Employee engagement: It’s that elusive factor that drives performance and innovation. It leads to faster recoveries after setbacks and abundant growth in good economic circumstances. It’s one of the most important factors that determine organizational success. So why is it so hard to define, let alone implement?
In this article, we’ll discuss what employee engagement is and how you can build a culture of success at your company.
Employee Engagement Defined
Employee engagement is the level of dedication and passion your employees have for their jobs. Engaged employees tend to go above and beyond, stay at a company for longer, make fewer safety mistakes, feel excited about learning, and work from a team-oriented perspective.
When employees are engaged, they are more likely to put discretionary effort into their work and feel committed to their organization. Companies with high levels of engagement tend to see increased performance, accountability, and innovation.
The Two Core Components of Employee Engagement
There are two main factors that influence an employee’s engagement:
- Their relationship with their manager.
- The way they feel about their organization as a whole.
Highly engaged employees typically have a strong working relationship with their manager or supervisor based on mutual respect. They receive feedback and direction where needed but do not feel that they are being micromanaged.
Managers of engaged employees usually maintain good relationships with the people they supervise while also staying focused on results. They provide clear expectations and hold employees accountable. They also tend to view their role at least in part as helping their employees be the best they can be, usually by providing constructive feedback and often by helping employees use and develop their skills.
Employee engagement is also affected by an employee’s confidence in their organization as a whole. Highly engaged employees tend to believe their organization is headed in a good direction, trust the people in senior management positions, and appreciate the way people treat each in the workplace. They believe in the organization’s mission and understand how they contribute to its success.
Organizations with high levels of employee engagement typically have a culture that both empowers and challenges employees to some degree. Employees are encouraged to continue growing as a professional and develop ways to improve processes.
Employee Engagement vs. Satisfaction
Employee engagement should not be confused with employee satisfaction. While satisfaction is an indicator of how happy your employees are with their jobs, it is not an indicator of motivation or involvement. A satisfied employee may just be there for the paycheck, while an engaged employee is committed to improving their performance or creating change at their organization.
Organizations that focus only on employee satisfaction may not see any changes in productivity. To create an engaging work environment, organizations typically must focus on holding employees accountable for delivering results and making improvements rather than clinging to the status quo. These changes may have little to do with satisfaction for some employees.
How Do I Know if My Employees Are Engaged?
How to Measure Employee Engagement
You can usually get a good sense of employee engagement by surveying your employees. While you can create your own survey, it’s often better to choose an assessment that has been used by many other organizations so you can use benchmark data to determine whether your scores are high or low.
Employee engagement surveys usually involve the employee rating their agreement with a series of statements, such as:
- “I would recommend my company as a great place to work.”
- “My company motivates me to go beyond what I would do in a similar role elsewhere.”
- “The leaders at my company have communicated a vision that motivates me.”
- “I have access to the learning and development opportunities I need to do my job well.”
- “I know what I need to do to be successful in my role.”
A short survey with a few questions may be sufficient to tell whether your employees are engaged. However, it may be better to use a longer survey with 40 questions or more if you want a complete picture of where your company can improve.
Who Should Take Responsibility for Employee Engagement?
At many organizations, HR determines the engagement strategy. Ultimately, however, the whole organization is responsible for implementing that strategy.
Managers at all levels play a particularly large role in engagement. Managers should strive to build strong working relationships and a cohesive team while also providing the feedback and focus necessary to achieve results.
Employee Engagement Ideas
Give Feedback (And Receive It)
We all know we need to do this, but it’s not always easy to implement. If you want engaged employees, you will need to provide meaningful feedback on their performance, including both areas where they have done well and areas where they could improve. Managers should also be willing to seek and receive feedback about what they could do better. Some managers give feedback informally, while others find it helpful to implement a system such as filling out a form for each employee once every quarter or using a suggestions box.
Encourage Personal Projects
One way you can keep employees engaged is by giving them time to work on their own projects and initiatives. When employees come up with their own initiatives, they are likely to bring in more energy and creativity which will also carry over into working hours. This works especially well if employees can casually bounce ideas off each other.
Focus on Your Company Mission
Your business stands for something. Many employees will be more engaged when they are aware of who your company is helping and how the company makes a difference in people’s lives.
Support Skills Development and Learning
Learning is a lifelong process. As a manager or employer, you can encourage employees to continue their development by taking courses, expanding into new areas, or attending conferences. Larger companies may even consider a tuition reimbursement program to help employees take the next step in their education.
Remember to Celebrate
Employees are more engaged when they feel valued, and part of that is celebrating when there’s a reason to do so. Your organization should find ways to celebrate employees’ achievements promotions, birthdays, retirements, and general hard work.
Whenever an employee comes up with a successful project or makes major improvements to a product, you should find a way to recognize them. Sometimes simply saying “Good job!” is enough, while other times it makes sense to publicly recognize their achievement.
Have Non-Working Events
It’s important to plan time for teambuilding and social connection. While you may not always be able to do standard pre-pandemic activities like team retreats and company-wide holiday parties, you can still make time for a virtual happy hour or game session.
Stay on Top of Hiring and Employee Engagement Trends
LG Resources is committed to improving lives one job at a time. Check out our blog for more information about finding and cultivating talent, especially within the logistics and manufacturing industries.