaged employees also report higher happiness and satisfaction rates within their roles.  

Alarmingly, only 21% of employees are engaged at work and 50% are already considering quitting. Read on to discover five different ways to engage your employees; and facilitate a better workplace – for everyone. 

Benefits of Employee Engagement 

Disengaged employees cost the global workforce $7.8 trillion. When employees are engaged, they are more likely to be productive, committed, and invested in their work. Engagement is directly linked to increased profitability, customer satisfaction, and loyalty, since engaged employees are more likely to produce quality work.

Additionally, engaged employees tend to stay with their company longer. which reduces turnover and training costs. The cost of lost productivity in refilling a role, onboarding a new member, and restarting the cycle is estimated at 1.5x to 2x of the previous employee’s salary – a tumultuous hurdle for most companies.   

To increase workplace satisfaction, production quality, and company satisfaction, employees must be encouraged and incentivized to take an active approach in their role. Increased employee engagement is directly linked to: 

  • Increased productivity 
  • Reduced turnover
  • Reduced absenteeism
  • Fewer workplace safety accidents
  • Improved customer service and loyalty. 

Employee Engagement Profiles

There are several different engagement profiles that employees can fall into. Some common profiles include:

 1) The Disengaged Employee – This type of employee is uninterested and uninvolved in their work. They may be unhappy with their job or company.

2) The Compliant Employee – This type of employee complies with company rules and regulations. They may be satisfied with their job but are not highly engaged.

3) The Engaged Employee – This type of employee is highly dedicated, motivated, and invested in their work and company. They are likely to be productive and positively impact profitability and customer satisfaction.

Five Drivers of Employee Engagement

Several factors can drive employee engagement. Companies have offered sign on bonuses, a better work-life balance,  and a hefty increase in tangible benefits to bring in and retain talent. Other common methods to increase employee engagement are below.

1) Recognition 

Most employees, although they fulfill the requirements of their role, are still disengaged – a phenomenon known as quiet quitting that is the precursor to employees leaving their employees entirely. It is important for an employee to be fully engaged and satisfied by measuring the overall thoughts and well-being of the workforce, rather than relying on outside observations on task completion.

Employees who feel appreciated and valued by their company are more likely to be engaged in their work. Nearly three out of four employees (74%) report that if they feel heard, they are more effective at their job. 

Companies can use digital signage to show their employees they care by showing messages that send praise and thanks, create a welcoming workplace, cheer on employee accomplishments, and include a company’s most overlooked employees in their internal comms strategy.

2) Autonomy 

When employees are free to control their working methods, they hold autonomy over their work. If an employee follows workplace guidelines or organizational protocols without being constantly reminded by their manager, then the company’s actions backed by behavioral science most likely keep them engaged. 

With autonomy, a positive work culture is fostered, and companies can show that they value their employees. Autonomy reduces employee fatigue by 1.9x and makes employees 2.3x more likely to stay with their organization. 

3) Purposeful work

Around 60% of workers are emotionally detached at work and 19% are miserable. Post-pandemic, more employees are reconsidering their line of work

People who feel that their purpose is aligned with their work are more productive, resilient, and likely to stay because they have a cognitive investment in their work. This investment encourages problem-solving, creativity, and critical thinking. 

Employees who are cognitively engaged have a deeper understanding on how their tasks further their organization’s goals and are less likely to succumb to distractions; they are then able to produce more quality work.

4) Growth opportunities 

One of the top five reasons employees leave their workplace is the lack of growth within their role. Organizations who support their employees’ advancement opportunities through methods such as cross-training, upskilling, and reskilling are more likely to retain their workforce.

Reskilling and upskilling are inevitable – 40% of workers will require reskilling within the next year and over 9 in 10 business leaders expect their employees to acquire new skills. Investing in employees strengthens productivity, company loyalty, and the overall workforce.

5) Relationship building

43% of surveyed employees are unhappy with their manager. Managers with good communication, emotional intelligence, diplomacy, and enthusiasm are more capable of connecting with their employees and creating a better work environment for their employees to stay.

Employee engagement is a shared responsibility between HR, managers, and employees. HR can create policies and programs to support employee engagement. However, it is ultimately up to managers to create an engaging work environment, and it is up to employees to choose to be engaged in their work. 

How to Measure Employee Engagement

Now that you know how to engage your employees further, you have to know how to measure engagement. One of the most important aspects of measuring employee engagement is to gather a clear picture of how your employee engagement currently stands to later compare the data. 

Some common methods of measurement include:

  • Surveys – Surveys are the most common method of measuring employee engagement. They can be done in-person over the phone, online or by paper methods. Surveys can consist of open-ended questions (no restrictions on answers), closed questions (multiple choice, yes/no, ranking/rating).
  • Interviews – Interviews can better understand how employees feel about their work and company. They have less fixed questions than surveys and can be conducted with one, multiple, or a group of employees. 
  • Observation – Observing employees at work can give insights into their behaviors and actions. While this is the least intrusive method of measuring, the disadvantage is that the data is not directly considering employees input.

After measuring, it is also imperative that an organization creates S.M.A.R.T objectives for their engagement.

Consider the following in a S.M.A.R.T objective:

  • Specific: What needs to be accomplished exactly?
  • Measurable: What data will signal progress towards your goal?
  • Achievable: Is the goal realistic with the company’s current resources?
  • Relevant: How does the objective align with the company’s overall goals?
  • Time-bound: In what time frame does this objective need to be achieved?

The Difference between Employee Engagement and Employee Satisfaction

Employee engagement is not the same as employee satisfaction. Satisfied employees may be content with their job but not necessarily engaged in their work. Additionally, employee engagement is not the same as employee happiness.

 SC Gradient

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