Engagement is something every manager and business owner seeks in their company. Unfortunately, it can feel like an elusive and slippery goal at times. But if you study successful organizations, you’ll find that they have proactive strategies that are geared towards engaging employees through practical and sustainable measures. Could they work in your company as well?
The ‘Why’ Behind Employee Engagement
According to new research of 600 U.S. businesses with 50 to 500 employees, more than 63 percent of companies admit that retaining employees is much more challenging than hiring them. And when an employee does have to be replaced, it costs roughly 20 percent of the salary to replace the lost worker.
Another set of data shows that 70 percent of American workers are not engaged at work. And while 89 percent of employers think their employees are leaving for more money, just 12 percent of employees actually do. The truth is that 75 percent of people who voluntarily leave their jobs do so because they don’t like their boss or company. In other words, they feel disengaged and disenfranchised.
Clearly, employee engagement – which is the degree to which employees are motivated by and passionate about the work they’re doing – is an important issue that needs to be taken more seriously. Yet it’s also quite obvious that a majority of businesses aren’t prioritizing it.
Until employee engagement is maximized, you’ll find it difficult to achieve optimal productivity, efficiency, and profitability. You need motivated and passionate employees who feel connected to your cause. Otherwise, you’re fighting an uphill battle each and every day you come into the office.
Practical Ways to Heighten Engagement
Employee engagement is something that’s attractive and beneficial to everyone. It’s important to the business for reasons mentioned above. But it’s also valuable to employees, who want to feel like their work matters and that their time is being well spent.
Here are some specific ideas for increasing engagement in your growing company:
- Clarity and Self-Awareness
You need to take the time to make sure your employees are heard and understood on an individual level.
According to leadership strategist Brent Gleeson, an engaged employee should be able to confidently state the following:
- I know precisely what is expected of me.
- I have all the resources and training I need to thrive in my role.
- I’m given every opportunity to be my best (on a daily basis).
- I trust my superiors and believe they care about my best interests.
- I regularly receive praise, recognition, and constructive criticism.
- I feel as if my voice is heard and valued.
- I understand the mission and how I contribute to it.
- I have clear and adequate opportunities for growth and improvement.
If your employees are able to make these statements with the utmost sincerity, you can rest assured that they’re engaged. If they struggle to connect these dots, serious changes must be made.
- Social Intranets
Employee engagement is an all-encompassing idea. In today’s business world, this includes the digital ecosystem. If a large percentage of your employee communication and interactions happen digitally, you may consider transitioning to intranet software.
Intranet solutions like Happeo, which fully integrate with G Suite collaboration tools, can reduce communicative friction, enhance collaboration, spark productivity, and make employees feel like they’re being supplied with the tools and resources they need to fulfill their duties.
- Rewards Structure
Finally, employees need to feel like they’re appreciated. While a simple ‘thank you’ can go a long way, it’s also necessary to establish clear rewards structures that make employees feel heard and cared for.
Contrary to popular belief, money is not the greatest reward. Though certain financial incentives do work, they tend to provide short-lived benefits. Most employees would rather receive workplace flexibility, paid time off, or physical gifts.
Do You Have a Plan?
It’s not enough to understand the importance of employee engagement. The only way to excel in this area is to develop a concrete plan and implement the appropriate action steps to help you improve engagement over time. This is a gradual process that takes months – if not years – to see through. Don’t rush things. Be patient and disciplined in your approach and good things will follow. Good luck!