EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT:THE WHAT, WHY AND HOW
Employee engagement holds different meanings for different people. While some claim it means happy and contented employees, others are of the view that it means keeping your employees busy and excited to work.
To summarize all the definitions into one, employee engagement talks about people in your organization who are invested in their work for more than just monetary incentives. So, while we’re talking about engaged employees, let’s have a look at what it means to be a disengaged employee as well.
Disengaged employees, according to a Gallup survey named “State of the Global Workplace”, constitute 85% of the workforce, having barely any, to no motivation and enthusiasm to work. As compared to engaged employees- the remaining 15% who participate in the betterment of the company’s culture and values- disengaged employees perform the bare minimum required of them at work, or might even actively disrupt the company’s culture and reputation.
Now that we’re clear on the definition of employee engagement, and the difference between engaged and disengaged employees, the question that pops up is why do we need our employees to be invested in the company when they are already doing what is asked of them? What’s the big fuss around this fairly new concept?
1. CUSTOMER SATISFACTION
Employees who are more engaged in their jobs are the ones who feel more valued, and they channel that value into their interactions with the customers.
This leads to them reflecting their infectious enthusiasm while communicating with customers, thus resulting in a better customer experience and satisfied feedback.
2. HIGHER PRODUCTIVITY
Several surveys and reports have shown that employees who are devoted to their jobs have increased productivity than the disengaged ones. This is so obvious as when you work towards something you’re passionate about, you will put in more effort and ultimately get greater results!
Once your employees are invested in what they do, this would become a cycle for them. They will contribute more because of the productivity, which will lead to better outcomes, which will, in turn, boost their confidence, which will again lead them to believe in themselves and engage more in work willingly.
3. COMPANY CULTURE
Engaged employees are the best representatives of your culture. They are the ones living and exemplifying your company’s values every day. This makes them more interesting to work with as they personify true employee engagement in your company.
Following social learning, fresh talent in the company could learn about its culture from these representative employees, and be just as interested and engaged as them, spreading wide positivity.
4. RETENTION RATE
Even the best of your employees can lose motivation to put in those extra efforts. Them losing their zest can easily be noticed by other employees who were once probably inspired by them. If the rest of the employees follow suit, this could lead to you losing your employees! This is where employee engagement comes to your rescue. As long as your employees are engaged, they are invested in their roles and are very less likely to leave due to lack of engagement. Keeping them involved and updated in the process is crucial to having your company running smoothly.
Knowing the concept of employee engagement and its significance the final question to be addressed is how does it work?
“Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person – not just an employee – are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled. Satisfied employees mean satisfied customers, which leads to profitability.” - Anne M. Mulcahy
Employee engagement depends on the relationships that an employee has with their seniors as well as with the company’s customers. The feedback the customers give about their experience with the company acts as either encouragement or discouragement (depending on the customer’s experience) for the employees to continue being engaged in their job. On the manager’s or senior’s part, it is crucial in a manager’s job to provide support and motivate the employees towards achieving their goals, and to make them feel that they are a part of the decision-making process.
The company’s heads and leaders form its culture by setting the right tone of communication with the employees and laying down fair practices for a smooth workflow of their daily activities. They have to ensure that the company’s vision and values are portrayed in everything that is done every day in the company to grow its culture and keep its employees invested. Thus, both customers and superiors in the company have big parts in affecting employee engagement.
Let’s take the example of Google! Billions of companies worldwide offer flexible working hours, health benefits, bonuses, attractive pay packages, and conduct very interesting team-building activities to keep their employees engaged. Why is it then that Google has been ranked number ONE in the Forbes list of ‘Best Companies to Work For’ for more than six consecutive years has even been the ‘Tech Company with the Best Culture’, with a 4.5 rating on Glassdoor?
Google’s way of keeping its employees engaged is unique as it offers exclusive perks like free unlimited dry cleaning, haircuts, and also, in-house nap pods, organic meals, and more. Other than this Google offers a flexible and open-minded culture, giving its employees full freedom of thinking and innovation, thus displaying very positive leadership qualities, which help its employees to be an integral part of everything it does.
Google has this amazing strategy of just “trusting its employees”. The company believes that when employees know they are trusted they feel more valuable and this increases their engagement level as they are willing to go over and above. This boosts employee morale and level of job satisfaction which is great for the company.
With the recently growing prevalence of work-from-home and more and more creative startups emerging quickly, offering improvised learning and working environments, keeping your employees invested in their present jobs and not losing them to these rising corporates is easier said than done.
All that said, despite everything, we all can agree that anything that comes easy in life isn’t worth much because hard work pays better. Therefore, employee engagement is the best thing in today’s business world to invest in, because at the end of the day, what are you without your employees?