Are you struggling to see the purpose of your work? Are you emotionally detached from the day-to-day office shenanigans? Do you feel like your job doesn’t satisfy your needs or question your commitment to the company you work for? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might be working for a company that’s not concerned with employee loyalty and neglects employee wellbeing.
If you’re a current employer, is your company trying to deal with high employee turnover? Does the quality of your products leave something to be desired? Well, you may have just found the solution to your problem. You or your company may be lacking in employee engagement.
What is employee engagement?
Employee engagement is notoriously difficult to define. Perhaps, it’s better to start with what it’s not. Many executives and high and low-level managers mistakenly think of employee engagement as employee satisfaction or happiness. However, both are somewhat different from one another and are distinct compared to employee engagement.
A satisfied employee is an employee who is satisfied with clocking in, doing the work, and clocking out at the end of the day. Such an employee does what is required and is satisfied with basic employee benefits. But nothing will stop this employee from considering other employment options should a competing employer offer, let’s say, extra vacation days or a ten percent raise.
A happy employee seems happy having a little chit-chat with colleagues at the water cooler, or someone who looks enthusiastic bobbing their head to the newest Coldplay tune while creating an excel spreadsheet. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with happy employees. All organizational leaders should strive to keep their subordinates happy.
However, happy employees aren’t exactly what you would call committed workers. For all we know, they might be satisfied in their personal lives, which translates into their workplace attitude. They aren’t necessarily excited to work on behalf of the organization and certainly won’t try to upsell the customers. Focusing on employee satisfaction and happiness almost always fails to improve organizational outcomes.
So, if employee engagement isn’t employee satisfaction or happiness, then what is it? In short, employee engagement is the emotional connection or commitment we feel for our company and our company’s goals. Engaged employees will give discretionary effort and go the extra mile for their job. Employee engagement can be an essential driver of critical organizational outcomes.
An engaged employee will be just as helpful to a customer at the end of their shift on a Friday as they would be on a Tuesday morning. If you have engaged factory workers, their productivity is higher, there are fewer product defects, and product quality is better.
You might also have fewer workplace accidents as your employees are more aware and focused. The discretionary effort has a direct impact on rising customer satisfaction and better organizational and financial performance overall.
And let’s not forget that your HR department would have less work searching for new employees as your employee turnover should be minimized.
Why is employee engagement important for businesses?
Nurturing engaged employees takes more than keeping them happy and satisfied. However, if you adopt the appropriate strategies and put in the effort, your employees will repay you in many ways.
Aside from benefiting your bottom line and other productivity and profitability goals, keeping your employees engaged will improve relationships amongst your workers and blur the line between junior and senior leaders to create an accepting office culture and a productive and cohesive work environment.
Every individual employee makes daily decisions that can have a positive or negative impact on the functioning of the whole organization. That is why the way the company treats employees and how employees behave toward one another matter. If employees feel detached from the company and do not feel appreciated in the workplace by colleagues and management alike, their motivation falters, employee morale suffers, and employee performance suffers too.
Taking meaningful action to create positive employee experiences has never been more critical than in the post-pandemic world when hybrid working has become the standard. Currently, employee engagement globally is at only 21% and only 14% in Europe, according to the 2022 Gallup report on the State of the Global Workforce.
Keeping employees engaged while working remotely is almost an impossible goal that can, however, be accomplished if an organization employs suitable employee engagement strategies.
Benefits of employee engagement
As mentioned above, the underlying goal of employee engagement is the improvement of critical organizational and business outcomes. But why is the level of engagement of your employees important for business aside from having satisfied and happy employees?
As Doug Conant, the CEO of Campbell’s Soup said: “To win in the marketplace, you must win in the workplace.” Reaching higher levels of workforce engagement can directly impact your bottom line, enable you to achieve a dominant position on the market, and protect you from the worst when the global economy is not performing well.
When comparing levels of employee engagement, Gallup found that the vast majority of highly engaged business units significantly outperformed disengaged business units in many imperative performance indicators.
The most striking difference between a highly engaged workforce and a disengaged one is absenteeism. Highly engaged business units had 81% lower absenteeism than those with the lowest engagement. Moreover, engaged workers tend to have fewer workplace accidents as they focus more on the production process. Highly engaged employees had a 64% lower number of safety accidents.
Perhaps more importantly, for some types of businesses, engaged employees tend to give extra effort to making a product or providing a service which results in a 41% increase in product or service quality, 18% higher productivity or sales, and 23% higher profitability.
All these benefits of having highly engaged employees further translate into high customer engagement and loyalty. Gallup’s study discovered that engaged workforce results in a 10% rise in customer loyalty.
Who drives employee engagement?
There are a lot of questions relating to who’s responsible for driving employee engagement. Some people believe employees are responsible for their own engagement in the workplace, but Gallup finds that 70% of the team’s engagement actually depends on the management.
Therefore, we can say managers are responsible for the engagement of their team members, especially considering they’re the ones creating the conditions for promoting the behaviors of employees with the relationships they decide to establish with the rest of their team. A manager’s approach will affect employee behavior, whether they choose to be engagement-destroying bosses or engagement-creating coaches.
Traditional bosses don’t do much when it comes to engaging employees simply because they create a working environment that promotes helplessness and discourages employees from making an engagement effort.
They do so by teaching employees they require constant managerial intervention, which makes them unable to plan, operate, take accountability, or overcome obstacles alone. As a result, employees with such management are disengaged due to the co-dependent environment their managers have established.
Engagement-creating coaches are the ones who drive employee engagement. They motivate employees to use their strengths and challenge themselves, automatically increasing their engagement.
Even though engaged employees don’t want or need a boss, they are eager to seek their manager’s assistance, advice, and advocacy to improve their performance and become better at what they do. Additional assistance is also helpful when creating an action plan.
Although both types of management require the close involvement of the manager, the nature of the involvement is entirely different. Since bosses usually generalize and coaches individualize, their involvement is precisely why managers have such a strong influence over management.
Additionally, organizational leadership affects workers’ engagement as well. When managers have access to leadership support, they can easily take the role of engagement-creating coaches. Otherwise, it’s extremely difficult to nurture an environment focused on employee engagement, regardless of how hard the managers try.
What are the top drivers of employee engagement?
The drivers of employee engagement are numerous, considering many different things in the workplace can affect employees to be more or less engaged in their work. Nevertheless, some of the top types of employee drivers with the biggest impact are mentioned below.
Professional relationships between employees and managers are easily among the top drivers of engagement. As previously mentioned, managers are responsible for the engagement of their workers, so their relationship with the team members will dictate how these employees feel about their job.
Employee satisfaction or dissatisfaction is determined by how managers communicate with their employees and what they say to them. This driver alone can be why employees stay in the workplace or find a new job.
As a manager, it’s crucial to build professional but genuine relationships with workers that’ll benefit you, the employee, and the company too.
With Ayanza, managers can easily build healthy and successful teams by providing employees with a digital space that unlocks countless team benefits. From seamless mutual collaboration to professional connection, managers can build professional relationships significantly easier once they introduce the use of a powerful platform into their workflow.
While we’re on the subject of forming professional relationships, a productive workforce needs to acquire a strong sense of autonomy and purpose, even if it can’t affect the final product, outcome, or decision.
Although leadership means different things to different companies, it’s a significant driver nonetheless. While you may think leadership is closely connected to management, that’s not necessarily true. Not all leaders are managers, just like not all managers are leaders.
While managers are responsible for fostering employee engagement by enabling employees to do work, conducting themselves, and conveying messages as role models, leaders have slightly different responsibilities. Namely, they bring confidence to the collective and help teams find a common purpose.
Ayanza helps leaders stay aligned with the rest of the team by allowing everyone to access the project’s progress without the requirement for any specialized tools as well as sharing various objectives. As a result, leaders can always be on the same page with other team members, which is essential for effective and productive leadership that motivates employees.
Performance management is another key driver, and it represents an ongoing process that enables companies to align the employees’ behaviors and actions to meet company goals. Since this is an ongoing process, it starts when an employee is hired and ends only when they leave the company.
Using a digital tool can have outstanding benefits when it comes to performance management. For example, Ayanza has a feature called Rhythms that allows employees to create their own weekly visions and write down contributions, which helps the management team to find the best ways to manage the performance of their employees.
Many factors are part of the performance management driver. Workplace flexibility, work-life balance, resource allocation, and employees’ perceptions of justice and equity are all part of it. With good performance management comes higher employee engagement, which is what companies are striving toward.
Another essential driver is related to career development opportunities. Employees with promotion opportunities and long-term career potential are significantly more engaged compared to those without career improvement prospects.
Even if people change several positions and companies during their employee journey, career development is equally important in today’s working environment as it was many years ago.
If employees have opportunities for growth and development, they’ll become more loyal to the company and the manager that provide them with such opportunities. Loyal employees will also stay with the company longer and invest more of their time and effort into completing the company’s objectives.
Managers must present the right employees with the right career development opportunities at the right time. Otherwise, they risk losing their best employees to other companies if the employees can’t find what they’re looking for.
If you aren’t sure how you can decide which employee performs best, Ayanza has an overview of all employees’ assignments. With access to their knowledge base, content, tasks, and vision, it’s easier to see which employees are delivering above average results.
External and financial incentives
Even though financial and external incentives aren’t the only driver for employee engagement, they’re still important and must be considered. In today’s economic climate, base salary, incentive pay, and other rewards are significant factors that can improve employee retention and engagement.
In addition to compensation, benefits packages also help companies attract, retain, and motivate employees. All employees take these incentives into account when deciding whether they should stay in a company or go elsewhere, so they must provide workers with external and financial incentives they’re satisfied with.
The organization’s public image and the company’s reputation can also determine how engaged employees are in their work. The organizational image is the opinion of employees and the public about an organization, which is becoming incredibly important when choosing a workplace.
Today, it’s easier than ever to find out every detail about a company’s reputation. Individuals search for organizations that align with their beliefs and share similar perspectives on different topics, considering they become responsible for what the company stands for by joining it.
The emotional connection between an employee and the company affects employee engagement, among other things, which is why a business needs to work on its organizational image.
Closely connected to the organizational image is brand alignment. Simply put, brand alignment represents the level of accuracy between what a brand communicates online and what it does in real life.
For example, a brand can promote itself as a community-oriented business, which would attract employees who enjoy investing their time and effort in doing something for the common good. Naturally, this would increase the employee engagement idea. However, any contradiction between what a brand stands for and what it does will have a substantial negative impact and decrease employee engagement instantly.
With brand alignment, not only can brands ensure customers and people understand what the brand stands for and supports, but it can also help companies attract and hire employees with similar opinions. That way, no one is disappointed with the policies.
How to measure employee engagement
Employee engagement can be measured using different methods and techniques. Some of the most popular strategies are mentioned here.
Surveys: Employee surveys are the most common method used to measure engagement. There are several standardized survey tools, such as Gallup’s Q12 survey, you can use to measure engagement in the workplace.
These surveys typically measure engagement through a series of questions that assess an employee’s level of satisfaction with their job, commitment to the organization, and motivation to perform their job. In Ayanza you can create user-friendly surveys and learn more about how engaged your employees are in different areas of business.
Pulse surveys: Pulse surveys are shorter and more frequent surveys that you can use to measure engagement in real-time or simply take the employee engagement initiative. They can be used to assess employee engagement in specific projects or teams or to measure the impact of changes to the workplace.
Metrics: Employee engagement metrics such as turnover rate, absenteeism, and productivity levels can provide a quantitative measure of engagement in the workplace. A high turnover rate, for example, can indicate that employees aren’t engaged and are leaving the company. Similarly, high levels of absenteeism or low productivity levels can also be indicators of low engagement, all of which you can track easily through reports in Ayanza.
Observation: Observing employees in the workplace can provide insight into how engaged they are in their work and how they interact with their colleagues. Managers can observe how employees approach their work, how much initiative they take, and how they collaborate with others to gauge engagement. While this might be more challenging to do in real-time, using a tool like Ayanza makes observation such an easy thing to accomplish.
Performance evaluations: Employee performance evaluations can also be used to measure engagement. Managers can assess employee engagement by evaluating their level of initiative, participation in team projects, and the quality of their work. With a digital platform that gives you a transparent overview of ongoing tasks and completed work, you can ensure your performance evaluations are accurate.
Exit interviews: Exit interviews are conducted with employees leaving the company. These interviews can provide insight into the reasons behind employee disengagement and can inform the development of engagement strategies.
Social listening: Social listening is the process of monitoring social media and online platforms for mentions of the company. It can provide insights into employee sentiment and engagement and can also be used to identify potential issues or concerns that may be impacting engagement.
Net Promoter Score (NPS): NPS is a metric used to measure customer loyalty and can also be used to gauge employee engagement. By asking employees if they would recommend their company as a good workplace, organizations can get a sense of how engaged employees are with their company.
It’s important to note that each method has its strengths and weaknesses, and it’s recommended to use multiple methods simultaneously to get a comprehensive picture of employee engagement in an organization.
Levels of employee engagement
Employee engagement can be categorized into different levels, depending on the degree of commitment and involvement that workforces have in their work and the organization they work for. Here are a few levels of engagement:
Actively engaged: Actively engaged employees are the most committed and involved in their work and the organization. They’re passionate about their work and committed to achieving the organization’s goals.
Actively engaged workers often go above and beyond their job requirements and have a positive attitude toward their work. They’re the most productive and have the highest levels of job satisfaction. Actively engaged employees are often considered the most valuable assets for an organization.
Engaged: Engaged employees are satisfied with their work and committed to achieving the organization’s goals. These employees are involved in their work and have a positive attitude toward their work. They are productive and have a good level of job satisfaction. Engaged employees are less likely to leave the organization and more likely to be loyal to their direct supervisor.
Not engaged: Not engaged employees aren’t fully committed to their work or the organization. They may be satisfied with their job but don’t have a strong connection to the organization and its goals.
They aren’t as productive and have a lower level of job satisfaction. They may have a neutral attitude toward their work. Not engaged employees are less likely to go above and beyond their job requirements and more likely to leave the organization.
Actively disengaged: Actively disengaged employees aren’t only disengaged from their work but also actively work against the organization’s goals. They have a negative attitude towards their work and may spread negativity among their colleagues.
They’re less productive, less satisfied with their job, and more likely to leave the organization. An actively disengaged employee can harm the organization’s culture and performance.
How to improve employee engagement
There are several ways to improve an employee engagement program, and some of the most helpful tips are mentioned below.
Create a positive organizational culture: A company culture that promotes teamwork, communication, and transparency can foster employee engagement by creating a sense of belonging, trust, and purpose. The Ayanza platform merges leaders, managers, team members, and students, thus creating a united collective.
Always prioritize communication: Clear and effective communication on an organizational level is crucial for employee engagement. Regular and transparent communication helps employees feel informed, valued, and included in the organization, which is exactly what Ayanza is primarily designed for.
Focus on employee development: Employees need to feel that they have opportunities for growth and development within the organization for them to be engaged. That includes opportunities for career advancement, training, and development. The right digital tools can ensure your decisions aren’t biased and are fairly done.
Pay attention to recognition and rewards: Employees need to feel that they are valued and appreciated by the organization on an individual level. Recognize and reward employees for their contributions and achievements. Employee progress is public with Ayanza, so everyone can gain insight into who received a reward and how they excel from others.
Promote flexibility: Promote work-life balance and flexibility by offering flexible working hours, remote work options, and other benefits that support employees in achieving a balance between their personal and professional lives, which leads to higher engagement and a longer employee life cycle.
Encourage employee involvement: Encourage current employee involvement in decision-making and problem-solving processes, as this will help workers feel valued and empowered in their roles. This is much easier to do if you’re using a tool designed to increase employee engagement and involvement.
Offer high-quality leadership: Strong, supportive, and effective leadership is crucial for employee engagement. A business leader should provide clear direction and guidance, be approachable, and create a positive work environment. Quality leadership goes hand-in-hand with the use of the right tools, so Ayanza can help you reach new levels of clarity and precise guidance for future projects.
Conduct employee engagement surveys: Regularly provide your employees with an employee engagement survey to get their feedback on their engagement level and what can be improved.
Give constructive feedback: Actionable feedback provides your employees with helpful information about what they’re doing right and where they could improve. Once your employees know you’re making an effort to improve them as workers, they’ll go out of their way to offer you what you need.
It’s important to note that improving employee engagement is an ongoing process and requires a combination of different strategies to be effective. It’s also necessary to tailor the approach to the specific needs of the organization and its employees.
Employee engagement is an essential part of every company, as it dictates many of the other business processes and determines the overall success of a brand. When the employees are engaged, they are more invested in their work, leading to companies achieving their goals and experiencing success.
With that said, all companies should go above and beyond to ensure their employees are engaged. That’s the only way they’ll ensure lower employee turnover, higher employee satisfaction, and better results.
Ayanza is an excellent employee engagement platform that’ll provide you with everything you need to keep your employees engaged. Not only will this digital platform help you keep your team members motivated, but it’ll provide you every employee’s performance so you know how your workers are performing on different projects over a given period.
What is meant by employee engagement?
Employee engagement refers to the level of commitment, and involvement employees have in their work and the organization they work for. It’s usually measured by the Human Resources department.
Employee engagement isn’t the same as employee satisfaction, which refers to how content an employee is with their job. Employees can be satisfied with their job but not fully engaged in the organization and its goals. Engaged employees, on the other hand, aren’t only satisfied with their job but also feel a sense of connection and purpose to the organization.
What are examples of employee engagement?
Engaged employees are more motivated, productive, and committed to achieving every key milestone of the organization. They’re also more likely to stay with the company long-term and go above and beyond their job requirements.
Employee engagement can be influenced by various factors, such as the organization’s culture, communication, and leadership, the employee’s role and responsibilities, a balance between work and personal life, and opportunities for career development.
What are the three C’s of employee engagement?
The three C’s of an effective employee engagement strategy include:
Career: Employees need to feel that they have opportunities for growth and development within the organization to be engaged. That includes opportunities for career advancement, training and development, and exposure to new and challenging work.
Competence: Employees must feel they have the knowledge, skills, and resources to perform their job effectively. That can include providing employees with the necessary training and professional development opportunities and the tools and equipment they need to do their job.
Care: Employees need to feel valued and appreciated by the organization, as only that’ll allow them to feel an emotional commitment to their job. That includes providing employees with recognition for their contributions, fostering a positive work-life balance, and providing benefits and perks that show the company cares about their wellbeing.
Can providing excellent customer service lead to higher levels of employee engagement?
Providing excellent customer service can lead to higher levels of employee engagement in several ways, including building a sense of purpose, increasing employee empowerment, receiving recognition, promoting teamwork and collaboration, and supporting continuous improvement.
It’s important to note that providing excellent customer experiences alone isn’t enough to guarantee high levels of employee engagement. Organizations must also focus on creating a positive culture, effective communication, and opportunities for growth and development to fully engage employees.
Do engaged employees perform better?
Engaged employees are more motivated, productive, and committed to achieving the organization’s goals. They are also more likely to go above and beyond their job requirements and have a positive attitude toward their work.
Engaged employees are more likely to have better job satisfaction and a more positive attitude toward their work, leading to better organizational performance. They tend to be more creative, innovative, and resilient. They’re better problem solvers too.