How to boost employee engagement? 8 easy steps
There is a strong correlation between the organization's business performance and employee engagement. The more engaged employees are, the more chances the organization has for business success. So how to build employee engagement? Here are 8 simple but powerful steps.
According to the Scarlett Surveys International methodology, „Employee Engagement is the measurable level of positive or negative attachment to work, colleagues and organization that influences learning and high performance at work”. According to Wilmar B. Schaufeli (2002), employee engagement is defined by three factors.
- Vigor: employee is experiencing a high level of energy at work and willingness to perform the tasks even in face of challenges and difficulties.
- Devotion: employee is enthusiastic about the work, is feeling a sense of importance and pride to perform the job.
- Preoccupation: employee is fully concentrated at work sometimes even without regard to the rapid flow of time.
Who are engaged employees?
How do you know that an employee is highly engaged? Most of all, he has a positive attitude to work. He understands the scope of his duties and expectations towards his position. For him, work is more than just being in the office according to a strictly defined schedule. It is a sense of mission and community with other employees.
An engaged employee is also aware of the context in which he has to act and he understands the importance of his work for the company. He is characterized by good work organization, is timely, open to cooperation with other people in the organization. He is willing to share ideas, and actively participates in solving problems of the organization. He shows emotional commitment and motivation to work.
Highly engaged employees are productive and efficient.
They are simply a treasure.
Why improve employee engagement?
The best answer for that question is the theory of Kevin Kurse described as the „Engagement-Profit Chain”. In brief, according to this theory employee engagement leads to an increase in the company's value.
The chain starts with highly engaged employees. Their involvement leads to an increase in the quality and efficiency of their work, which results in higher customer satisfaction, which in turn results in increased sales. The chain goes further – more sales means more profits which translates into higher returns for shareholders.
This theory proves that any initiatives in the series „improve employee engagement” is not a fad, but an investment that will pay off with interest.
Gallup Institute indicates even more benefits resulting from employee engagement. According to Gallup Institute, engaged employees are more creative and innovative. They more often provide clients with new ideas and suggestions to solve their problems.
How to boost employee engagement?
In order to secure business outcomes, each company should take care of an employee engagement strategy. Nowadays, employees find it much easier to change jobs. They are more aware of their needs and motivators. They are much more determined to look for an environment that will support their development and secure job satisfaction. Having in mind the above, employee engagement strategy should focus on topics like building employee satisfaction and positive employee experience as well as creating workplace employee engagement aimed at employee retention. Here are 8 easy steps how to do it.
Communicate mission and core values
Each employee has his own motivators driving to action. Less and less often among them is only salary. A sense of meaning and identification with the company's mission gains in importance.
Therefore it is important to make employees aware of this. Knowledge about the company's mission, what are its core values, what are its goals are some of the main drivers of employee engagement.
In a situation in which employees understand the assumptions of the organization and how their role fits into this puzzle, they are more committed to their work. They become the company's ambassadors, which can be very important for building partnerships, working with clients, or overcoming obstacles in difficult times for the organization.
Communicating the mission and the core values in a transparent way is an element of the company's culture. It should be supported by training and real-time reminding. Being consistent in this area will influence building a team of truly devoted team purged of a disengaged workforce.
Streamline the onboarding
The quality of the onboarding is one of the main factors influencing the employee's decision to stay or leave the company. The main shortcomings relate to insufficient time spent on the implementation process of the candidate. It's hard to imagine that an employee will be highly engaged if he is not taken care of from the very beginning. In order to influence a positive employee experience, it is very important to familiarize him with the organization's culture, rules of work, the structure of the company, expectations towards his role, etc. The more attention he receives in the beginning, the greater his commitment will be.
As the onboarding process is still a big challenge for many organizations, it is worth taking an interest in tools that can increase its effectiveness. An example of such a tool is BOTWISE – an application that supports knowledge management.
Learn more -> What is knowledge management and why is it important?
The application has numerous uses. Concerning the onboarding, the most important benefit of BOTWISE is guiding the employee through the necessary implementation processes, like for example collecting data and answering questions to personal questionnaires or signing up for insurance. What is the most important from the perspective of gaining higher levels of employee engagement is making it easier for new users to access knowledge resources in the organization, including the system, databases, documents, and other sources of information that may be helpful at work. It is scientifically proven that the quality of knowledge management improves job satisfaction. In the publication „The impact of knowledge management on job satisfaction” prepared by LUT University, easy access to new knowledge, improves efficiency in carrying out one’s tasks and as a result - employee engagement.
Provide feedback, surveys, recognition
One of the elements of creating an engagement strategy is the evaluation process. Each employee should be clear with KPIs set for him individually, for the team, for the organization. His performance should be subject to constructive feedback aimed at recognizing the achievements and indicating areas for improvement. To increase employee commitment the process should be performed in an atmosphere of trust and respect.
Another aspect of the evaluation process are employees satisfaction surveys. It's important to learn how employees feel at work, what motivates them and what makes them feel disengaged.
For the process to be effective, it must be two-sided. During feedback conversations, the employee gains an opportunity to discuss his development path with the leaders. Thanks to employee surveys – he gains a feeling of importance, that his voice actually matters in building a friendly environment for work.
Create development opportunities
An employee will not be engaged if he is about to perform the same and repetitive activities all the time. It's important to see the big picture of his meaning for the company. What is the career path, what is the training agenda, does the company create opportunities for cross-department projects? These are the job motivators that matter a lot.
If the employee sees the potential for the development - to learn new things, to get promoted, to be delegated to the project abroad, they will be more engaged. They will do their best to prove that he deserves recognition.
As we spend more and more time at work, it is very important who we spend it with. The atmosphere and relationships are gaining on importance. If leaders want to build engagement and commitment they shouldn't treat employees like robots but like humans.
There has been a lot of changes in theories of effective leadership. It requires a lot of training to prepare the leaders to manage people. The soft skills become to matter more and more. The managers should have a strong foundation in the area of management, but they should be able to listen carefully, show empathy when needed, be able to be flexible and not to judge people only from the perspective of the metrics.
Encourage open communication
Employees are engaged at work when the organization's culture supports collaboration and open communication. It is very much connected to openly informing about the mission, implementing the evaluation process based on regular feedback, and exploring employee satisfaction, creating an atmosphere of mutual trust and dialogue.
The company can benefit a lot by inviting the employees to participate in decision making process. It supports their feeling of being important to the organization and makes them feel responsible. In such conditions, employees are more likely to identify with the company and act to its advantage. They are more likely to take the initiative, propose improvements, generate ideas for new products. All of this makes the organization work more productively and efficiently as a whole.
Create supporting environment
Employees feel more engaged in an environment that supports diversity and inclusion. There are many dimensions of this aspect.
First of all, it is about supporting employees in work and life balance, i.e. respect their right to spend time with their family while in case of singles - respect their time devoted to the hobby. The solution that favors this is remote or hybrid work. People who have time for their private life, prove to be more devoted and efficient at work.
The other thing is about promoting a culture of equality concerning gender, disability, and sexual orientation. Employees who do not have to fight discrimination or mobbing, can focus on their job rather than defending their rights.
Support employees' initiatives
It has been already mentioned that as we spend a lot of time at work, we do care about the quality of relationships. As we live in a cosmopolitan world, teams in organizations can be very diverse. To strengthen relationships, it's good to support various employees' initiatives. This can take many forms like for example meetings after work, engaging in voluntary projects, integration trips.
Such initiatives bring a lot of benefits. They allow employees to know each other better, explore values and passions. All this can lead to better collaboration and generating new ideas that can influence the growth of the organization.
Start building employee engagement before it's too late!
If we take a closer look at the above actions that can boost employee engagement, we can observe that in many cases they are related to the needs hierarchy described by Maslow.
If the job satisfies the physiological needs only, it is enough for some other company to offer a higher salary and the employee will leave. But if the organization makes an effort to meet the needs at subsequent levels, including, in particular, affiliation, recognition, and self-fulfillment, the level of employee engagement and loyalty to the company will be higher.
The labor market has changed a lot over several decades. People no longer spend their entire professional life in one company. Subsequent generations (x, y, z) verify the employers' approach. The geographical boundaries between the labor market are also becoming increasingly blurred. Especially now, when remote work has become commonplace.
All of this acts as a warning to employers. If they don't undertake steps to build teams engagement early enough, the employees will seek happiness and fulfillment in other organizations.